Trouble Lifting

I don’t remember the last time I was able to lift SK1 above my.head. The moment passed, as all last moments do, unnoticed and unmarked. All I know is I tried today and, for the first time, I couldn’t do it.

He’s ten years old now. Eleven is not too far off. The moments he permits me to do such things are few and far between. Plus, he’s built kinda like me: a small tank, a refrigerator with legs. Whether its him growing up or me growing older, it makes sense.

But that doesn’t stop me from being a little sad about it.

We’ve taken to hitting baseballs in the side yard once work and school are done for the day. He’s a lefty. He learned to twist his hips and hold in his hands without me having to tell him, and he whips the ball to all sides of the field like he’s been doing it forever. No longballs. Just a line drive that will take your face off if you don’t move your head fast enough. Just like his dad. My mind tells me he looks like Ted Williams when he swings, but I’m biased. I don’t really know.

I try to tell him how happy it makes me to see him enjoying something. It doesn’t have to be baseball. It could be some other sport or no other sport, so long as he loves something for the sole reason that it brings him joy.

Much like me lifting him up, though, he doesn’t want to hear that from me. He’s got a teenager’s sullenness: a desire to be left alone. Which I guess makes sense. He hasn’t seen his friends in four momths, and the action around our house with all five SKs is intense. He gets lost in the mix, sometimes. He is rarely the squeaky wheel.

I tell him anyway. There are other ways to lift him up when your arms can’t do it anymore. I hope the words stick. I hope he remembers them as he continues to grow; especially if the dark times that sometimes visit me also visit him. I hope he KNOWS the same way he knows how to hit: naturally, without effort, something that’s always been there.

I hope.

Eliott Loves To Run

Eliott likes to run.

Scratch that. Eliott LOVES to run. On rainy days, when he’s cooped up inside, he runs from one side of the living room to the other, just to get his legs moving. It’s only a few steps, but a few steps is all he needs. He backs up, scrunching himself against the wall like a cat preparing to pounce, then blasts off, full force to the opposite side of the room, where he relies on a wall, a piece of furniture, or maybe even his brothers to stop his momentum.

He does this over and over again. For hours. No matter what, he has to keep moving.

I used to be like that. When I was a kid, I’d go down to my grandma’s house and toss a tennis ball against her house. I’d catch it with my ball glove and toss it back again and again. I played entire baseball games there, setting up a complicated system of rules where, depending on where on the vinyl siding the ball hit, it would be a ball or a strike or a hit. If it was a hit, I’d have to catch it and throw it back to get the runner out. A game would take about two hours. Sometimes I’d play several games, there at my Grandma’s house, over the course of a day.

I played real baseball games, too, with actual people. I rode bikes, and swam, and ran and climbed trees in the woods. I was fairly active when I was a kid.

And yet somehow I grew up fat. I lost the weight some in my 20s, back when all I had to do was work full time and go to school part time. But now, with a wife, four kids, a demanding job and a bum knee, its hard to keep in any kind of shape that isn’t circular.

But today, I read some research of childhood obesity. It seems that the number one contributor to childhood health and avoiding obesity is the influence of the father. If I’m fat, they’ll be fat. If I’m fit, they’ll be fit, too.

I went on a walk for lunch yesterday. It was nothing special. Just a mile around the block by my office. I’ll try for two miles today since yesterday was kinda easy. I’ll try to do some ab/core exercises tonight and maybe one of the many exercise dvds we have tomorrow morning. I’ll start talking with the kids about it, too. Maybe they’ll want to exercise more. And maybe I’ll find some fun stories to share here, this first Fat Tuesday post.

I’m excited and I hope it goes well. Because Eliott loves to run, and I’d like to see him keep doing that.

Elevator Conversations: Diapers

Emergency at Epcot. I ran into the elevator with a kid in each arm, both of whom wore pants that bore the wrath of cheaply made diapers worn well past the manufacturer’s suggested amount of human excrement. The kids screamed like megaphones.

I pressed the button and turned to see a pair of teenage love birds, their arms locked together, shocked expressions on their faces.

“Remember this,” I said as the doors opened and I ran away.