Three Cheers For Zaphod

You know, I’ve changed my mind; I’m not going to go into a long diatribe about the funeral of Kathy T’s friend.  Suffice it to say I’m very ticked off about it.  But I have other things on my mind.  I want to take some time to praise my son.

Tonight is the awards ceremony at my kids’ school.  Zaphod will be recognized for having perfect attendance for the year.  The reason this is such a big deal is because Lintilla and I could care less if our kids, at their age, have perfect attendance.  Lord knows, we even advised a little hooky now and then (don’t tell!).

But Zaphod got it in his head that he wanted to have perfect attendance for the year.  And, through perseverance, he did something I very rarely do: he set a goal, and he saw it through till the end.  This is a praiseworthy thing.  I am extremely proud.  The things about him that sometimes drive me crazy, the perfectionism, the over-emphasis of small details, the doggedness when he wants something, were the very things that allowed him to accomplish this goal.

Then there’s this: this past weekend, we were cleaning out one of the cars, and ran across some photos of Zaphod from last spring.  I looked at them.   Then, I looked at him in the flesh.  I did a double, and triple-take.

Y’all.  It doesn’t even look like the same kid.  That’s how much he’s thinned out.

OK, a time out.  I want to make it perfectly clear: I did not love my son any less when he was “bigger”, I do not love him more now that he has thinned out.  I can’t say this any more emphatically.

But, I’m proud of him, because I know it’s been hard.  He wasn’t on a diet or anything, but he had to eat what Lintilla and I ate, and grown-up food isn’t “fun”.  He increased his activity level.  And Mother Nature cooperated by having him grow a couple of inches.  In actuality, he’s only lost about 8 pounds, but I’m telling you, he doesn’t look like the same kid.  This doesn’t make him a better person, but it does give classmates one less reason to tease him, and fair or not fair, grownups take him more seriously when he’s more proportioned.  But I’m proud of him mostly because he set another goal, and has been quite persistent.

Finally, he asked me two days ago if he could give up his perfect attendance award by skipping school yesterday.  He was absolutely dreading the President’s Council on Physical Fitness “tests” (remember those?)  I gently urged him to see it through.

I want you to know, Zaphod finished his mile. 15 and a half minutes, but dang it, he finished it!  He was so worried.  That is one of the most glorious moments as a parent: when you watch your children stare down their fears, and overcome them.

This is a “Zaphod” post, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I’m also very proud of Trillian for finishing her mile (12 and a half minutes).

I’m just a proud papa today.

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2 Responses to “Three Cheers For Zaphod”

  1. graduation oil portrait Says:

    Congratulations on the Perfect Attendance Award for Zaphod! For a kid such award is extraordinary. Not all kids want to go to school. They would rather spend time playing computer games or play with your neighbors. Just remember that although your kids are making it good in school, they still need a little push. Take some time to watch over them and support them in school activities.

  2. jagadiah Says:

    Especially at an age where they get sick so often (and for the reasons in the above comment), perfect attendance is huge! It’s good for you as parents, too – you got them ready and to school on time every day. I know that can be a challenge, especially with pre-teens. And good for him for finishing his mile! Regardless of size, that’s a pain in the you know what. I remember doing my 8th grade mile in 13 minutes or so and was just glad to be done with it.


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