By the time the dust had settled on my nephew Michael’s senior year growth spurt, the kid had grown a solid foot.
He sprouted like Dr. Bruce Banner though, through his own extraordinary transformation, Michael maintained an impeccable sense of style and poise.
He stood 5-3 when he entered high school and remained that height through his junior year. Walking nose to arm pit high through high school hallways can present challenges including malodorous air and obstructed views. Since birth, though, Michael has marched to the beat of his own…trumpet and elevated himself with a natural dry wit and an affinity for math.
Fearing catastrophic injury, Michael gave up football early on and spent his time on the soccer field, where his quickness allowed him to run with athletes twice his size.
The same skill set that helped him hold his own against three strong-willed sisters gave Michael the means to negotiate a successful career at one of the biggest high schools in Wisconsin.
Stubborn, bright, even-tempered and self-confident, Michael chose his own path through high school. He started a Physics Club, played trumpet in the school’s jazz band and didn’t think too much about his height.
Then, after three years at 5-3 and an amiable resignation that he would remain that way, Michael began to grow so quickly that you could almost hear his bones groan as he took the stage for band concerts and sauntered into the kitchen for family meals.
We celebrated his high school graduation last week, thematically on the Fourth of July, Independence Day for both him and our country.
In the fall, Michael will head to Butler University where he will participate in a dual degree program with majors in physics and motorsports engineering.
He stands 6-3 today and, with his 18th birthday looming and a challenging collegiate career on the horizon, we’re betting the remarkable growth spurt of Michael Kostelnik has just begun.
This is Michael as an 11-year old somewhat scrawny trumpet master.
Rockin’ the sweater vest and giving the violin a whirl.
Christmas 2010 found him shorter than Molly and just slightly taller than his petite Grandma.
This is Michael, his mom and Dad, my sister Kathy and me at the Super Bowl in 2011.
This is my nephew Michael at Christmas this year. By the end of the holiday he had grown taller than the tree.