One morning back in November, I came downstairs in the morning to find Boy in Black in the living room, still awake, with his laptop. He's a nocturnal creature, so I wasn't terribly surprised. I mean, this is the kid who stayed up all night to design an R2D2 to go with his Halloween costume.
"What're you doing?" I asked casually as I went into the kitchen to feed the cats.
"Research," he said.
I looked at him in surprise. "Research?" It's true that he does some research with a physics professor, but it seemed unlikely that he'd be doing it until 7 am.
He gave me a sleepy grin. "Yeah, I'm researching light sabers."
Ever since dressing in a Star Wars theme for Halloween, he and his brothers have been playing with plastic light sabers — toys we bought the last time Star Wars paraphernalia was in vogue. They sometimes duel inches away from me in the living room. Yes, my youngest child is fourteen, and I still find myself saying, "Isn't that an OUTDOOR toy?"
Frustrated with how easily the cheap plastic toys broke, Boy in Black searched online and found two guys who made sturdy light sabers that were "duel-worthy." He showed me a youtube clip of the sabers being dropped out of a second-story window onto a cement sidewalk or being tossed into a pool. Clearly, these two guys had our family in mind when they designed the sabers.
So Boy in Black ordered four of the sabers: one for himself, one for each of his brothers, and an extra one for whichever extra was over at the time of battle. When the sabers came, he hid them in my closet and worked on small modifications, exchanging emails with Light Saber Dude about the details. He gave the sabers to his brothers on Christmas mornings, and the three boys retreated into a closet to test them out in the darkness.