No disrespect to their fathers or families, but these are my sons. I helped raise them, I love them and even I don’t have the words to describe how proud I am of them.
I coached them all in weightlifting, wrestling and track and field at Lift For Life Gym. Steve, Dontee and Otis are brothers and their mom’s birthday party was Friday night.
If my smile doesn’t completely give it away, these young men have made a career dedicated to kids worth it.
We don’t talk about trophies or tournaments anymore. No one cares about who won what when they were 13. We talk about the positive experiences we had. I’m glad we can all laugh about the good and the bad times…together.
Steve, Dontee and Otis’ mom, Lawanda, chaperoned dozens of trips with us. Half of my team were girls and I needed the help. One particular adventure involved us taking 30 kids to dinner at a Kansas City area restaurant after a meet.
A well-meaning, but dimly-lit woman approached our section and complimented Lawanda and I on our parenting skills and how well-behaved our kids were. She gave us $300 to put toward dinner.
Instead of correcting her, we accepted the donation. Sometimes ignorance can work to your benefit. Aside from the fact I had a wife and child at home myself, it is mathematically, biologically and I might even suggest biblically impossible for Lawanda and I to have had 30 children ages of 8-16 and both of us were under 35.
The kids got a kick out of it, though. They started joking with each other about who looked like me and who looked like Lawanda.
I used the picture of the guys for this post because the world needs to see it. In this picture, there are husbands, fathers, sons, and co-workers. They support their families and communities. Our world is better because they are in it.
Dontee was late arriving to the party because he was working. When he walked in, I hugged him like he had graduated or come home from overseas.
My eyes began to well up and my wife asked, “Are you about to cry?” Yes, I was. I love those boys. And it hit me that I wasn’t reading about them in the paper, watching them on the news, or visiting them in the hospital or worse.
We were at a birthday party – laughing , dancing and eating cake. Hallelujah!