Little Boy, Full of Heart

27 Dec
Inside-the-Park Home Run Smile

Inside-the-Park Home Run Smile

The title states facts. Nate is a little boy. Inch for pound, his height matches his weight and he’s smaller than others his age. His age alone makes him little. Now seven years old, he is still too little to open some food/drink containers without adult help, walk alone in a store or comprehend many “older” things like death (although he did cry when Mickey died in Rocky III) and dates (sweetly calling it a “date” when Andrew and I smooch in the kitchen as we cross paths). For as little as he is though, his heart cannot be measured.

Pushing himself.

Pushing himself.

His pure passion and intensity shows in all he does – from coloring a picture as neatly and as focused as he can to making his bed with each blanket layered and plush animal placed in its spot (when he does make his bed anyway). He starts his race each morning as soon as he wakes up – dressed with shoes on and waiting for his breakfast before his big sister is even awake. He is often ready before the adults of the house too – especially on baseball practice/game mornings.


Sneakers – just in case he needs to run somewhere.

Nate tries so hard and doesn’t quit until he “wins” or is pleased with his work. He is unbelievably and naturally competitive, even when it comes to getting the most reward sticks in his class for good behavior. (He actually has a strategy for trying to achieve this – befriending the boy who has the most sticks and striving to behave like he does.)

His brain hides so much knowledge behind his constant motion and the baseball stats he keeps. That love of baseball actually helped his brain. He taught himself math by figuring out how much his beloved Braves would have to score to win. He taught himself reading by scanning the channel guide looking for baseball games and reviewing the scores at the bottom of the screen of the game he’s watching. His confidence on the field is displayed in the classroom as well. He’s given PowerPoint presentations in front of his class like it’s no big deal. He gets beyond frustrated when he doesn’t get his schoolwork just right. He keeps a schedule and routine for himself, walking in the door after school and conquering his homework within minutes of sitting at the table. Little disciplined man – especially when it’s something he really wants to do. He amazes, entertains, teaches and challenges me every day.

Presenting before his class.

Presenting before his class.

As he begins his seventh year of attempts, memories and growing up, I wonder what he has planned next. His heart is his own and what drives it comes from within him. The flame burns so fiercely that I worry about it fizzling out too soon – before he really needs its strength to get him through tough times. I want to protect his heart and try to nurture it and calm it as best as I can but it often feels like he’s on such an important mission. It’s such a treasure and an example to follow.

Catching the ball - because he must.

Catching the ball – because he must.

One speed: Intense

One speed: Intense

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