Your 5-year-old may be able to slam dunk a basketball.
Maybe he’s reading and speaking Latin or she can say the alphabet backwards while standing on her head.
If that’s the case, you know what it’s like to be bursting with pride—and yet not wanting to be the mother who brags about her child. But I have to share this with you.
Today when I picked up our boys, I asked them whether they had had a good day. And they started telling me about a mini-carnival at school. They ate pigs-in-a-blanket and tossed bean bags and rings and won little prizes.
As an afterthought, Leo said, “Oh, and I won the sack race.”
The sack race? A child of mine won the sack race?
I was completely stunned.
I know this amazing child we met in China doesn’t have our genes. But somehow moments like this one still catch me off guard.
If you know John and me, you know that we’re not athletes.
Not only have I never won a race. I’ve never even entered one.
The day I got a letter from my high school saying I had been elected to the Roland Park Country School Athletic Hall of Fame, John and I both burst into hysterical laughter. As we wiped the tears away, we looked to see if it had been addressed to someone else. (It turned out I had been voted in as a member of the championship lacrosse team because I sat on the sidelines and wrote down who scored which goal.)
Of course, when you become a parent—especially by adoption—you don’t assume your child will be like you or your spouse or Aunt Maude or Uncle Polycarp. One of the Catholic Charities social workers told us it would be like opening an unexpected Christmas gift, not knowing what talents and personality our child would have. That is so true. But somehow I am still surprised when one of our sons excels at something that was so far out of my reach.
Don’t worry. I won’t let it go to my head. I do realize there are few college scholarships for sack racing, and there are even fewer professional sack racing opportunities.
“How do you win a sack race?” I asked Leo.
“Mama,” he said, clearly wondering why I’m so dense, “you just jump in front of everyone else.”
So now I know.
I can’t wait to see what other surprises this little boy has in his sack—or up his sleeve.