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Growing a Fit Child: It’s Graduation Day

Alexandra Williams, MA

Our friend MizFit (Carla) had a post recently about waiting at the bus stop so she could wave good-bye a second time to her daughter. That got me to thinking about my eldest child and how I used to wave good-bye to him at the bus stop, back when we lived in Oregon.

Now he’s graduating from high school, with plans to move across the country to go to a university that has 22 science majors for him to choose from. I put him on that bus 13 years ago to start him on the journey to get him prepared for now. I cried a little back then because he looked so small inside that big bus. And I will cry at his ceremony because he looks so big.
In between my crying jags, I hope I’ve taught him how to live a healthy, rewarding life that’s full of purpose and joy. Those of you who are parents will have your own definition of what that means, but the things I can point to include:

* He doesn’t drink soda, and he knows the difference between healthful and unhealthful foods
* He gets plenty of sleep (boy, does he like to sleep)
* He knows how to make people laugh, which will help him in work and social situations
* He knows how to be a good host to guests, and has excellent manners
* He believes exercise is part of life; it just is
* He is becoming more confident about taking risks
* He has seen me act like a dork in public (a lot) and it’s now somewhere inside his brain that you don’t need to wait around for approval; you have to approve of yourself
* He knows the value of money, how it works, what it can (and cannot) do
* He drives safely (I believe) and wears a seat belt
* He is beginning to appreciate his younger brother for what he can do, rather than railing against what he cannot
* He can be trusted with money (although he can’t ever seem to find his own iPod cord)
* He eats when he’s hungry, not because he’s lonely or bored or because it’s there
* He writes thank you notes and is gracious
* He chooses friends wisely

Hmmm, I’m his mom so I could make a really long list. But my son isn’t a list; he’s so much more, just as your children are more than you imagined and hoped for! And no matter how much I exercise and make my heart strong, it will never be big enough to hold all the love I have for him.

I”m going to share a cute story that demonstrates that he “gets” how nutrition works. When we moved to Santa Barbara to be nearer my sister, he was 12. Kymberly took him to the grocery store with her. When they came back with bags full of prepackaged, processed food (she’s not like that anymore), he turned to me and said, “Mom, I love shopping with Auntie Kym. She buys food. You buy ingredients.” I laughed so hard and still smile whenever I think of that.

Earlier this week, my son gave me a gift – he came to my kickbox step class and brought his girlfriend. He knows I love exercise. He knows I love teaching. He knows I’ve wanted him to come to a class so I could show him off. I love having a job where my kid can come.

I haven’t named him here because I am a protective person about his identity, but you get to admire his massive handsomeness (all from me, of course, even though he looks just like his dad) in these photos.

I’m proud of the fact that I’ve taught my kids the link between health and happiness. I’m happy my son is moving on to start the next phase of his life. I’m sad that my son is moving on to start the next phase of his life. And I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be.

What are the things your children do that make you proud?

Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for writing about my kid, unless you count 18 years of having him around!
His cute tux is a rental. My cute outfit is from Aventura Clothing. And thanks to my sister, who let me take over our blog so I could write this.
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