How can Tucker hold his fork just like Robb, when he hasn't seem him do that in over a year?
He just looked at me exactly like Robb would have. I just said something to which the answer was obvious. He knows that look already.
We play a marathon of MarioKart; Tucker will take the liberty to not only prepare the game's setup, but also to choose the characters and vehicles he knows we each prefer, so all we must do is pick up the controls he has arranged on the coffee table in player order.
He's pretty sure that he thinks through things more thoroughly than I do. He may be right, on occasion. He raises his eyebrows in the same way that Robb did, the expression that says, "Betchya didn't think about that, didya?"
He is his daddy. Through and through.
And I understand his growing personality because I studied his daddy's so closely, because I loved him so much.
Somehow, each of them is less a puzzle to me as I learn to know them more.
Tucker has a highly competitive spirit. He does not get this from me. I wish I were remotely competitive; I think this may come in handy. But I'm not. Robb was.
This competitive spirit has begun to get the best of Tuck sometimes. A darker side of him emerges when he's losing at something - either against someone else or himself.
I carefully chose my timing to talk about this. I learned when I was married to his dad: timing is everything with such topics.
"Hey, Tuck? How come it's so important to you to win?"
"Because I just like to."
"But what happens if you don't win?"
"I don't like it."
"What if somebody else wins?"
"Then I want to play again so I can win."
"Hey, buddy? You know who else was like that? Daddy. Daddy loved to win. And sometimes he loved it too much. He had to work really hard to be kind when he really wanted to win."
"Daddy liked to win?"
"He did. And sometimes he didn't win."
I didn't go into great detail, especially with regard to the ramifications in our home if his beloved Buckeyes took a hit. But I assure you: Robb had to work really, really hard to be kind when he wanted them to win.
I see Tucker's shoulders soften with this new knowledge of how he is like his dad. It could be easy to memorialize Robb in a shrine of perfection, and the boys could grow up thinking they live in the shadow of a man who had it all figured out.
I just needed Tuck to know: Daddy had a hard time with that too.