We are a nicknaming family. My family of origin is one too; we each had a half dozen or so nicknames apiece. I married a nicknamer so the tradition is being proudly carried on. Our nicknames range from the practical (Abby for Abigail, for example), to the descriptive (Baby Girl earned the moniker "Princess Pooter Pants" by the time she was six months old for what should be obvious reasons), to the downright silly (Eddie was, is and will always be my Sugar Snap Pea).
One of Baby Boy's nicknames is The Life Coach. He earned it when he was no more than two years old and it fits into the "descriptive" category. He is one of the most encouraging pint-sized people you will ever meet. I try not to project too much of an image of what I think my children will grow up to be. I avoid it primarily because I don't want to decide that they are going to be investment bankers only to be blown away and gasping for breath when they reach their young adult years and decide to be tattoo artists instead. I want to be able to smile and say, "That's awesome, honey. You just follow your path. I'm proud of you." And mean it.
Anyway, that being said, I can't help but think Baby Boy is destined for some motivating future career. Perhaps sales but I'm thinking personal trainer, motivational speaker or, as the nickname would suggest, life coach. He is full of boundless energy and eager to share it with others. Although he has a natural caution when in comes to trying new things and is refreshingly wary of adult strangers, get him around a group of peers (and he thinks the "peers" age range is from 2-12) or a group of people he is comfortable with and he is going to jump right in, trying to make everyone comfortable and even push their limits a little. When he was two years old and I was reticent to engage in any form of exercise apart from toddler wrangling, he would come up with elaborate fitness routines. Like, run around the ottoman until you're dizzy, then crawl like a baby, then jump around and wiggle your hips. If you didn't get up promptly to join him, he would say, "C'mon, get up. Get up!" If you were slacking on your baby-crawling form, he would urge you with a calm but insistent, "No, like this." Once you got your act together, he would shout an encouraging "Great job! Great job!" Did I mention he was two?
While physical fitness was and is his focal point, he is the Life Coach rather than the Personal Trainer because he extends his knack for encouragement into other areas. He is very supportive of all creative and culinary adventures. Once, while we were gardening as a family, he busted out with a heart felt, "We make a great team!" I seriously don't know where this kid came from but I enjoy the hell out of him.
Since I have begun working out with a passion, he continues to be my greatest fan and motivator. As I push my double jogger, he often shouts, "FASTER! Great job, great job," spurring me on to longer, faster and better stroller runs. When I pick him up from the gym daycare (one of his favorite places), he usually has an encouraging word. Some recent favorites are "That was a great workout, Mom. You so stronger" and a request to not only run and swim with me but also "do stairs." I'm telling you, he is a four year old Bob Harper.
I've been blogging long enough now that I can't really remember what I've mentioned and what I haven't so forgive any repetition. If I'm repeating a concept, though, it is because it is one I find to be true in a mind-blowing kind of way. One of these concepts is that we are not our children's teachers nearly to the extent that they are ours. If we will set aside our manic adult need to be right all the time and remember that the kingdom of God belongs to these little balls of light that we are lucky enough to raise, we will not only do them a world of good, they will change our lives. Radically, completely and all for the better. My Life Coach makes me smile. He makes me work, he makes me want to be better, and he amazes me. When my oldest baby and perhaps my greatest teacher died, at that time in my life when I could have so easily been ready to give up hope, this little encourager was growing in my womb, already giving me something to hope for, something to thrive for, something to look forward to and someone to live for. So today's post is just a little note of gratitude for Baby Boy, for that bright light of atomic energy with his "full speed ahead" attitude and smile that you can't help but return. He is just awesome and I can't wait to learn everything he came to teach me.