“There is a saying… If somewhere in this world there is someone who understands you, it feels like that person is right beside you, even if you’re far apart as the end of the land and the top of the sky.”
— Giallo (member of seven sages, Team Plasma)
Our story starts unusually, even for us…
I returned home after spending two, very long but glorious, weeks traversing all of our offices across the land of the rising sun. While my main objective was to discuss work related topics, I knew that it was necessary for me to absorb the many beauties of this magical island. I have been here before, ages ago, this time I was looking through more experienced and appreciative eyes. The history is overwhelming and the culture is mesmerizing; the beauty was everywhere from the rolling country sides, the magnificent display of colorful flowers, the exquisite temples, the modern streets, edgy art, and captivating electronics. This entire country and its people are a perfect mixture of old world culture with a new age aura. If it wasn’t for the language barrier in ordering food (I am afraid to try new things) I would spread my roots and become one with the people. Japan is like no other place I have been to.
Caleb had asked if he could go with me, and even with every ounce of me wanting him to join on my adventure, he could not. It was outside of our control. So he did the next best thing, he let me take his stuffed stingray, Flipper along for the journey. Flipper got to take the many trains, see Tokyo tower, enjoy Tokyo Disneyland, and be part of the Japanese world. It made me feel good that Caleb was with me, in the closest way possible, but understand he never leaves my thoughts. Every picture, every destination, every gift finds a way of leading back to him. My current trip was just a planning exercise, getting ready for when I do bring my partner.
As my friends took me around town, we stopped by one of the many temples in Kamakura. Each one more unique and gorgeous, not just of architecture but of humility and somberness, as each person paid respect and prayed for the things most important to them. I am a faithful person and believe that there are many paths that lead to God, and I would never miss an opportunity to pray for what is best for Caleb. At this one particular temple, for a donation, visitors would purchase wooden blocks and write what they wanted to pray for or come true. At the end of the day, the monks would pray for everyone and pray for their dreams. Without hesitation, I bought two. I quickly wrote my one and only prayer, for God to protect Caleb, to keep him safe, and to do what is best for him. Carefully, I placed this most valuable prayer on the wall, prominently amongst the thousands of others hung that day. The other block I saved. This block is for Caleb to put his own wish, and have the temple’s protectors pray for his own prayer. Caleb is always with me I can’t explain the overwhelming calm that spread over me, as I walked through the gorgeous gardens on our way out into town. With each step, I became more centered and felt that my dreams would come true. I needed Caleb to have this feeling. Even then we both need the calm.
Caleb and I spend every evening, just talking to one another. It’s not always serious, but it is always important. Each conversation brings us closer together, as we learn more about each and appreciate having each other in our lives. As a baby, Caleb and I would spend so much time sharing stories, asking questions while I would tuck him into his blanket burrito. As the queries would get goofier with tiredness, I would kiss his forehead and nudge him to his dreamland.
I love the balance of serious and silly. It’s who we are.
As he and I have gotten older, we now make a point of going for a walk around our neighborhood, as a way to get moving and be in our own little world. With Pokemon being such an integral part of our universe, Pokemon Go has transformed our two-mile talk into an adventure. We each play a lucky egg, throw out an incense and start on our journey through the lamppost lit streets. Each of us trying to coerce virtual Pokemon into the Pokeballs. With the addition of the Pokemon Go Plus, we no longer have to use our phones to catch these pocket monsters, and focus on our bonding and discuss many deep topics. We are brought together by the books that we read, lessons in history, competing on our knowledge of Pokemon and Star Wars, and questions that scare any parent. Each area of discussion is more intense and even more serious than the last, until the why’s become harder to answer and the questions become even sillier than the made up retorts. We end every walk sweating from the constant barrage of humidity and laughing at how crazy we really are.
It is important to share the walk, have a conversation, and become closer. It is what people who like each other, who want to spend their life together, do. They share their time, their minds and their life.
With the addition of walking 2, 5, or 10 kilometers to hatch eggs to gain rare Pokemon, we spend hours on the weekends adding miles to our daily routine. Pokemon is the reason for us to get moving, but completing the Pokedex isn’t the prize. We become better friends. I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything, as they are building blocks for a strong healthy relationship. We are both growing up together, growing up with Pokemon.
I know that when Caleb and I start our deep discussions of Pokemon, most people are completely lost. Wondering what foreign tongue are we communicating in. Some are in awe others find it all amusing. The made up names, the discussions of attacks, hatching, evolution, and gyms are all very intimidating and strange to those individuals who haven’t submerged themselves into this culture. But details aside, most of the people we run into are jealous of the fact that we talk so passionately together, about something that is so important to him. And because of that, it is important to me.
We are important to each other.
Caleb has his unbirthday in July, and on this special day, I gave him gift after gift that I had collected from the cross-country trek I completed. Each bit of novelty was received with an even bigger smile. He was so excited, that I knew it was all worth it. I shared story after story of the fun that Flipper and I had, all while clicking through the thousands of pictures I captured. At the very end, I handed him the prayer block from the temple. I told him the story, as he sat there wide-eyed. He stood up and told me he knew exactly what to pray for. I handed him the sharpie and said this prayer is for you to make, so go in my room and write it down. He was so serious, it was both cute and inspiring.
My son amazes me with his compassion, deep thoughts, grand gestures and an overall understanding of the magnitude of the situation. Most of the time I totally forget he is just a little baby, and really consider him as my equal. He is not just my son, but my friend.
Caleb walked away, with a very proud swagger, and went back to looking at all the cool Japanese Pokemon and toys. He returned it to me and said that I was allowed to read it, he trusted me with his dream. Curiosity was killing me, I wanted to know what he had wished for… was it world peace, our health, for him to be with me forever? What was it? He didn’t disappoint this time either, to him he wished for the most important thing in his world. “I wish for Pokemon to be real.” Absolutely perfect. So simple and so profound.
This wasn’t just a wish for the world to be filled with Pokeballs and monsters in the grass, but to me, it meant that he wanted his wishes and dreams to be a reality. The made up world that we lived out and that he could only live out through what he saw on the screen or in the comics, he wanted those adventures to be real. What he doesn’t realize is that he is on his on his very own adventure right now, with Flipper as his very own Pokemon. For us, I will go with my little Ash-Ketchum on his journey.
We will do it together, and become masters of our universe.