By P.J. DiPentino
Out with the old and in with the new has taken on a different meaning at the DiPentino household. Patrick, my BMX pro, has decided to put away his bike and start a future with the United States Air Force. This has been an incredible journey with him and yet we look forward to his new beginning.
At ten years old he approached me about racing BMX bikes. Not knowing a thing about BMX I reluctantly accepted his request and we became a BMX family. The early years were a learning experience as we traveled together across the country improving his skills at national competitions. There were a lot of wins but a lot more losses to deal with. He eventually turned expert and, not long after, the rest of the kids caught the racing bug. Our family now has three siblings to carry on the tradition.
This year will be different. Patrick’s absence will be felt on many different levels. His work with the local kids at the track will be missed. His upbeat attitude and work ethic will also be missed. He has become a great adult and I truly believe his racing career has a lot to do with his development. The military is a staple to our family. His older brother Jimmy is a Marine sniper and has just returned from his first tour in Iraq.
As most Military parents I am concerned about the safety of my child but realize they are performing the needed duties to keep this country on top. His desire to make a change has always driven Patrick and I can only hope he continues this into his military career.
As we said goodbye last week I gave him a tearful hug and thanked him for being such a good kid. His tearful response was typical. ”I am gonna’ make you proud Dad!” My reply was simple, “You already have son!”
As Christmas approaches it is important to keep the family close. But let’s not forget the soldiers who are thousands of miles away from home this holiday season. It is because of them we can continue our traditions in a free world. I will be missing two seats at the Christmas dinner but the boys will not be forgotten. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
<p>Proud parent P.J. DiPentino with his son, Patrick. Patrick has embarked on a U.S. Air Force career.</p>