Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Nate and The Decepticon

Since Nate was about 3 ½ he has had one love, Transformers. Sure, he has many other interests but Transformers has been his true love that he always comes back to. So imagine extreme excitement when he finally had the chance to meet one, and it couldn’t come at a better time.

Nate with one of his favorite Transformer toys.
Nate is now in second grade, and while it’s been a great year for him so far, it had a bumpy start and we continue to struggle with the challenges that come with SMARD and going to school.

Over the summer we lost Nate’s nurse that he had had for the last couple of years. We know that Nate’s life will consist of a revolving door of nurses but it was still difficult to lose a nurse that we trusted, liked and more importantly, was a near perfect fit for Nate. This meant would be starting school with a new teacher and a new nurse. It was a rough transition. Imagine having to go to school for 6 hours with a person that you don’t know and don’t trust and yet has complete control over your life. 

First day of second grade
Nate’s nurse is his arms, his body, even his voice often times. It was nerve racking for him but he stuck with it. Nate has a reservoir of resilience and courage that is far beyond what I have. And this brings us back to the Transformers.

We drove down to L.A. last week to go to Universal Studios and Disneyland. Annie and I were excited for D-land but Nate was all about Universal studios for one reason, to meet 3 Transformers characters: Optimus Prime (good guy), Bumblebee (good guy) and Megatron (bad guy). 

It was quite probably the greatest moment of his life. One of the highlights was meeting Megatron, the villain of the franchise. 

The night before we drove down to Universal, I heard Nate talking to himself in the bath. At first I assumed he was just talking to dead people that only he could see but then realized that this wasn't the Sixth Sense. So I asked him what he was doing.  He told me he was practicing what he was going to say to Megatron when they met. The words were not kind. 

When the time came to meet Megatron at the park, Nate found himself much more intimidated than he expected. In person, Megatron looms large. He is loud, mean and evil looking. I drove Nate up to talk to him and it was obvious that Nate was nervous, even though he knows it's not real. And after a little back and forth between me and Nate, as I tried to keep him from backing up too far he was ready to stand up to Megatron. His voice was too quiet for Megatron to hear him so Nate said the line to the Universal employee who repeated it to Megatron.

 "Megatron, you have lost and the Autobots (read: the good guys) have won!"  Then he immediately backed up as fast as he could. 

Nate and I wrestled back and forth to gain control and I finally got him to stop trying to leave so we could get a picture. You can watch the interaction in the video below:

Although he did show some cowardice in the face of ultimate fictional evil, I was proud that my son picked to side with the good guys in their millennia old battle against evil....but he wasn't done yet. 

After we finished getting our picture with ultimate fictional evil, one of the employees told us he was going to take us to the gift shop next door so Nate could get a toy with an employee discount. It was incredibly nice and even though I vomited a little in my mouth at the idea of paying for over-priced gift shop items, this guy was sticking his neck out and being so kind, I couldn't say no. So off we went to buy a $15 toy that ended up costing us $23, after the 30% employee discount. ZOMG!

Nate ended up picking out an Optimus Prime toy (this should surprise no one).  He then announced that he wanted to go back to Megatron and rub it in his face that he purchased an Optimus Prime toy and NOT a Megatron toy. A bold move for a kid who was last seen backing away from Megatron.

Nate feeling the danger of putting your back to the enemy
I had no interest in waiting in line or disrupting the people currently in line, so I said we could just drive by so Megatron could see the toy as we passed by. That was not enough for this park employee who had become our temporary escort. As we began to pass by the character, this employee stopped us, pushed through the crowd and got Megatron's attention so Nate could show him the toy he bought. Nate reveled in the anger this evoked from the evil robot as he yelled that Nate should return it for a better toy, one of him.  

This was all delightful and hilarious, much more so than my poor re-telling of it.

Let's circle this back to the beginning though, that's something fancy writers do, right?

Nate is brave and resilient. When Annie asked him the night after Universal Studios why he kept trying to back away, his response was "Megatron is crazy. I was scared of him. I had no idea how he was going to react."  I laughed when I heard this but let's think about this for a minute.

Megatron is THE evil guy in his favorite TV show and Nate prepared to meet him by practicing a line of defiance. When the time came for this seven year old to meet an evil robot, Nate was genuinely scared, so scared that he thought he might actually get attacked by this guy.  And yet, he still mustered up the courage to tell him off. AND THEN went back for another round.

Nate will get new nurses he doesn't know, he will, at times, spend recesses and lunches alone, with no one to play with. He will be on the outside of music time and art time and P.E. and many other things.  Nate will find himself nervous, with no control and scared many, many times in his life but I am 100% sure that he will always find the courage to push forward and be ready for another round. 


  1. This was incredible! Annie told me this story today, but so amazing to actually see the action packed encounter! Thanks Scott.

  2. What a brave soul he has! I was laughing while reading this and it drew my 9 year old in so you can add another tally to the huge number of people inspired by Nate. :) I am happy you've helped him experience so many things.

  3. Nate, you and your parents are my heroes. Thank you all!

  4. What a strong and brave sense of duty. A truly valiant soldier who has been taught by his parents.