Wargaming with the Kid
Or Why Wargaming with Him Means So Much
What do you think of when you see the word "wargaming"?
Is it an image of a bunch of dudes sitting in a basement, or in a garage crouched over a table peppered with miniatures? Is it hours upon hours of formations, battelines, dice throwing, ecstatic cheers of victory and despair filled cries of defeat, with the occasional savage ribbing of your opponent? I wouldn't fault you for thinking so because, at its heart, that's what it is. However, when I think of "wargaming," I lean more towards defining it as an opportunity to spend a few hours a week of solo time with my son, bonding over list building and beating the crap out of each other on the fictional field of battle.
James is my first born son and, through some quirk or blessing of the universe, I was gifted with a kid who shares most, if not all, of my interests. Star Wars? Check. Lord of the Rings? Check. Wargaming? Hell-to-the-yes that's a check with an exclamation point tacked on for good measure. I am thankful that this dude is basically a younger, less worn out, more optimistic version of myself. And, I am most thankful to be gaming with him.
So, why is this important to me?
As my son and I get older, I've found that time becomes a factor in how we interact with each other. Time, as in all things, is a resource. And, when it comes to family AND more specifically, being a parent, it is one of the most precious resources that I possess. Time is fleeting, especially when it comes to spending it with my kids. Just yesterday, I was changing James out of a diaper, cleaning up the food he threw on the floor during a fit. Now, he's fifteen, in high school, and thinking about girls.
And, as time keeps moving forward for him, I find myself more and more desperately holding on to the past, missing the way it was when he was little. What parent doesn't do that? I find myself more often lamenting how much I miss him when he was that small. As he gets older, the distance between us gets larger because, at the end of the day, he's growing up, discovering life, living through his own triumphs and tribulations.
Where did all this time go?
Wargaming is my lifeline, my tunnel, my connection to my son. A way for he and I to bond and commiserate. A way for me to continue being in his hemisphere without being overbearing, clingy, or uncool. He and I can spend a Saturday afternoon talking crap and rolling dice, moving soldiers, monsters, or whatever over a battlefield of our own creation, howling in delicious, hard fought victory or vowing vengeance upon each other with every stinging defeat.
And, more than anything, I wouldn't have it any other way. For a few hours a week, I'm his dad AND his opponent and he and I are together, forgetting the real world, and "blocking out the sun."