Before we found out the gender of our second child, I told myself that I would be perfectly happy with another girl, and it was absolutely true. Our daughter was awesome, and I loved her with my entire heart. There was no deep desire to have a boy, so I could pass on my name or anything crazy like that. Plus, a lot of people would argue that me teaching someone what it means to be a man is not a good thing. Well, the ultrasound showed us that he was a boy (it also showed us that he wasn’t shy), and a few months later, Little Dude completed our family.

Last week, I found a reason to be incredibly grateful for the fact that we had a boy. That reason can be summed up in one word: DINOSAURS!

When I was a kid, dinosaurs were my world. I could talk about the Jurassic Period and all the creatures that lived during that time. I could tell you the difference between the Brontosaurus and the Brachiosaurus. My favorite was the Triceratops, and I could tell you all about their lifestyle and where they would have been found. I knew everything there was to know about that world.

Then, right around 7th grade, I discovered football, and girls stopped having cooties. As a result, dinosaurs became less important until I stopped reading about them all together. My years of knowledge started to fade. I could no longer tell the difference between the Triassic Period and the Industrial Revolution. I could still identify the major players (T Rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus) as well as most of the creatures featured in Jurassic Park, but the magic had died and the real world began to set in.

Then, last week, we visited the Eccles Dinosaur Park in Ogden, UT. It was like I was 9 years old all over. I was walking around with the family and pointing things out to the kids. That world started to intrigue me again. The vast amount of time that they roamed the earth started to stagger me. The fact that they evolved to adapt to their environment blew my mind. I found some of the newer theories that have come about since my childhood incredibly interesting. This was a field that I wanted to start studying again.

Unfortunately, I’m sort of an adult now (my wife may argue that point). Grown men don’t walk into libraries and check out dinosaurs books. I’m reluctant to include books about my childhood obsession in my Goodreads queue. I’m pretty sure I would get some strange looks if I took a dinosaur guidebook with me on my next deployment.

As it turns out, however……I have a son now. Surely, he is going to follow in my footsteps and love dinosaurs. He’s a boy! What boys don’t have at least a passing interest in them? Knowing his temperament, I would say that he’ll probably like the T Rex instead of Triceratops, but I can deal with that. I’ll just be there to “help” him along in his journey and “facilitate” his learning. If I have to walk into a bookstore and buy dinosaur books, hey, I’m doing it for my son’s education. You can’t judge me for that. Right?

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