Originally written in March of 2011…

All Paul ever wanted was a normal childhood. But normal was the one thing he couldn’t experience. He wasn’t able to play with the other kids on the playground. He was always afraid he’d hurt someone or break something. But even if that wasn’t a fear for him, he didn’t want to deal with all the teasing that came with being around his classmates.

Paul was a big kid. And it isn’t the kind of big that most people think about these days. Paul wasn’t a victim of childhood obesity. No, Paul was the closest thing one could find to a giant outside of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Doctors couldn’t explain the boy’s size. When he was born, all signs pointed to the fact that he was a normal, healthy baby boy. Then, somewhere over the course of the next 10 years of his young life, he grew. His parents loved him dearly, but weren’t quite sure how to deal with a child of Paul’s size. The boy was taller than his own father by the time he reached the fourth grade. By that point, it was clear that his name seemed to be a cruel joke, as all the kids would refer to him as Paul Bunyan. For Paul, it stopped being funny a long time ago.

But Paul tried to stay happy about his situation. Sure, he couldn’t run around and play tag with the kids who were half his size. He couldn’t jump on the swing set or go down the slide. But he was smart. Even at a young age, Paul understood the importance of making good grades, and he never came home with less than an A. He worked hard and knew that one day it would all pay off.

He looked forward to a time when he could be in high school. He’d still be bigger than the other kids, but they’d catch up to him. At least a little, anyway. And then, maybe he’d be able to play with everyone else. Maybe he’d be able to go out for the football team. He’d watched enough football on TV with his dad, he knew that no one would ever be able to take him down. He’d be able to play basketball. By then, he’d be able to dunk the ball without ever leaving the ground.

Paul knew there would be struggles, but he smiled when he thought about what his future held.

Feature Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash

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