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What I Wish I Didn’t Wear June 17, 2013

necklace sA necklace.

If you work with me or know me you might have noticed I wear a silver necklace. It’s a longer necklace so the charm on it isn’t obvious unless I pull it out or it makes its way out of my shirt. What hangs from that necklace means more to me than most things do. It can’t be replaced. It’s my Dad’s thumbprint.

It’s hard to believe that my Dad has been gone for four years in September.

People leave memories with us that will last for the rest of our lives. Some of the memories my Dad and I shared were the best times of my life. Teaching me about football, and watching me learn to love it. Kameron being born, and what a great Pop he was.  Mr. D and I getting married, knowing that the third time really was the charm.  Going to Lambeau Field together, our first trip together! Watching the Packers play in Indianapolis, tailgating with those silly Indianapolis fans.  Sunday football, coming over to my house every Sunday to watch the Packers play. Catching my first fish.  Teaching me how to jump a car. The difference between a flat head and a phillips head screwdriver. How to check a breaker and change a fuse. How to buy a car. How to make home made french fries. That Mikesell’s Rippled Potato Chips work best with Dean’s French Onion Dip. And the way to his heart was through my deviled eggs. Those are just a few of the millions of things that he taught me.

The selfish part of me missed my Dad, even though I know he’s in a better place.

The worst part about it for me now is that I know he would be so proud of me (not that he wasn’t before.)  He would be so ridiculously proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish. It really has been awesome, and I thank sincerely the people that have (REALLY) supported me (Firebelly Team – Duncan Alney)  -my gratitude and your belief in me is immeasurable. I sincerely from the bottom of my heart thank you. I’m so happy!

Without my Dad there is a space in my heart that can’t be replaced. I don’t get to tell him about the awesome day I’ve had. I don’t have that smile, or pat on my shoulder anymore, he was the one person who always believed in me, no matter what the circumstances.

Things aren’t the same without you Dad, I love you and miss you so much.

I’m kicking ass Johnno, I hope you know.


I Always Wanted A…. July 28, 2012


But not just any boy, I wanted a quarterback. You know that bit that Bill Cosby does when he’s talking about his son, teaching him how to be tough. One part of it he tells him “now go over there and bite that tree.” Towards the end of the bit Cosby’s son is playing in a football game, as he describes it “he just runs over everybody, scores a TD, the TV camera is in his face and his son says “hi mom!”

That’s what I wanted then.

So we tried it out, first it was soccer, which was miserable. Kameron would end up kicking rocks or grabbing weeds in the field. He did have one shining moment when the ball accidentally came to him, he picked it up, ran to our teams goal, sat the ball down and kicked it in. He was so proud of himself, and I was thinking when is the season over?

Then there was baseball. Which he played for several years. He was decent, not great by any stretch of the imagination. Baseball was fun, until kid pitch came around. Kameron would stand up at the plate terrified that he might get hit by a wild pitch. I don’t even think he swung the bat that season. So much for baseball.

Football, finally, football. He wasn’t tall enough to be a quarterback, he wasn’t big enough for defense. So they stuck him on the line or the sidelines if he really was bad that day. Kameron was afraid to get tackled, doesn’t really work in a contact sport like football. My dreams of Kameron being interviewed by ESPN after a game winning touchdown went right down the toilet.

There had to be something this kid liked to do besides play video games. At a very early age I noticed that Kameron could memorize things. I mean anything, well anything if he was interested in it. When my mom said something to me about a theater camp at Roncalli I thought why not? Gets him out of the house, he can meet some new people, he likes to sing and dance, sounds good. The play was Godspell Junior that year. My dad and I took turns picking him up everyday from practice. I would ask how it was going, if he was having fun. The answer was always the same “Yes.” I figured ok, maybe we’ll do this again next year.

The night of the play we really didn’t know what to expect. Kameron hadn’t mentioned any special part that he might have. As far as we knew he was a background singer/dancer. About midway through the play Kameron came running out to the middle of the stage and grabbed the microphone. My family gasped as he started to sing, and he was good! My dad was sitting next to me, he poked me and said “I think Kameron has found his calling.” Afterwards basking in his own glory I asked Kameron “why didn’t you tell me you had a singing part?” I think his answer was “I wanted to surprise you.” Well kiddo you knocked my socks off that night.

Last year Roncalli did “Into The Woods” which Kameron had watched several times and read the book. His mind was made up, he wanted the part of the wolf. I told him “Go in there an believe you already have the part, you can do it, it’s the perfect part for you.” After tryouts the instructor said “he did his lines without the script in front of him, I’ve never had anyone do that before.” I just smiled and said “he believed he already had the part.” 

This year was Seussical The Musical Jr. After picking him up the first day I asked “do you know who you want to be yet?” He said “it’s hard to decide, there are a lot of fun parts, but I think I would like to be Horton.” Horton I later found out was the biggest part in the play. Confidently I told him “you can have that part, you’ve already made up your mind haven’t you?” He just smiled and shook his head yes.

Kameron was serious about this part. Every night I would walk by his room and he would be reading and highlighting his lines. He was diligent, now if I could just transfer that energy to seventh grade math.

Two performances both perfect. My little elephant. I felt a tear roll down my face when he started to sing, I was so proud of him. Afterwards everyone told him what a great job he did. He thanked everyone gracefully he loved all the attention he was getting. I just stood there beaming with mom joy.

A quarterback? Please. Aren’t there too many of those in the world anyway?