Since getting to 62 years old (social security’s first eligibile age), I like to sometimes take time to reflect back on my life. At age 24 when I met my future wife Maryellen she already had a three year old son nicknamed PJ. Since I was a camp person, this was a perfect fit for me. Just like that I had a child and I later had the pleasure to legally adopt him.
My favorite age is when children are 3, 4 and 5. All they want to do at that age is play and they want you to join in. At the time I was still in law school so I had a lot of free time still being a student. So many days during the week we would gather up all PJ’s sports equipment and sand box tools and walk to the park which was just down the block. My dad was a parent at barely 22 years old and a gym teacher, so I grew up playing all the sports with him. Now instantly I had my own child and at the park I would teach him how to throw, catch and hit a baseball, how to dribble, pass and shoot a basketball and other athletic skills as well. Then we would always spend a long time in the sand box building tunnels, castles and forts. To me it was the greatest thing because I was getting to relive my childhood through spending time with P.J.
That first December holiday season after meeting Maryellen and PJ, I was in Florida since I was off from law school at that time of the year. Maryellen and PJ flew down to meet me. Then I had the opportunity to redo with them all the things that I did as a child in Florida each December when I was down visiting my grandparents. We did so many fun things that trip including going to Ocean World to see the fish, going to the beach where we played in the water and sand and going to the park. It was the best Florida vacation ever!
I am also a golf person so at 3 years old I had PJ hitting golf balls at the driving range. Years later he made the varsity golf team as an 8th grader when normally you need to be at least in 10th grade. Today PJ is 41, is a chef and has a 13 year old daughter (my granddaughter). My advice is to spend time with your children as much as you can when they are young because they grow up fast. It’s something you will get great pleasure from and your children will remember those times forever.
In conclusion I would just like to share something I read in the paper this morning that Joe Namath said. He was the NY Jets quarterback whose team won the super bowl in 1969 when no one gave the Jets a chance against the powerful Baltimore Colts. I think it is good advice to instill in our children as they grow up. Joe Namath said “one of the things I learned that’s very important in life, we’re all underdogs from time to time. Think positive. If you think you can’t, you won’t. If you think you can, you got a chance to do it. Do keep dreaming and keep trying to fulfill your dreams. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it”.