"Let's hike the Misison Peak today." I called out to the kid after finishing my
"I have piano, math, and piano again on Sundays, dad." Tim pouted his lips in
exaggerated regret. "Maybe tomorrow." A 5'2" 135 lbs teenager, Tim had a strong
core and was formidable on the mat but was, just as when I was 13, overweight.
It took him 7:36 to run the mile in the Xero Prio I put on him.
Just like my sandals, those shoes had no cushion and helped little on the track
and even less on the rocky trails, especially downhill. He will never heel-strike and
his feet would be stronger from wearing them, however. In this, we chose, or I chose for him, health over performance.
So Monday (Veteran's Day) morning, I held him to his word and we started to
climb around 7:40am. Not that he needed much exhorting and that was what I
appreciated the most about him and felt blessed for. He did not rebel or even
complain. Not with me. Like many tiger parents, we asked too much, I somtimes
thought. Having migrated to a foreign culture, we never felt sure-footed even
when making it financially. Asking us to stop worrying about the kids was like
asking water to stop being wet.
The boy, in his innocence, trusts me with such blind faith. Nothing is more
touching. It has made me think that if the kid failed in life, it would be all
our fault. Every morning, he joins me for strength training. In the evening, he
eats happily whatever I cook. He gives every imposed subject his best, from the
swimming pool and BJJ mat to the Chinese and piano schools. Till this day, I
just need to say a word against certain foods on the table and he would stay
away no matter how good they taste. I do not have to be severe and have never
laid a finger on him. I just need to show disapproval and withhold love. In
turn, the boy has been changing me as I feel compelled to set a good example
because I care about what he thinks of me. I can feel what my mom must have
felt. This is a family trait.
He could almost keep up with me carrying 20 lbs on my back. I sometimes shot
ahead and turned around to watch the furry little bear of a boy lumbering his
way up. Another change from the last time was that he no longer whined. He
sweated profusely, stopped only to take water, but was able to keep moving.
45min into the ascend, we were still some distance from the bathroom at the foot
of the summit. I did not push, however. Going downhill would be challenging for
our feet and a pleasant experience would beget more. We turned back.
Tim was in a great mood. He recently wrote a Tom-and-Jerry series for Chinese
composition and everyone loved them. He told me the funny stories he heard. The
bomb that turned frogs gay and the headline "Cookie monster was shot dead by
police after 3 hour standoff at local bakery. Big bird speaks out about his friend's
addiction" got us guffawing. In turn, I promised a set of barbells which, after
training with them, would turn hiking MP a piece of cake for him. I reminised about
our family's past and the Chinese culture. He always showed interest. It was a great
hike to kick off my day.
P.S. Here's something Tim wrote last year. Mr. McClure, his teacher, laughed so
much that he cried.
Mr. McClure is interesting because he likes Tayor Swift, wears pink shoes, and
gets constantly annoyed by Greyson. Mr. McClure is a good teacher.
Mr. McClure for some reason likes Taylor Swift's music. I can imagine him at a
Tayor Swift concert, going crazy. Just the thought makes me smirk.
Mr. McClure also likes shopping. He changes his phone case every week. He also
wears pink shoes and he is "New Wave."
Mr. McClure has an interesting social life. Mrs. Biswas always outsmarts him.
He is also annoyed greatly by Greyson.
In the end, Mr. McClure is a good teacher. Though we annoy him, he always