Millions of readers who follow my blog religiously have asked, “Why don’t you blog about your son who plays football for Ohio State.” Okay, it’s more like 23 faithful readers of my blog. But if I had a million readers, I’m sure one or two would ask that. I do blog indirectly about my kids, especially when I’m discussing the joys and tortures of motherhood.
My husband and I are the proud parents of four very different kids: three sons, ages 24, 21 and Eli is 19. We have a daughter (a future litigator) who is almost 14. Our kids are all gifted and kind people. None of them are perfect and are still growing into the men and woman God has equipped and gifted them to be. But no, I haven’t dedicated a full blog post to our 19 year old son, Eli Apple, starting cornerback for the Ohio State.
Even after winning the Big Ten Championship, then beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and finally winning the first ever College Football National Championships, no, I haven’t written not one blog post about Eli. While this has been an amazing year for our youngest son and the Ohio State Buckeyes, being good at football doesn’t make Eli special to me.
Having a son play division one college football for a top program and attend a great university are wonderful accomplishments for Eli, and we’re very proud of him. But that’s not what makes him special to me. What makes him special is the person he is. We’ve always taught Eli that football is what he does, not who he is. And it’s the person he is that makes him special.
I’ve watched him grow, learn, fall, rise up and he’s always maintained his identity. We’ve always taught him to be his own version of a black man, not living down to society’s views of what a black man should wear, how he should talk, dress and behave. He’s not just my youngest son but a trusted friend.
The greatest compliment a parent can give to a child is, “I not only love you, but I actually like you.” I like Eli. What makes Eli special to me is he hasn’t changed. He’s grown and continues to grow, but he hasn’t allowed the on-field dynamics to define or change him. He is very much himself. He treats people well. He’s funny. He’s devoted to his family. He loves God, not in a religious way but in a relational, communal sense. Not emotional or overly affectionate, but he’s honest and objective. He’s not compulsive but a thinker. Like most 19 year-old young men, keeping his room tidy can be a challenge, and when it comes to food, he’s picky. He won’t eat what he doesn’t like.
One of Eli’s greatest quality is his ability to just always be himself. To me, the ability and willingness to be one’s self is one of life’s greatest achievement. To be who you are in a society that is always trying to redefine you or make you someone you’re not is highly commendable. Eli is very much Eli. That’s what makes him special to me.
There, I blogged about Eli Apple.