Cal Ripken Jr. “The Iron Man” played twenty-one seasons of professional baseball for the Baltimore Orioles. He was named as an all-star nineteen times, and he was his league’s most valuable player two times. Those are both great recognitions; but, he is most known for “the streak” of consecutive games played. From 1981-2001, Ripken did not miss a single game. That accounts to twenty years of work (2,632 games) without missing a single day.
If you know me, you know that I LOVE KIDS!!!!! The only person who may love kids more than me is my wife, Cristy. She is an awesome lady I cherish very much. We both wanted kids and looked forward to parenting. However, Cristy was plagued with complications that resulted in several miscarriages. Like Cal Ripken, Cristy had the grit and determination needed to push through those hard times—she believed that we would have kids of our own. I shared that faith and determination. After recurring bouts of heartbreak, we were so excited to learn that we were going to have twins. Unfortunately, Max and Meg Vinson were born too early and were laid to rest in August 2000. It was devastating. Absolutely devastating.
In the spirit of that same grit and perseverance, during Ripken’s final year of baseball, something extraordinary happened. Cristy was pregnant again. After twenty weeks of bedrest, surgeries, hourly injections, and lots of determination our lives changed forever. On October 3, 2001, Cal Vinson was born. We named our son after Cal Ripken because they had something in common; they both came to work every day with a mission to do their best. They were both considered “iron men” in our book.
Cal is now a freshman at Wylie High School, and we are GRATEFUL for him (and his sister I will talk about in another blog a little later.) He is kind, he is considerate, and he is told each and every day that he is loved and cherished. He is also consistently hugged and kissed by both parents. It doesn’t matter how old he gets. That will never change.
Moms and dads, when you advocate for your children, I understand your passion and your motives. EVERY kid has his/her own story about what makes him/her special. I want all children, mine and yours, to feel valued and appreciated. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This month, as we focus on gratitude, I am going to ask you to help me with a few things.
Realize that you get to be a parent. This is NO SMALL GIFT.
Let your kids know how special they are and how grateful you are for them. (Even when they are driving you crazy!)
Scan your circle for kids who may not feel as special as your own, and let them know they are special, too.
Be a mentor. We have kids who need that little extra “something” to make them feel special. They need to believe that people are grateful for them. If you are interested in getting involved, you can contact our mentor coordinator, Joley Martin, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please join me in being grateful for our kids. I know you love them. I share that love for them, too. I am so grateful that you share them with us. Being GRATEFUL is the Wylie Way!