The last 30 days have been hugely monumental for Kenjon.
First, he was drafted. Yes, officially an NFL PLAYER. John and I sweated it out watching the draft. We were hopeful, but realistic that he would be taken the first night - in Rounds 1 or 2 - but, it was proven again and again this year that what the professional league was looking for wasn't running backs for their first picks, but for the big guys - the linemen.
However, it was getting frustrating as the teams finally got around to choosing running backs and they were bypassing Kenjon. We couldn't imagine what they were thinking as he was nearly one of the Heisman candidates. There were a couple of teams we were really hoping he was NOT picked up by. Detroit has not been a successful place for our former Ducks (ask Joey Harrington) - and is a dark place to be. Also, he felt like it would be advantageous to get out of the neighborhoods where he grew up in California.
Finally, the Carolina Panthers added him to their roster. There were so many hoots and hollers in our household at that moment. John texted Gary (Kenjon's dad) to offer his congratulations - and then Gary promptly called him. Very cool. His family was elated already trying to order Panther gear. =) Gary talked about going together to NFL games - woo hoo! Eventually, the phone was passed over to Kenjon who spoke to John for a bit. He admitted he'd been crying since the announcement had been made. When Kenjon was 11, he matter of factly told his father that he was done playing basketball and was going to play football and someday play for the NFL. It seemed a very far fetched dream to pronounce, but Kenjon did everything in his power to achieve it - and has consistently given God the glory for making it happen.
Here he is, now as #25 instead of #24 - and in teal and black instead of green and yellow. Go Panthers!!!
Brayden got his two hats right away to show his support - and kindly let Whitley borrow one for this picture:
One day later, Kenjon turned 24. Not a bad way to celebrate a birthday.
Nine days after that, he became a father.
Surprised?!!! Let me tell you, so were we. But, we've had the advantage of knowing since October that this was going to take place. It's not the easiest thing to address or share publicly on a blog. Clearly, unlike achieving his NFL dream, this particular dream wasn't supposed to unfold quite the way it did.
We've (mostly John) spent hours talking, praying, and working through tears with Kenjon in regards to this. If he were to go back in time, there's so many choices he would have made differently, but in the end - despite the very real fact that being a brand new father with a woman he does not plan to marry while being newly drafted to the NFL will be difficult to say the least - he would never every desire to take his son "Kingston" out of the plan. Even when the baby's mom told him she was pregnant, it never once crossed his mind to take the "easy way out", or even secretly wish for a natural miscarriage to take place. He's been in love with this boy since the day he discovered his existence, and then pronounced the day he saw him on the ultrasound and found out he was a "him"- "the best day of his life". Of course, that title has now been drastically overshadowed by the day he actually got to meet Kingston.
It is only because "Social Media" makes so few things private that I feel like I can share some of these details and even pictures. "Kylie", Kingston's mom, and Kenjon have both announced on Twitter and Instagram about Kingston's arrival and how overjoyed they are. (And pics like these):
The future is uncertain regarding their relationship. There are some some things that they'd both have to really work through to make a long-term commitment happen. However, I can tell you that from the little I know, I believe Kylie will be a very caring mother and there's no end to the support (in every definition) that her family will be able to provide for them. Kenjon absolutely intends to be an active role in his son's life. Again, this whole scenario is not in any way ideal, but they both fully desire to do all they can to make Kingston know and feel just how much he is loved by both of his parents.
What a difference a month can make in a person's life....