My son is a 5’4”, 93-pound 10th grader. He hates his skinny shortness. He is tired of the reminders that he just needs to be patient, that his 6’4” dad grew late, that late bloomers tend to be bigger than kids who hit puberty in middle school. To an almost-16-year-old, those words offer no comfort, not after he’s heard them a million times.
But my goodness, this kid is built to be a cross country runner. A ballerina in Asics, he glides over mud and gravel, elbowing past other runners much larger than he. Watching him makes my heart swell to XXL.
The problem: in the first three races of the season, the kid ran at the speed of sloth. Teammates at the slower end of the spectrum were finishing well ahead of him, happily claiming, “Wow! I’ve never beaten you before!”
This sport that, just one year before, had made my boy feel less short and skinny, was reminding him that he was short, skinny, and slow. He pretended it didn’t bother him. I almost fell for it, his act of nonchalance. [Read more…]