Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A "Dad Can Do It" Weekend

     While day-to-day I recognize what an amazing gift my post-transplant health is, sometimes I have an extra clear window into how different and better my life is now than it was when I considered myself "healthy" four or five years ago.

     This past weekend, my son was invited to be in a flag football tournament about an hour away from our home.  The two day affair precluded him from going to hockey on Saturday, but not Sunday.  (We misread the forms and thought we were signing up for a once a weekend group, but, hey, now we get twice as much for our money!)  All told, my son spent four hours playing football and one hour playing hockey over the weekend.  On top of that, my brother-in-law gave us three 50-yard line tickets to the University of Michigan football game-- so my wife, son, and I attended as an entire family for the first time in three seasons. 

     My son was four then, and I remember thinking that I was grateful that the tickets did not require me to walk any stairs, which is only true of a tiny number of seats inside that stadium.  I thought this because it meant that if he wasn't able to behave at the game, it would be very easy to leave, and also because it saved me from the strain and embarrassment of getting winded and coughing when I reached my seat. 

     This past Saturday, I had no concerns about either of these issues.  I had spent the morning walking around an unfamiliar high school football complex, first to find my son's teammates, and later to scout out the nearest bathroom for the parents on the sideline who were concerned about the distance between our field and the main hub of the event.  By comparison, getting to a seat in a football stadium, albeit the largest one in North America, was a breeze.

     Now, all of this is not to say that I'm Superman or something.  (I'm more of a Spidey guy anyway, of course.)  After all the walking, the driving, the hauling of sideline chairs, and the lugging of hockey equipment, I was exhausted on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed a well earned nap.  But so did my wife and son.  Two years ago, I took a daily nap triggered by the exhaustion of just living my daily life, the most demanding aspect of which was folding and putting away laundry.

     The overriding realization that a weekend like the one I just had is this:  I feel so far removed from the man who, two years ago, was on oxygen and got tired just putting on a sweater that I need to take time, like I'm doing now, to record how grateful I am for how far I've come.  It would be easy to let the old me fade into memory and lose appreciation for the restoration my life has undergone.  Instead, just as I did while watching the game with my son, I maintain a laser focus on keeping the 'gratitude train' on its tracks.
After a fantastic weekend, we all wished we could take a nap during the drive home.  Only my son was afforded that pleasure.  Although "pleasure" may be the wrong word based on how uncomfortable he looks.

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