So Blessed to Be His Dad

Feeding a lorikeet at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo
Today is Elijah's 7th birthday.  What's he like?  He is tall and lean (see the picture to the right), and physically resembles Joanna's side of the family.  He is smart -- loves math and science, and goes through books (especially adventure and mystery books) in no time.  Like me, he wants to always be right, and often takes things way too personally.  (You can learn more about him by reading this post.)

Just to give you a small example of who he is and how our relationship has been, here's a story from this past summer.  Joanna and I decided that we wanted him to participate in a sport this fall.  For the most part, we have limited the number of activities for our children, and he had only played a team sport (soccer) once previously.  So, I went to him in the beginning of the summer, and our conversation went something like this:

Me:  "Elijah, your Mom and I want you to play a sport this fall.  We feel you are old enough to have some of the choice.  You can choose to either play soccer at the YMCA, or flag football through Upward.  What do you think?"
Elijah:  "I really don't want to do either one."
Me:  "That's fine.  I understand that you don't want to.  But you are going to play.  So let's talk about it.  We'll start with soccer.  Why don't you want to play soccer?"
Elijah:  "Well, soccer is boring.  You just run around and kick the ball."
Me:  (trying to stifle my laughter) "You are right!  Soccer is boring.  So, what's the deal with football?  Why wouldn't you want to play football?" 
Elijah:  "I just don't know anything about football." 
Me:  "That makes sense.  But do know what?  I didn't start playing football until I was way older than you, and then I played for 10 years.  After this fall, you'll know way more about football than I did when I was your age." 
Elijah:  (smiling) "Really?  OK, I pick flag football."
I wound up being the coach of his team (we had 10 five- and six-year olds), and we had a great time.  I learned that Elijah is a lot like I was on a football field -- by far not the best athlete, but could learn to play multiple positions, and loved the strategy of the game at least as much as the competition of it.  And I saw that for how much of a mediocre (or, at best, slightly above average) athlete I was, that I am a champion in my son's eyes. 

For all that Elijah is, I know what he has -- the luckiest Dad in the world.

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