This is my son, the Ginger Ninja. It’s an old photo, as you can see by the date (and anybody who knows our family knows he’s now six-and-a-half. But he asks me about once a month when I’m going to blog about him (!!), so today, while I’m still silent under the heartbreak of the shooting in Connecticut, and still in shock from the ferocity of the response against suggestions of gun control and still grieving for the pain in a country I’ve come to love like I love my own, I thought I’d tell you a funny story.
My son, when he was two, took Darth Vader everywhere. He took Darth Vader to bed, in the car, to church…wherever he went, Darth Vader went too. Nice chap, really. He lost his light sabre pretty early on in life, and was a dab hand with the old paints and play dough. He made quite a fine cake decoration as well. He started life as a keyring decoration from the petrol station, and was quite the find for only $2, which is good, because we ended up with about four of him (ever hunted the house for a small toy when your child is screaming in the car for it, and won’t leave for church without it? I found a spare the other day, in the back of my underpants drawer).
One day, when the Ginger Ninja was about four, we took him to Kmart to spend his birthday money, and the first thing he saw that he wanted – the only thing he saw that he wanted – was a singing Darth Vader birthday card. Yes, the card sang. You opened it up and it sang the Star Wars theme. Needless to say, we heard that song an awful lot. An AWFUL lot.
I tucked him into bed a few months after this, having read stories and cleaned teeth, and he says to me “We’ll do singing prayers tonight, Mummy!”
Singing prayers? Am I to put on my best High Church voice and find my old Book of Common Prayer? Should I call for back-up? Is there a priest in the house? My Ginger Ninja, if nothing else, is known for being very pedantic about how things need to be. I envisioned tears and tantrums if Singing Prayers didn’t go according to plan, and I held my breath and waited for his explanation. There wasn’t one.
Instead, he leaned over and picked up his Darth Vader card from the shelf on the side of his bed. He wriggled a little, sat up straighter, and with a deep breath in closed his eyes and opened his card. We sat in silence, he with his eyes shut and a beatified smile on his face, as the tinny tune rang out of the creased and well-loved card. At the end he opened his eyes, looked at me and said decisively, “Amen”, then lay down to sleep.
Amen, son. Sometimes music is all the words you need.