If you have kids, you probably know the special feeling it gives you to see yourself reflected in one of your children. Like me, Emily was an early talker–she could say 80 words at the age of one year. She loved books from an early age and always has her nose in one now. She has always had a rich imaginary life. She’s a writer. Jake’s a writer, too, and he loves to sing, and cook, and does theatre, and is actually interested when I talk about plants and flowers.
But when someone asked John and me whence comes Teddy’s ability to lift large amounts of weight, we had to deny all responsibility. We are not athletic and never were. Teddy is the only one of our kids to show any interest in sports, and he was in the 8th grade before he participated formally.
But there’s another special feeling you get from watching your kid do something that is totally his own, something you never did, could never do, aren’t even interested in doing, but still admire and are almost in awe of. That’s how we felt the other night, watching Teddy pick up all the Liftathon medals for his class.
This boy has amazing discipline and drive. Two years ago he told me how much he planned to weigh by now, and he ate his way there (he’s always hungry). All he wanted for Christmas and his birthday were exercise and weight-lifting related items. If he doesn’t have workouts scheduled at school, he often goes to the gym on his own.
One of Teddy’s coaches called him Hercules the other night, and I told him that Teddy wore a Hercules costume around the clock for 18 months as a toddler. I wonder if maybe Teddy has an inner Philoctetes urging him along today!
Teddy is not a totally foreign creature to his parents. We can at least claim genetic credit for his academic talents (well, he thinks he is smarter than both of us), which are on par with his athletic abilities. He does some pretty heavy lifting academically as well, maintaining a GPA that is actually HIGHER than 4.0, taking AP courses, and scoring a 34 on the ACT recently. Again, though, it’s his own drive to succeed that keeps him up late studying when necessary due to his football schedule. We never have to say a thing to him about homework or grades.
For once, the prognosticators got it right. Whenever people saw me walking around with chubby little Teddy (who weighed, they predicted he would play football one day.