The Zoey Blog: It's About Not Taking What You Have For Granted... FINAL - COVER UNIVERSE EXPLORERS ORDER

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's About Not Taking What You Have For Granted...

Zo, Gramma and Daddy - Aunt Cheryl's Farm Aug 2012 Zed, Gramma, and me - Cheryl's Farm, August 2012

Sometimes I don't do a very good job of appreciating how staggeringly lucky I am.  I just don't, and it's probably because I have been so fortunate that I forget, that I have something of a skewed perspective.  I've had horseshoes falling from my posterior since the day I was born.

I wasn't expected...not as in I was an accident, but rather that my mother was planning on only one child, right up until the time my twin brother, Brad, was delivered.  "You're not done yet Catherine," the attending physician said loud enough to rattle my Mom into a state of pseudo-shock.  "There's one more in there."  The word is that my father turned pale and my grandfather sat silent in disbelief.  Two babies, despite having the room, the budget, and the diapers and plans for just one. It's like I've been crashing a really big party for forty years.

I survived a frightening car accident, that was much less accident and more realistically a really drunk dude running over a kid on a bike...on a highway...with a speed limit of 80km/hour, but he was going much faster.  I was lucky enough to have the responding EMS driver be one of my hockey teammates fathers, and without my parents available to consult he vehemently defended against the amputation of my leg, long enough for my parents to arrive and concur.  I still think of him and get choked up.  I owe him more than I might ever owe another soul that isn't my parent, sibling, wife or child.  I not only survived it all but slipped from a hospital bed in London for a month and a half, to a wheelchair, to crutches, to a walker, then cane, months of physiotherapy, and an athletic career, if you must call it something, that made me no different from any able bodied other.

I called both my mother and father, desperate to come home from school in Missouri, and woke up to my father knocking at my dorm door, telling me to get packed, withdraw, and speak to my coach, while he slept.  He must have left minutes after I hung up the telephone.

I was never once hurt, or hindered as I wandered around Europe and the Rockies and the California coast and desert...not once.  I lost everything that I had...identification, money, Germany and was helped to pull myself back together by a casual Australian friend that I had bounced intermittently around Europe with, and a strange, old Bosnian man who had left his entire family in the deadly dischord of his homeland.  He calmed me down, then he helped me find a phone to track down my things, and bought me a $20 phone card before disappearing into the crowd.  Before I turned to use the phone he had given me a tearful hug and a pat on my cheek.  "I can't help my grandson but I can help you," he uttered to me before drifting away into the ether.  I never saw him again, and never knew his name.

In Santa Barbara, California I met a girl who was traveling with her Mom.  Soon after our meeting I learned that I was broke, so I said goodbye hastily, and scurried back to the safety of free desert camping in Joshua Tree.  By the strangest of happenstance, I stumbled back into the two in the desert.  I hadn't the money to make it home so they gave me a ride to Colorado where I spent nearly every last dollar I had on a bus back to Detroit.  From there I slipped the driver my last $5 for a no-ticket ride across the border to Canadian customs.  A friend let me sleep the night at his house before I limped home in the morning.  Had I not found those two familiar faces amongst the high desert boulders in Joshua Tree National Park, I don't know how I would have gotten home.  They were just one more reminder out of many that there is still a kindness left in complete strangers.

I met my wife at camp...we became friends, went about our lives as such, and then decided we were much more than that.

The list is endless...

Bruce Madej at the University of Michigan hiring a completely undeserving, unqualified kid to intern in one of the country's largest Athletic Departments.  It changed my perspectives, if not my life.

After thirty years apart, my parents decided to be friends again.  It was a strange but important gift.

I have in-laws and a brother and sister-in-law that I care about..and another sister-in-law who I love.

I have nieces and nephews that I adore.

I have friends.

I have been so unbelievably fortunate that it's sometimes easy to lose perspective, and feel cheated, or treated unfairly in certain situations.  It's nonsense.  I have nothing that I could possibly complain about...nothing that hasn't worked out, or been exactly the way that it probably should have been...nothing.  I have good friends, a healthy family, a fulfilling job and career, and somehow some integrity still intact after forty years of testing it.

Its about not taking what you have for granted and sometimes I need reminding.


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