She loves the wrinkled little Jedi master. His smarts. His wisdom. His ability to lightsaber (is that a verb?) a Sith. Especially that.
We've just finished watching all six "Star Wars" movies. We viewed them in order of release — episodes 4 to 6 from the 1970s and 1980s — and then 1 to 3 from the 1990s and early 2000s.
Once I showed her the first one, there was no turning back. It was all she talked about. We plowed through at hyperspace speed, skipping only a couple of scenes in the PG-13 "Revenge of the Sith" that are too much for a "youngling."
She turns 5 on Friday. I can't believe it. I was slightly older than she — I was 6 — when the first movie came out in 1977 and was instantly obsessed.
I collected the action figures, playing with them as they were intended rather than keeping them in precious packaging. I had the records — not just the music from the movie but those that played the dialogue too. Posters, bedspreads and T-shirts, too.
In kindergarten, we had a "Star Wars" costume contest at school, and my mother and I made an R2-D2 outfit that featured a spaghetti strainer wrapped in tinfoil as the "head." Suffice it to say, I didn't win a ribbon and I went home feeling more like a neurotic C-3PO than a feisty R2.
I will always remember "The Empire Strikes Back" because I received my first pair of prescription glasses the day it came out, turning me into a true "Star Wars" nerd. Like a Jedi, I could really "see" for the first time, and what a way to overcome near-sightedness, watching those imperial walkers pound snow.
But as much as I loved the movies then, I am enjoying them in a new way with my kid, or should I say, in my best Darth Sidious voice, "my apprentice."
Like a young Skywalker, my daughter has questions, so many questions.
Though I have few real answers (welcome to parenthood), I work hard to answer those difficult inquiries about the Force and its attendant religious metaphors, why Anakin didn't raise his son, Luke, and, of course, what's beneath Darth Vader's mask. (Gross.)
This has brought us closer. We have inside jokes about "Star Wars." I call her a little Ewok when she's good and a little Sith when she's not.
It's amazing how these films that started a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away — an apt description of 1970s California — remain relevant.
So for my daughter's birthday, I am giving her some action figures. I think I'll enjoy playing with these more than I do with her other interests, namely American Girl dolls and Polly Pockets.
I am starting with figures of R2-D2, Leia and, of course, Yoda. Pretty sure she'll light up when she sees the new toys.
Love her, I do.
JOHN CANALIS is editor of the Daily Pilot, Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot, the Huntington Beach Independent and OCNow. He can be reached at (714) 966-4607 and email@example.com.