According To My Son, Being Short Is Awesome

I was teaching my son how to throw a spiral at the park when he threw the football over my head, and I reminded him how short I am.

“I can’t reach that high, bud,” I said.

I stand 5′ 7″. My wife, Mel, is 5′ 4″. We are little people making little people. The joke around my home town was that I lived in a tree and made fudge. And as funny as that joke is, I hated being short. I hated how difficult it made playing sports. I hated it when I started dating. I hated how whenever I talked back, stood up for myself, any aggression at all, it was referred to as “little man syndrome.”

But I think what scared me the most was having a short son, because I was afraid he’d have the same struggles.

I threw the ball back to Tristan. After he caught it he asked if I liked being short.

I laughed and said, “I hate it. But I’ve learned to live with it. You will too.”

Tristan is the shortest boy in his class. His nickname at school is Little T. He has the smallest desk, and during the last Christmas program he had to stand on a block of wood so he’d be close to the the same height as the class.

I assumed all of this was embarrassing for him, but as Tristan threw the ball back he said, “I love being short.”

He smiled at me, and I took a step back. I didn’t expect that at all.

I’m 35, and I still hate being short, and there was my 10 year old son, already comfortable with it.

It started to rain, so we left the park. As we drove, he said, “Since you taught me how to throw a spiral, I’ll teach you why being short is cool.”

I always assumed he felt the same about his height as I felt about mine, but I was wrong. I’ve been wrong about a lot of things as a father.

Kids are funny that way. Sometimes you assume that your child is part of you, and whatever struggles they inherited are your fault, and it will be your job to teach them how to learn to live with them.

But sometimes, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes they teach you a thing or two.

“Sounds good,” I said. “I’m listening.”

Then he went on about how being short made him feel special. “It just makes me stand out,” he said. “It’s pretty cool.”

He shrugged.

And simple as that, I started to look at things differently.

 

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