Words, Tears amd Daniels

Today was the first day of school for my kids. I can’t believe my daughter is starting first grade and my son is in Pre-K 4.  When did this happen?  When did they go from being little bundles in strollers to little people in Skechers?  I guess the old adage is true that time flies when you’re having fun.  And I really try to have as much fun as I can with my kids.

I have to remind myself that no matter what is going on in my life, I need to check my baggage at the door when it comes to my children.  And there have been days when I have felt like I have 17 claim checks in my pocket.  But still, there is nothing more important to me than being a positive and happy role model for Natalie and Daniel.

I was fortunate to have them stay with me this weekend.  I watched the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony with them, and although they were bored to tears, I was shedding tears of my own for different reasons.  Now I know I said I was going to be in Canton when Dan Marino got inducted, but life is what it is and I ended up watching on TV instead.  And I am so glad I did, because I know I will always cherish the memory of that induction ceremony.

There I was watching 18 year old Daniel “Danno” Marino deliver a moving and heartfelt introductory speech about his father.  “… in the same way my grandfather is my father’s hero, my father is my hero.”  Wow!  It was surreal to see this kid talk about my childhood hero as something other than a football player.  It was mesmerizing to share the gratitude and awe he described, yet at the same time feel the sense of pride his father was feeling in his heart.  Gil the fan and Gil the dad sharing a moment just layered in emotions.  It’s unlike anything I have felt in a very long time.

I wish my kids were old enough to appreciate the majesty of the moment.  And I so wish my dad was alive to have witnessed such a beautiful speech.  I like to think there were several men shedding tears and sharing hugs as they struggled to get the words, “I love you, dad” out of their mouths.  I know I kept holding my Daniel close to me as I told him how much I love him.

Daniel Marino’s speech was passionate, as passionate as his father was on the playing field driving the Dolphins to another fourth quarter comeback.  Danno had only wonderful things to say of both his parents, and his words focused on family.  They were inspired by the memories of a man who is so much more than just an NFL legend.  Danno said that as he started to write his speech he had to stop and really think about what his relationship with his father meant.  Based on the words he delivered, it must be a spectacular relationship indeed.  I sit here writing this entry hoping I am laying the foundation for a spectacular relationship with my kids.

I know I will never step onto the field as a professional athlete.  I may never climb the corporate ladder to the height of CEO, and I may never realize professional success as an author or screen writer.  But just as Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl, he is still a champion.  And moments of glory are not found only in a champagne drenched locker room.  On Sunday afternoon, my moment of glory was sitting in my bedroom watching my hero from the past with my heroes of the present.

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