To the tall scrawny boy whose hair looks like Justin Bieber’s— thank you. Thank you for never taking it easy on me. When we compete–you never take your foot off the pedal. You skunk me every time we play h-o-r-s-e. You would always turn our knee hockey games into wrestling matches. We never had a “first to 11…” that would decide when our games of street hockey would end. Instead we would play until a tooth was lost or a band-aid and/or stitches were needed. And honestly–I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve just been tossed into the real world and after all of those years, what you’ve taught me I’ve experienced first hand so far in the real world–that no one will take it easy on you. No one anymore pities how “cute” or “adorable” you are. Instead they look at your disability and assume you can’t do a lot of things. Having a childhood that didn’t include a lot of competition, you brought the best out of me daily by bringing the best out of you in every contest we’ve ever had against each other. You’ve taught me that sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn. You’ve taught me to be brave; to take risks, because nothing can substitute experience. I don’t want easy. I don’t ever want something to be handed to me on a silver platter and because of you I’ve found the work ethic needed to create my own success. Thank you.
To the small dirty blonde who cut my hair–your kindness cuts me deep. When I was younger and would get myself in a little bit of trouble my parents would send me to the corner. This corner is dark, lonely and secluded from everyone and everything else going on in the room–and in the world. It was something I never was used to at a young age but as I grew older and classmates my age grew taller I sort of put myself back in that corner not because of comfort but to avoid discomfort. Those 20 minutes with you, cutting my hair–made me feel at ease. I try to copy your style, because you have a lot of it. Not only do you have style, but you have this confidence that I want to mimic too. You might not know this yet: but you’re pretty contagious. When you smile, I smile. Every good unexpected deed you’ve done for me, I’ve made sure to do something nice and unexpected for someone else. You’ve taught me how to rock a smile in every occasion, under every circumstance. I now turn my face to the sun and let the shadows fall behind me. Thank you.
To the man who fertilizes my lawn–you’ve provided me with the right nutrients to grow. You work long hours, 5 times a week, sometimes even out in the rain. You deal with a variety of customers who under appreciate what you do. It takes incredible patience and strength to deal with the machinery. What you do doesn’t look easy–yet you’ve never once complained. You do your job and you do your job well. You’re a silent leader who leads through actions rather than words. You’ve shown me that you can get everything in life that you want if you are willing to help just enough other people get what they want. You’ve been my extra set of arms, when I can’t reach things. You were my extra set of legs when I noticed you in the stands watching me run around the soccer field. You’ve been my life-preserver when I was first learning how to swim. You’ve been my protein when uneducated children pick on me. You’ve been the bar that is set high, that I always tried to reach academically. Because of all of this I have grown–not in inches but in maturity and wisdom. You will never entirely know how much I envy you. I’ve written about you before. I’ve bragged about you a ton. I’ve actually vicariously lived through you many a times, usually in a cold rink somewhere. Continue to silently climb the ladder of success, I’ll try my best to keep up.
To the woman who provides sunshine on a rainy day–thank you for always being my umbrella. People love raining on my parade. I tend to rain on my own parades by admitting to reality and the social norm. I know it’s hard to see my future right now, but it will be a bright one–because of you. You’ve taught me to stay close to anything that makes me glad I’m alive. Maybe that’s why I haven’t left the nest yet? You’ve taught me that if somebody chooses me, that I should stand up with pride and show them appreciation for believing in me. You have this sort of special power of changing variables–variables that most people believe are unchangeable therefore never attempt. I’ve watched you and you don’t just do these things for me, but for everyone. That’s just who you are. You impact and effect everyone you come across. You silence critics because all you do is positives and that all starts with your attitude. You appreciate what you have and never dwell on the things that you don’t have. You are so positive that you believe in everyone, even the weak. We need more people like you in this world. I plan on staying close to you. How does forever sound? I hope that’s okay with you.
To the man who leaves an impression on every kid he has ever coached–you impress me. I don’t even know where to start with you. When I think of you a couple of words pop into my head: rock, backbone, mentor and critic. I’m no mathematician but if you were to add all of those words together that would equal you. You have never wanted things to be easy for me, you want crazy. You’ve taught me to never play it safe, that my strategy has to be aggressive. Approach others and impress them first and then the rest will become easier. I believe in myself and all that I am because I can remember multiple times in my past when you were the only one who ever believed in me. You’ve altered my vision. You’ve taught me that what I look at and what I see are two different things. Once I find that difference I can then become the difference. You’ve never treated me any differently. You’ve never put me on a pedestal. You’ve never given me an EZ pass. You’ve never favorited me, but then again you’ve NEVER ignored me. Because of that, I’ve found me, and I can’t thank you enough.
The tall scrawny boy whose hair looks like Justin Bieber’s is my brother Mitchel. The small dirty blonde who cut my hair is my sister Michaeli. The man who fertilizes my lawn is my brother Mackenzie. The woman who provides sunshine on a rainy day is my mother Sue. The man who leaves an impression on every kid he has ever coached is my father Marty. I’m a 6 piece puzzle. 5 of the pieces are made up of my family members. They are the ones who are responsible for making me the man I am today. I’m still missing that one piece though. I hope to find it soon. I don’t know if it’s going to be another person, passion or a career. I’m looking with an open-mind and a heavy heart though.
You are a piece of the puzzle to someone else’s life. You may never know where you fit but others will fill the holes in their lives with pieces of you.