Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I Love This Kid

The Kid I'm talking about is this Dad. This is my nephew, Neil. I was a teenager when he and his older brother, Eric, were born. I always lived near them when they were growing up and spent a lot of time with them. I helped their mom and dad (my brother) out whenever I could, babysitting and running them around to sports practices, ball games, movies, whatever.

As a boy, Neil was a gifted athlete and a good student. At age 6, he was a state champion swimmer. He played all sports - baseball, basketball, football and track/field. He is still the county record holder in discus, and played Division 1 college football as a quarterback.

One day when he was just a boy, maybe 10 years old, I asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up - did he want to be a professional athlete? He just smiled and said, "I want to play football in college, but after that, I just want to have a job I like, get married and have a family." I remember how touched I was by his seriousness at such a young age.

When Neil was in the fourth grade in Memphis, there was little girl in his class named Lindsey. She liked Neil so much that she wrote in her diary that one of her goals for the school year was to get Neil to be her boyfriend. Apparently this wish did not come true that year, and after the school year ended, Neil and his family moved to Georgia. After Neil graduated from high school, he returned to Memphis for college.

One day, Neil and Lindsey ran into each other in a parking garage at school, and those old sparks flew again. Lindsey finally got her wish, and they dated throughout college. Neil graduated with a degree in business, and on the night Lindsey graduated a semester later, Neil asked her to marry him. Neil went to work building and selling houses, and later became a general contractor.

One night before just before he got married, I was in Memphis and Neil and I went out to dinner. I reminded him of that conversation we had when he was 10 - and I told him he was a lucky man - he was living his childhood dream. We both had tears in our eyes - he said he couldn't believe how lucky he was.

Now he has two beautiful daughters, Avery and Dana, and he is just such a Dad. I love just watching him with his girls.

1 comment:

Jeri said...

Awwww. *sniff* What a beautiful family.