When our children are babies and little people, we can't imagine them ever growing taller, faster, or stronger than us. We can't imagine that there will come a time when they'll best us in a game on their own merit and not because we've stacked the deck in their favor. But all too quickly it seems, they grow and change.
Sports have always been a huge part of the relationship between my husband and our two sons. Some dads teach their kids to hunt and fish, some teach them about cars, Steve has taught our boys about sports. It's been fun for me to watch this evolve over the years, especially since I'm not a sporty person and still don't know the rules for many of them. I always enjoy cheering them on though!
For years, I remember Steve taking the kids out to play after dinner. Our oldest son used to grab his mitt and beg him to throw baseballs as high as he could to practice his catching. The two of them have practiced baseball, basketball, and lacrosse in our yard over and over. They've ran races, biked, and swam together.
Through the years, one constant remained. Dad could win! He might not always choose to win, but there was never a doubt that it was possible. He was faster, stronger, and more experienced. Not so anymore. Over the past few years, my seventeen year old has closed the gap and now surpasses his dad in speed, strength, agility, and stamina.
This feels weird. It's weird for both my husband and my son. My son still says Dad is bigger and stronger, even though it's obviously not true. I think it's just as hard for him to accept this strange turn of events as it is for his father.
I've asked my husband how he feels about this a few times and he says he still hasn't really admitted it to himself. I think watching our kids grow up and move past us reminds us of our own mortality and makes us face the fact that we're aging out of the world of youth we've been a part of so long. I think he wonders what happens now that the roles are reversed. Of course, they can still watch sports together, but the playing has changed. Does my son now have to hold back on his dad? Does he have to throw a few games to make his dad feel good?
My husband jokes that he might take up sports our son isn't good at like golf to keep it even a little longer. And at least he'll still be ahead of our younger son for a few more years!