3 Cheers For A Cure!

Don and I are celebrating our 21st year of marriage.

Not a typo.

Really, it’s been 21 years.

We’ve never been a couple to exchange extravagant gifts.

A few years back I received one gift that I will always cherish.

You see, my mom never throws anything away.  Not a hoarder but a complete sentimentalist.  Unbeknownst to me she provided Don with a piece of my past that she thought he “might like”.  A throw back Thursday treasure.  A cheerleading picture (pre photoshop days!).

Always Your Cheerleader

Always Your Cheerleader

 

Don, in turn, took my brace faced picture, purchased a side by side frame and inserted his playing days football picture.

 

Don - Wittenburg Tiger Days

Don – Wittenburg Tiger Days

Completely sweet.

Attached a note that read …….

We are quite the pair. Meant to be. Always by my side. Love – Don

Couldn’t agree more. I can’t find my pom poms or do a herkie any longer but I am cheering him (and many others)  on now, in more ways than one.

B E A T  P A R K I N S O N ‘ S ! 

Until there is a cure we will be the change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make A Difference

I post the following personal letter not to highlight Don’s impact through his career but to help illuminate that anyone can make a difference.  Be kind – expect great things because the people you touch will in turn DO great things!

Serving his 7th deployment in Afghanistan

Serving His 7th Deployment In Afghanistan

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A Late Bloomer “Pee Wee” Turned American Hero

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Lessons Taught Through Sports Can Equal Positive Life Lessons

Thank you Colonel for your kind words they mean the world to our family but more importantly for your amazing service and dedication to our country!

 

Different Vantage Point

Girls Watching Their Dad Do His Thing

Girls Watching Their Dad Do His Thing

All their young lives they have stood tall, sat patiently, cheered loudly, and proudly watched their dad and countless players run thru a tunnel and take the field to the game / job he loved.  I’ve always delighted in our ability to be voyeurs in their father’s career.  Many men go into an office and disappear.  Their kids not fully understanding what it is their dads do to make sacrifices for their futures.  However, mine have been on a college football roller coaster. They feel and have joyful pride with each win and on the contrary they hear, from their peers, personalize and worry after each loss. Their vantage point of NCAA sports has been different.  They aren’t “real” fans. They have yet to choose the school they will be forever loyal to, but they are “real” fans of the players they’ve come to know and their dad.  They are aware it’s not just a Saturday ritual but a lifetime commitment of good people and hard work.

As of late, the roles have been reversed.  This has been Don’s new vantage point.

Reversed Roles

Reversed Roles

Libby decided she wanted to learn and compete in soccer.  Our Saturday’s had been occupied with pigskin, but this year we decided to make a change and let the girls build their own Saturday rituals.  The competition level, slightly diminished (thank goodness!) Field a bit smaller but the heart is equal.

Libby Hamilton Award

Libby Hamilton Award

It occurred to me this weekend as Libby received from CASL, The Hamilton Sportsmanship Award, that the outcome is the same.  Don has spent a lifetime committed to helping build a better person / student athlete and he’s still doing just that, only from a different vantage point. It is much closer to home now. Parkinson’s may have sidelined him temporarily but never will he give up on making a difference in human beings.

The Beginning Of Letting Go

Spring is developing into wonderful anxiously awaited season, with great things in bloom.  My bloodshot eyes and continual runny nose can attest to its arrival.  Spring means different things to many.  In our life, it had always involved spring football with a culmination at the end a “spring game”.  This is the first time in 30 plus years -24 that I have been part of, that we haven’t attended one.  Knowing how important to Don this tradition is, we started planning. Even if from the sidelines, he would like to watch, this is food for his soul.  The plans were to voyage to Boston, a place we fondly called home, to watch the BC Eagles take the field under their new leadership.  Then the unfathomable traumatic events occurred and we thought better than to travel.  With the devastation that was besieged on this great community we started to place in prospective our simple feelings of wants and looked at the greater city and people’s needs.  Moments of prayers followed as we watched and listened to the events unfold, while being in constant contact with our friends that remain there and then we cheered at the conclusion. The Boston College spring game was cancelled, as it should be, but we witnessed an unplanned game, of good vs evil and goodness won!

Balloon Release

Mrs. Debby’s Balloon Release

Life changes all around us, whether we want or are open to it, or not.  My youngest daughters beloved preschool teacher passed away from breast cancer at a very early age.  How to explain the loss to a 5-year-old child, I thought, was going to be difficult. This was the second teacher / friend we had lost to cancer in a short period of time.   A collective group of mothers decided to have a balloon release ceremony to help the children let go physically of something, say a prayer, watch the balloon rise, disappear into a greater place and trust in life again. The kids held on securely to their balloons as they each said something special about Mrs. Debby and then, it was time to say goodbye.  As the release happened, I slowly looked around.  The adults with tears, myself included, but each child had a grin so wide it was hard not to feel their sense of trust, that in letting go, everything will be ok.

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It was with wonderment I watched Hadley.  Inspiring to me.  Helping me believe that there was a time when we / I were free to accept change.  We ALL make adjustments in life and have to accept new realities, whatever that may be and for us, now, that includes no spring football.  It’s not just a game but it’s been a way of life that we are letting go of.  I  believe it hurts Don to his core and for those of us who witness his inner sadness, it is difficult. There are different ways to experience loss and nothing can compare to the tragic way the people of Boston are grieving, but I do believe that living with a disease is its own form of loss.   As an adult I wish I had the ability to let go of something, truly release it, and not hold on, as my 5-year-old does. I am re-learning.