Nathanael has finally turned 18! He’s been counting the days for months now. The closer his birthday got, the more excited he got because he knew he would at last be old enough to do what he wanted to do. Of course, now that the day has come, and gone, he’s not really mentioned doing anything different from what he normally would do.
November 2 was election day and he was hoping to vote but didn’t get registered in time. Election day has always figured prominently in his life since he was born just eight minutes before election day 1992. He was coming bottom end first so an emergency C-Section was in order. This allowed the doctor to deliver him before election day as requested by his dad. There was a reason for that request but we won’t go into that here.
From a young age Nathanael always wanted to help. He helped both inside and outside the house. Outside seems to have won over and he can be found there more often than not clearing brush from the property line or mowing the yard. Of course, the yard has to be mowed just right or he’s not happy. Many a visitor has commented on how nice the lawn looks and that can usually be attributed to Nathanael’s hard work.
Nathanael has always been an intense child to say the least. His dad knew he’d have his work cut out for him in finding ways to keep his son occupied as he aged. When Nathanael expressed an interest in learning how to “clap” his feet like the dancers on The Lawrence Welk Show, we enrolled him in a summer combo class that taught tap, tumbling, and ballet. He enjoyed himself so much that we continued his dance classes on into fall. When a couple opened a gymnastics center in town we enrolled him in that too. The rest, as they say, is history.
For many years Nathanael danced in the Nutcracker as a Party Boy. He also danced the role of Fritz, the Nutcracker, a tall mouse, and lastly the Rat King. Of course we couldn’t help but give him a hard time and let him know how appropriate the title of King Rat was where he was concerned.
He took a break from dance but eventually went back to it and danced for Ballet Huntsville under the direction of Clinton Rothwell. There is a video on YouTube of “Concerto”. It’s a bit on the blurry side but you’ll get the idea. The last dance that he was in, “Journey,” was this past spring. This was a contemporary ballet, but it was impressive nonetheless. Nathanael was still recovering from ACL surgery and didn’t dance the whole time, but what he did dance was amazing even to me, and no, I’m not being biased here. I wish I had a photo but do not at the moment. If I ever get one I’ll be sure to add it to this post.
At the same time Nathanael was dancing he was also doing gymnastics. He was the All Around Alabama State Champion (gold medalist) in 2006. This meant that he was able to take his mom to Charleston , SC for regionals. It was a great trip and Nathanael did well at regionals despite his nervousness.
In 2007 he placed fourth because of a rip that happened at the state meet. Rips are big blisters that pop and when a gymnast is going around on the bars the skin is ripped from the palms of the hands. Trying to continue on with raw skin is very painful and the last thing one wants to have happen at a meet. Placing fourth meant that he was not able to go to regionals for that year, but that was okay since he would have had to compete on a Sunday morning and we did not do Sunday morning meets. Missing church for gymnastics was not an option.
He now coaches at the gym where he grew up for the most part and has been doing so for the past three years. Since he’s working with young chidren, ages 4 and up, it isn’t always an easy job. Then there are the cheerleaders. You’d think that working with cheerleaders would be a young man’s dream come true, but sometimes that dream is more like a nightmare, especially when a cheerleader crashes and burns into him. Needless to say, he’s been kicked in the head by an out-of-control tumbler more than once. Hmmm…maybe that explains some things.
Last summer Nathanael met his first love. He had been looking for quite a while, meeting with disappointment on several occasions. At last, he found just what he wanted…well, almost. He’s spent quite a bit of time and way too much money (and he’s not done yet) on his “baby” but it doesn’t seem to matter to him. He’s still very much in love.
This spring he joined his sister for a formal that was given for homeschooled students. Seeing him all dressed up in his new suit made me realize just how old he is now. He’s no longer that chubby cheeked little blond haired boy that served us breakfast in bed with make believe food. He’s all grown up. He’s had a haircut since this photo which makes him look even older. I try not to think about it lest I burst into tears.
Where did the years go? I don’t feel any older, but my children have certainly gotten older. While looking for photos to post here I took a walk down memory lane, all the way back to when Nathanael was about four years old. There are days that I wish he were that age again. There are other days, like when he’s playing his classical guitar music, that my chest swells with pride. He plays very well, and I’m always amazed at how he gets so many notes out of just six strings. Yes, he’s grown into a fine young man and we’re very proud of him and of his accomplishments. I hope he stays around for a few more years because I don’t know what we’ll do without him. I mean, who’s going to mow all this yard?
Happy 18th birthday Bub! May you grow into the man you need to be to face the challenges that lay ahead for your generation.