As you are probably aware, I took a couple days off from writing last week to spend some time with my brother. He flew in from Chicago to visit me for my birthday and to go with me to a hockey game. We had a great time together, and as promised I will give you the lowdown on our adventures over the last couple days. In addition to filling you in on everything we did though, I am also going to share with you a powerful life lesson that I was reminded of as a result of the amazing time Ryan and I had. It is always surprising to me that no matter what you are doing, where you are going, or who you are with, you can always learn something about life if you are paying attention.
Ryan got in on Friday, and even though we had a minor issue with my nursing schedule that made picking him up at the airport a little tricky, we eventually got him to my apartment. He was coming off of a business trip in California, and he was pretty beat that evening, so we just ordered some pizza, got him some beer, and watched football while catching up on each other’s lives. After turning in relatively early and getting a good night’s sleep, we got up refreshed and ready Saturday morning for our day of fun. The main reason for Ryan’s visit was to go with me to his first NHL game. The Dallas Stars (my favorite hockey team since I was 5 years old) were playing a preseason game here in Kansas City, and my parents got me tickets for my birthday. I told Ryan if he could get here that I could get him a ticket, and we could go together. Luckily, everything worked out so he could come, because we ended up having an incredible time.
Every once in a great while, you have one of those days where the stars align just right and everything goes better than you could have imagined. These perfect days are exceptionally rare for able-bodied people, but when you throw in all of the things that can go wrong when you add a disability and wheelchair to the equation, they are pretty much impossible. However, somehow Saturday was one of those days for Ryan and I. Everything from the traffic getting to the arena, finding wheelchair friendly parking, and navigating the crowds of pumped up hockey fans went smoothly. Our seats were great, and the stands were fairly full, which made for a great atmosphere. It was an exciting game too. There were several nice goals, some big hits, and a good fight (be honest, it is the best part). Most importantly, Dallas won by two goals. My nurse, Ryan, and I all really enjoyed ourselves. We went home that night with smiles on our faces, so happy that we had gotten to experience this together. Even though taking my little brother to his first professional hockey game (he played for many years) and seeing my favorite team play for the first time would have been more than enough to make this weekend memorable, the universe was being especially generous this weekend and gave me something even more special.
After I had taken Ryan to the airport the next day, as I was on my way home driving on the highway, I realized just how lucky of a guy I am. Sure, I am lucky that everything went well at the game and such, but this was something much bigger than that. I am lucky that I have parents who support me and encourage me to go out and experience the world despite my disability. I am lucky that I have amazing nurses who do whatever I ask of them so that I can live the life I desire and work hard for. I am lucky that I have a relationship with my brother that he wants to come see me for a weekend to celebrate my birthday. I am lucky that my body still allows me to lead a full, happy life despite the fact that it is slowly deteriorating. I am lucky for these, and so many other, reasons, and thanks to days like Saturday, I am now more aware of just how fortunate I am.
I am so glad that I got to spend this weekend with Ryan. Not only because it was a ton of fun and I got some long overdue brother time, but also because it reminded me of just how fortunate I am to have the incredible life I do. From my family to my friends to my body, I am truly lucky that I have been able to make everything in my life work. I am not saying that it is all luck that I have been successful in my endeavors (I worked my ass off too), but if certain aspects of my life had not fallen into place exactly right, no amount of effort would have led to success. It is important to remember and recognize the little gifts life gives you. When was the last time you stopped to think about how lucky you are to have the family/friends/career/life you do? Take a minute to look at your life and appreciate your good fortune. I am guessing that you, like I was, will be pleasantly surprised at just how lucky you are. Because even though Lou Gehrig may be the self-proclaimed “luckiest man on the face of the Earth,” he does not have anything on me.