The Trials of a Skinny Boy

My sixth grader sat on the edge of my bed crying two nights ago, because his little brother is bigger than he is. They are four years apart, and though the sixth grader is a head taller, they weigh about the same.

“He’s going to be bigger than me next month!”

Over the last few weeks, the poor guy got an expander at the orthodontist and was home with the stomach flu. Between the two, he lost five pounds that he needed.

“I am the smallest boy in my grade!”

Not the shortest. Just really skinny.

What a girl wouldn’t give to have his metabolism. But a skinny boy can’t throw the football as far as his friends. He can’t launch a three-pointer with toothpick arms. And pretty much anyone – including his little brother – can knock him off his feet in a game. If all you want is to be a sports star, skinny in sixth grade is a disaster.

“My ribs stick out. You can see the bones in my whole body! It’s not fair!”

I showed him old photos of me and my sisters and his grandfather when we were skinny kids. But all I could really say was be patient. We are late bloomers. We lose our teeth late. We grow slowly, despite huge feet. And skinny guys learn early to work harder, think smarter, play scrappier.

His little brother, who he fears will grow faster, was patting him gently on the back the whole time.