We are to that time of year where everyone becomes nostalgic and recognizes what they are thankful for. Usually, I’m not one to partake because I post so much about my family and the opportunities that I’ve been given that it seems largely superfluous and redundant (I’m thankful for my vocabulary as well).
However, reaching the age of forty and developing chronic illness has a tendency to make you a bit more reflective. As I’ve mentioned in another blog post (Health and the singer) I suffer from a rare kidney disease. Even worse, I meet none of the risk factors which makes it even more rare and, consequently, harder to treat because in my case they cannot treat the underlying cause without knowing what it is. So if there was ever a time to accurately call someone a special snowflake, I would be your guy!
First and foremost, these guys right here. This picture is a bit old, but is still one of my favorites of my kiddos and I. Not pictured are my wife Jennifer, and the mother of the older two monsters, Maggie. I’ll get to them in a second. These guys, however, are the best. Braeden is the oldest. He’s currently 13, reads at a college freshman level, does math at a junior in high school level, and is going to study in Spain this summer. Logan is 11, plays the trombone, is ahead of his class in virtually all subjects, and is the most curious and considerate child I’ve ever met. Then there’s Joel. The little one there just turned 18 months, speaks through sign language, some plain english, and has started reading and writing. No joke. He’s obviously not Shakespeare, but he recognizes written words and can write some letters. He’s adorable, and I even enjoy the mornings (read: all of them) when he wakes me up at 5:30 in the morning to eat yogurt (guht), cereal (real), and watch Little Einsteins (on Netflix. He calls it dun dun because the Netflix splash screen has a big DUN DUN before you log in).
Then my wife. Where the heck would I be without her? Scratch that, I know where I’d be: still waiting tables or managing a restaurant. She’s brilliant, she’s going to be a nurse, she’s tutoring the tough classes to get into the nursing program, and she puts up with me. She’s gorgeous, too. Such a good mom. And she puts up with me. I feel that deserves multiple mentions because, well, yeah. That’s a lot to put up with. It takes a special woman to put up with a guy who sings in foreign languages all the time.
Then there’s Maggie. Maggie and I dated for years and had two kids. It didn’t work out for us, as it doesn’t for many parents. However, we made a conscious (and verbal) decision to “be adults.” Yes, those were the words. We haven’t always made the best decisions, but we have done the best we could throughout the years. Our kids are awesome, so we are doing something right. More importantly, her and Jennifer are like best friends. Seriously. They hang out together without me. Which is fine (and sometimes scary), but its amazing. Maggie will once again be headed over here on Thanksgiving to cook with me (yes, I cook). And then we will do dinner with the six of us, plus all three of our families.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the University of Michigan. It seems odd to put them here, but the faculty at the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance has been nothing short of amazing in helping me cope with my illness. They’ve been so supportive, and have not given me any grief about the amount of class that I’ve been forced to miss (especially last year when this first came on and I was in rough shape). I can’t speak for the faculty at any other University, but I do know that if they had reacted much differently I may not have been able to continue pursuing this silly dream of mine. Plus, the doctors who are handling my case are at the University of Michigan Health System. Maize and Blue will always be a part of me, and I love these guys.
There’s plenty more that I could list, but I have a date with my older two kids and a Justice League.
Keep singing, friends.