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The Computer
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I learned how much I trust my son over the weekend. I had him upgrade my computer.

My old computer was dying. It would run for an hour or two and then lock. It was the computer I write with, so it was a tool, not a toy.

I planned to replace it, but when you and your spouse go though a marriage with three kids and one job, you put off purchases that are not immediate necessities.

My oldest son got me a new computer in December. A used machine, sold by the company he works for, it was more powerful and stable than old unreliable. It had space for the parts I wished to transfer (the old machine had good hardware on it – including a hard drive with a copy of all of my freelance work over the last ten years). I set it up next to the old one, waiting until I could move the useful parts of the old computer into the new one.

Waiting for Me to Attempt the Transfer

I have worked with computers since the 1970s, but I do software. Engineers joke about software engineers with a circuit diagram and a soldering gun. With me, the jokes are true. The two computers – new and old – stood side by side, waiting for me to attempt the transfer.

My middle son asked why I was still using my old computer months after getting the new one. He is twenty, living at home while going to college. I explained that I had not had time to transfer the hardware to the new machine. He offered to do it for me.

I accepted. It took him two hours.The last thing I saw before leaving my office was my son with pieces of two computers scattered about him on my desk – including a box that contained all of my writing work since 1998.

It then struck me that I had not worried about the wisdom of my decision. I knew he would do a good job. He had grown into a reliable young man.

We often hear about the cost of raising kids. Raising three children has meant years of driving ten-year-old cars, vacations with relatives, and meals filled out by beans, macaroni, and hamburger. My wife and I would have had more things over the last two decades had we chosen not to have kids, but we would now be poorer in ways that cannot fully be measured.

The cars we purchased along the way would be just as old today if we had purchased them new, instead of used. Expensive vacations would still be just memories and photographs, just like vacations we took with our kids – without the memories of those children. Our house might be bigger, but it would be emptier.

Most of all, I would have missed the delight I got from knowing I could entrust a child I raised with the one of the most valuable and delicate material things I own – and not worry.

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Written by Mark N. Lardas, copyright 2007, Mark N. Lardas, all rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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