DAVID CAMPBELL for Stellar
DAVID CAMPBELL for Stellar

David Campbell: ‘How exactly does one parent a giant?’

There comes a time in every boy's life when he squares up to his father, looks him right in the eye (without standing on tiptoes or using a stool) and realises they are equals on the tree of life. Maybe not in experience, but where it matters the most. In height.

For many of us, this happens around the ages of 15 to 17. Peeking out from the haze of puberty, we realise we've grown up. Time to learn to drive, finish school and prove we are now ready for the world beyond.

I love the fact that I'm basically the same size as my dad. We can wear the same clothes, rock the same shoes. I loved growing up and being able to borrow (or steal) a cool leather jacket from the back of his wardrobe. And I knew this sort of sartorial karma would come back around with my own son one day in the future. If I squint, I can almost see it.

Well, guess what? It's happening - already.

“I love the fact that I’m basically the same size as my dad.” (Picture: Supplied)
“I love the fact that I’m basically the same size as my dad.” (Picture: Supplied)

 

Sometime during the great pause of 2020, all three of my children had a growth spurt. So we got in the car and went to our nearest Westfield to buy shoes. It was during the measuring of our eldest's feet that my wife realised Leo now has the same shoe size as her. The urgency of that thought and the horror in her eyes spoke volumes. What are we growing here? Where does this end? Presumably at full height, yes, but exactly how tall will he get?

Leo has just turned 10. Double digits. In many ways, he is still our little boy and will always hold a special place in our hearts, mainly because he was much easier to handle for the first five years than the twins.

Yet in that simple, overlit footwear emporium, I broke out in a cold sweat. This couldn't be, he's only 10. I didn't really start to shoot up until I was at least 13, and it's still debatable whether my voice broke.

I glanced across the top of the Adidas sale at, what was suddenly apparent to this parent, a seemingly enormous man-child. He was coming for me early. This kid could do the whole look-me-in-the-eye thing in the next year or two. Then what? Will I have to look up or stand en pointe? Get some Tom Cruise-style lifts in my shoes? Where does it end? A stepladder? Stilts?

 

David Campbell’s column features in this Sunday’s Stellar.
David Campbell’s column features in this Sunday’s Stellar.

 

My world is spinning on its Asics. Err, I mean axis. I feel like I'm losing all control. How exactly does one parent a giant?

I dreamt of the day my son would raid my closet to go out with his mates. Or to go on his first date. Maybe borrow my jacket for his first day of university.

He isn't supposed to be lofty enough to be able to wear my Sunday best to his first day of high school. I can't find where I put the contract, but I'm pretty sure this isn't what I signed up for.

With shoes fitted, our eldest bounded over in a new pair of kicks and grinned his adorable smile. A smile that in a few short years will look down, maybe in slight pity, at his tiny father. My heart soared. Somehow, an average-sized guy like me produced someone who can be chosen first for basketball. A young man who will be the optimal height to go on all of the rides. And when a future mate is looking for a match who is tall and handsome, he'll be both. At that, I can walk (almost) tall with pride.

 

David co-hosts Today Extra, 9am Monday to Friday, on the Nine Network.

 

READ MORE EXCLUSIVES FROM STELLAR.

Originally published as David Campbell: 'How exactly does one parent a giant?'



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