Archive for June, 2010

A Child Yesterday…. A Young Man Today

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

A lot has happened over the last few weeks. As with anything time seems to slip away faster than I would like.

I went to my nephew’s graduation ceremony on Saturday. I can remember when I started my first job out of college. As odd as it sounds it seems like it was a lifetime ago. However, shortly after I started that job my nephew was born. He was cute right from the get-go. He was adorable and had a very warm personality. A smile was very natural on his face.  As one day turned to the next so did the weeks and months. Before long the years started passing by as if they were days. In the blink of an eye he went from being a child to a young man who is headed to college.

His life has revolved around hockey. He has breathed hockey since he was old enough to place his foot in a skate. Hockey has brought many moments of glory and happiness, which in turn brought a few experiences filled with frustration and shattered dreams. No matter how you look at it hockey has molded him into the person that he is today. It taught him the value of losing and winning. It also taught him a type of discipline that few others will ever see. Even when things weren’t going as planned he played until the final horn sounded.

As he sets off to college at the end of the summer he’ll have to bring many of these lessons with him and realize that what he learned growing up are the building blocks for his life.

We all gain knowledge in different ways. I learned discipline through diabetes and the battle that it presented every single day through my early years and into today.  If the blocks are set out in front of us it is our responsibility to build something positive with them.

I’m not worried about him succeeding in college. I do have my concerns about the initial stages of the college experience. One of the things that I’m the most proud of is the fact that I attended a college known for huge parties and I refrained from going down the wrong path. It didn’t stop me from having fun, but I also didn’t put myself in any situations that could have left and everlasting imprint on me.

It might have taken me 4 years, but I learned how to grow up more than anything. Yes, I did gain a little more education than I previously had, but the experience was more about learning to live on my own, and more simply put, to grow up.

For a long time I considered my college years the best years of my life. While I still hold them close to my heart I no longer think that they were the best. After I got out of college and set foot into the working world I was blessed with the ability to do many things that I had only dreamed about. This was all made possible by my parents. If more children had parents like mine I’m absolutely sure the world would be a better place.

In some ways that’s why I know that my nephew will be successful in whatever he chooses to do. Much of his life up to this point has been spent around my parents (his grandparents) and they have taught him many of the things that they taught me. His own mother and father have also played a huge role in his development which will only benefit him now that he is about to begin another chapter of his life.

The ceremony only lasted two hours, but I carried it with me for the next few days. When I saw all of the kids receive their diplomas it seemed like it was another lifetime that I was in their shoes.

It’s actually scary. Some people wander through their lives searching for meaning and before they know it their time is up. I’ve never searched for meaning. I’ve always tried to make my own meaning. I do the things I like and I avoid the things that bring too much frustration. Too many people search for happiness rather than doing what makes them happy.

I’m probably a little guilty of making myself a priority. I always try to take care of number one before anything else. In order to make others happy we have to be happy with who we are. I feel very fortunate that I’ve never had a problem in that area. It’s a shame when we watch people who are never happy. They always point fingers and search for happiness from people and material things. I can’t imagine living that way.

My mind is a jumbled mess tonight. I thought it was clear, but the longer I sit here it’s obvious that it’s not. My mind has had a little too much monkey chatter lately. I need quiet time to let it settle. Hopefully I can find it so0n.


Monday, June 14th, 2010

The last month has been a blur. So many things have happened I can’t even begin to explain everything. Mom was finally able to come home from Albany Med. It was a nerve-wracking couple of weeks when they were trying to figure out what was wrong. I think my family was struck with every emotion that exists. One day it was brain cancer and the next they had no clue what it might be. It appears that it’s a severe viral infection in the brain.

It’s very hard to see anyone suffer, but to see the ones that you love the most makes it even more difficult. Almost all of us gain traits from our role models, which in many cases are our parents. I can only hope that I have a quarter of the strength that my mother has. No matter what they tell her she always has a positive attitude and says “bring it on.” In instances where so many other people would quit she buckles down and insists that she will be the winner in any battle.

When I drove back and forth to the hospital I tried to imagine myself in the same situation. I’m not sure what I would do or how I would react. I guess I would have to take it on the chin and move forward.

Many of the minutes that passed by while driving brought me in and out of a variety of thoughts. It struck me how quick our lives can change and we can’t do anything about it. They could change by a freak accident, by a long term illness or a simple word. All of our lives can take a different direction in a split second. Sometimes we have control and sometimes we don’t. I guess that’s the beauty of life. Life doesn’t slow down or stop for anyone. It moves from second to second, minute to minute and year to year. Unfortunately, we too often get stuck and the time sucks us in before we realize how much of it has passed. We can’t get it back, yet we don’t do anything to make the most of the time we have.

I’ve also realized that unlike the work-place, illnesses such as cancer have no favorites. Cancer can strike anyone, whether they’re the manager’s pet or the least liked person in the building. It comes quietly and strikes without warning. We can try as hard as possible to hide from it, but in the end we have very little control over it. It shows no mercy and has no feelings for the people that it overtakes. Nothing can be done for the suffering and although we watch people slowly fade away we can’t step in and offer our help. All we can do is sit there and pray for relief.

Every night when I go to bed I say a few short prayers. I’m not overly religous and never have been, but I have always been spiritual. I never realized how many people pray until many of my friends asked what my mother’s name was.  I’m different in that manner. When I pray I do it in a wide spectrum such as “please look after all of my friends and family and help all of them through any rough times that may come upon them.” Everyone finds their own way, but that is mine.

I could ramble for a while tonight, but none of my thoughts are lining up well enough to write clearly this evening. I’ll try to make time to come back another night this week and tackle this with a little more substance. I’ve had the time to write lately, but I just haven’t sat down to do it. I need to get back at it because it brings me something that I need.

Dad won a gold medal at the NY State Senior games in archery this past weekend. He hasn’t shot his bow since my mother was admitted in Albany Med. Some people wondered how he was able to do well, but I didn’t. I remember when I was going through hell while I was in the middle of my divorce. I was having  hard time dealing with all of the emotions, but I still chose to shoot the National Triple Crown. Somehow I found a way to get through. I ended up that with two top 10 finishes at national events and a 7th place finish at the World Championship. It was extremely hard to set my emotions aside and get from one day to the next. When I picked my bow up it allowed my mind to be at peace for a couple of hours a day. It was the only “quiet” time that my mind had during the process. It affected me for many months, but the bow and arrow always brought me to a place that I needed.  I think the same might have happened for dad over the weekend. I was surprised he went shooting, but I’m glad he did. Way to go Dad!!! Since I don’t shoot much anymore and you’re doing well it makes me route for you even more.  I haven’t forgotten all of those miles you put on while driving me all over the country so I could find the success that I was able to achieve. Thanks again………..I’m glad it’s your time now.

As each day fades into another night try to take time to sit back and be thankful for everything in your life, from the big things to the small things. It’s amazing how everything can change in the snap of a finger. Instead of putting things off you better jump in before it’s too late. It’s probably better to say you tried than to realize too late that you missed out on an opportunity that might never ever present itself again.