Lying here recalling and evaluating the day, as I usually do, I went over a conversation with one of my students earlier today.
It was in reference to change and the passing of time.
We had our annual elementary school tours, and a group of kids passed by my classroom. My student made mention of her younger sister attending our high school next year, and how weird it made her feel. She asked how I felt about my kids getting older.
He was an absolute menace. He could recite things that I would say, word for word, in order to appropriately construct and apply prolific responses in the most exquisite smartassery. He did this with a look on his face; a look that was insanely cute and exuded maximum confidence all at once. He was three at the time.
Fast forward a bit to kindergarten. It was career day, and the class was given permission to dress up. I asked him if he wanted to explore ideas on the details of the myriad of professions that tickled his interest. Nope. He said he didn’t need my help. He already knew and ran to his closet. I sat on the couch to see the outfit he would put together. It was exciting to see how he saw his future; I was anxious.
He ran into the room, dressed head to toe in a Wolverine costume we’d bought him for Halloween. I initially thought he was confused about the purpose of career day.
“Miles, do you know what career day is? A career is a job. You want to be Wolverine when you grow up? Not an astronaut, a doctor, or a lawyer?”
“I know what a career is Dad. I’m gonna play football, and I’m gonna be Wolverine.”
He got up the next morning and dressed up like Wolverine. He had breakfast, grabbed his backpack, and jumped in my car. I gave him a kiss (he hated that I still kissed him, then), told him to have a great day, and dropped him off in front of the school. He never walked in; he always ran.
I went about my day and picked him up after school. He seemed to be down. Got in my car and didn’t say anything.
“How was your day, Bubs?”
“That’s it? Just good? You have to give me more than that.”
“Dad, the kids were making fun of me and laughed. My teacher questioned my career choice like I was dumb. She said that I couldn’t be Wolverine when I grow up.” He was choked up and teary eyed.
“F*ck those kids and f*ck that teacher. You can be whatever you want to be. Who are they to tell you what you can or can’t do? If you want to play football and be Wolverine, then do that. When those kids and that teacher need someone to save the day, they’re going to regret not supporting you when they see you walk on by.”
Change and the passing of time—the conversation with my student reminded me of that story.
I often reminisce about all the moments I’ve been blessed to share with my kids. I haven’t asked him if he changed his mind. He is already my favorite football player, and the manner in which he attacks being a student, athlete, son, brother, and just a great person all make him a superhero in my eyes.