It’s around 9:00 at night, and I’m getting home from working a seventeen hour day. I work a lot, but this day is longer than most. I unload the contents of my pockets into a bowl which sits atop a piece of IKEA furniture. It has become the dumping ground for random objects in our home, and I am certain that, sooner than later, the table with the bowl will collapse from the junk that weighs it down. I then notice that my son, Cal, is waiting for me. I quickly find that I am no longer tired, for I am excited to see him and discuss the highlights of his day. Cal is one of my best friends. We listen to Malcolm Gladwell podcasts, discuss politics, and simply share moments that are important to his gentle and thoughtful soul. After visiting with him for just a few minutes, he gets a phone call from a teammate. His presence is requested for a hair bleaching ceremony which will serve as a declaration of solidarity for the football playoffs (for what, I am still confused) and he leaves, assuring me that my wife, Cristy, is there. I hope for the best, and I head into the kitchen to see my Kate.
Kate and I are close, but our relationship is much different than the one I have with Cal. We are EXACTLY alike, as you can tell by this pic proudly displaying her best "Bob Ross" impression. My family responsibility is to remind her, from experience, that some ideas are better than others. She explains that she’s tired but wanted to give me a hug before going to sleep. I cherish this moment so much. I know there will soon come a day when I long for these moments. I wrap her up in my arms and am fully aware of how quickly these times will pass us by. I feel so grateful to have her in my life, and I look forward to what the future holds.
I get a few moments to reflect on the day which began with our Veteran’s Day celebration. The event was moved inside due to weather, but it was still fantastic. When I arrived, I took my seat next to school board members, including Barbara Goss who was beaming (this is an understatement) with pride for her son, Austin, who recently returned home from the 82nd Airborne training.
This momma loves her soldier. It was a joy to be near her during the event. The program began, and recognition of veterans commenced.
A request was made for the veterans from World War 2 to rise. I heard some commotion behind me, and family members of WEHS AFJROTC Cadet, Jayci Poe, encouraged her grandfather to stand up and be recognized. Reluctantly, he stood to his feet and gently waved. Veteran fighter pilot and former Wylie ISD trustee, Ralph James (pictured behind him), then stood to his feet and began to clap. At that moment, the auditorium erupted with cheers. The veteran humbly acknowledged the recognition and quietly sat back down in his seat. His family members, all seated in the front row, sat proudly as tears streamed down their faces.
When the program concluded, I headed back to the office where folks were counting financial contributions from our Wylie ISD Christian Care Center Food and Money Drive. With more than $15,000 on the table, we beat the previous record by more than $3,000 and 95,000 items of food that eclipsed the previous record of 82,000. WOW! We care and give with purpose; and, with these actions, we teach kids that caring and giving may not only benefit strangers. We may also benefit classmates and neighbors. How wonderful it is to know that we are helping our own.
We concluded the day with a board meeting that celebrated the recognition of new board members. The pride of these newly elected members, along with their families and friends, is amazing. It will always be one of my favorite moments for trustees. We have a great school board. They are special. Really special. We move to our Wylie Way Award recognition, honoring Pastor Jeff Denton who was being recognized for his efforts to mentor students and help campuses in so many different ways. I consider him (and other clergy) to be my friends. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to serve alongside them.
I share these reflections with you as a reminder of my gratitude for friends, family, community members, and this school district. I use the term LOVE to describe my feelings because I cannot think of another word that more accurately depicts my level of gratitude. From a quiet moment with my daughter and son to honoring a veteran, this life is full of so many precious moments. Although life can get hectic, we have so much to be thankful for. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making my life so special. I will be forever grateful to you. You make this world, and this community, so very wonderful. YOU are the Wylie Way!