Monday, July 28, 2014

My Son At Seven And A Half. I Like What I See.

I sit nervously fidgeting on the hard bleachers waiting for your very first basketball game to start. You have your brand-new jersey on. You're listening intently as the coach patiently talks to your team, grasping for some idea of what to do. I realize how incredibly proud I am of you, son. I get glimpses of the person you are becoming and I like what I see.

You are a participant my little man. Even now, and certainly while I was growing up, I never was. I shied away from things that were unfamiliar to me. You, on the other hand, are exuberant and want to do and try everything. I admire that about you.

I watched you at your first swim lesson. Once again, I was more nervous than you were, sitting wedged between two mommies on a slightly damp metal bench. As they tried unsuccessfully to wrangle their rambunctious offspring, I tried in vain to swallow the angry butterflies that were taking over my stomach. You were unsure as you got into the pool, but you soldiered on. You used a kick board to practice your kicks and I saw a determined, but happy look on your face. The butterflies in my tummy disappeared, waiting to reappear at your next lesson. When you finally clambered out of the pool, I braced myself for you to ask me to never bring you back there. Instead you excitedly asked me, "When do I get to come back here?" 

When Mommy bought you a boogie board, you couldn't wait to try it out. As we walked hand in hand with Mommy to the water's edge, I anxiously scanned the surface looking for sharks and jellyfish. I apprehensively assessed the size of the pounding surf which was beating the shore like Mike Tyson. I was a breath away from calling this whole ridiculousness off, when I saw you were already on your board. After a few good attempts and pushes from us, you fell off and swallowed a bunch of seawater. Undaunted, you got back on and tried it again. Amazing.

You are smart, son. And, even better, you are curious. Curiosity is quality that is woefully undervalued. You recently told me, "I'm like Sid the Science Kid because I want to know everything about everything!" You want to know why lightning is hot. We go to the beach and you want to know what the colors of the lifeguard flags mean. You ask what causes the sound thunder makes. You wonder aloud about waves and where they come from. If you hear a word you don't know, you ask what it means. When that happens, I know it won't be long before I hear you use the word and use it correctly. Oh, if only all of my students were as full of wonder. I'm so thankful for Google and Wikipedia so I can try to answer all of your questions!

You have a tenacity about you that I love. You once had a not-so-nice soccer coach. Undiscouraged, you wanted to play again the next season. As the new season progressed, it was clear that your new team wouldn't be winning any playoffs. In fact, the team only scored four goals all season. Two of them were scored by you and both of those goals were made while playing against your former coach's team. Life takes grit and you've got it.

You are so proud to be seven and a half years old and I don't blame you. I like what I see.


  1. Well, someone find me tissues! I love you Justin. When I watch you as a dad, I like what I see.

  2. Aww, this was absolutely one of the most beautiful letters from a father to young son that I have read. Loved it Justin and wouldn't change a thing about it!! :)

  3. I second the request for tissues!!! Such a sweet, honest post. It's nice to know more about who your son is since I only know him in the blogosphere :) It sounds like he has grown into a curious boy also because he has two parents who love and encourage his curiosity.

    1. Hi Jes! We have plenty of tissues for you over here!

  4. Fantastic letter! I hope your son reads it and knows how much you clearly love him.

  5. This is a fabulous post and I hope that you've shared it with your son. His tenacity will always be an asset in life, here's to keeping going no matter what!

  6. I'm such a sap for these things. There's something special about a parent throwing their heart and soul into their child, I guess because it's a given they should (it's our unwritten contract to do so, right?)...but not everyone does it. You clearly have it down pat, and your joy/love/pride in your son (and your wife too, in different posts) shines through. It's nice. Really nice. :)

  7. I totally thought of you all today when I went to go watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
    Ms. K/1 ELL
    A Teacher's Plan

  8. It is so good when our children know we look at them and like them.
    Great post, hope he reads it too - someday.