October 2, 2018

Thirty nine and feeling fine

Heidi made me a birthday crown! 
Thanks to a part of the extended family who uses a highlights / lowlights format to review each year on their birthday, and my exposure to that format many, many times, I’m now in the habit of compartmentalizing my year into these two categories. One always starts with the lowlights so that you can end off your annual review with the highlights.

In that spirit, let’s begin, shall we?

To be honest, there aren’t that many major lowlights to talk about. I feel, generally, that I get to lead a charmed life and I’ve very little to complain about. 

One disappointment from the past year relates to canoe-kayak, and the removal of upper limb impairment from the para classifications. It boggles my mind—along with the minds of anyone to whom I explain—that paddlers who cannot hold a paddle without some sort of apparatus or prosthetic… cannot paddle as para athletes. 

So, the racing season was low-key; I didn’t train much on the water and watched from afar as lots of other para paddlers had great racing opportunities. Argh. But, I won’t spend all my time waiting for that second chance. I AM trying to keep discussions going that might, somewhere down the road, see the reintroduction of the classification but I’m not spending too much mental energy on it on a daily basis!

Aside from that, I feel as though the lowlight things that happened in the last 12 months were about other people: The C word continues to strike people close to us. Friends and family, young and more elderly, have had to face the realities of living with, and fighting against, cancer. Without so much as blinking, I can name people ages seven through 70 that are fighting a good fight right now. Pray for them, please!

Edyn’s passing was another lowlight of this year. If you read my blog from earlier this year, you know how I felt about that. I still think of her most days, and I hope she’s resting in comfort.

So that’s my list of lowlights.  

I turn now to the highlights. Let’s start with the job.

It’s awesome. Working at Make-A-Wish has been so rewarding. I get to use the skills in my basket, and do so in a place that I feel is doing some good for this world. Donate here, and know that your money is being spent wisely for a good cause (that’s not a solicitation for donations, by the way. Or IS it?! :P)

Next, the kids. There are moments of frustration and sheer annoyance in any parent’s life, but pound for pound, nothing outweighs the joy I feel in just watching these kids ‘be’. They are rapidly gaining their independence, they have favourite school subjects, friends, activities, and they have great personalities. Whether Heidi is skipping along a sidewalk, traversing monkey bars, skiing, playing basketball or riding a scooter, the happiness I see in her when she is in a state of movement and freedom is really special to witness. Much the same with Sacha. The name of his game is soccer, and he loves to play! He’s on a great team this Fall with a bunch of kids who seem well matched in their abilities, and they seem like a group of engaged, interesting people unto themselves. It’s fun to watch Sacha operate in this peer group.
As a family, one of the highlights of the year was definitely a summer vacation trip to England. (PS I’m about to release a whole series of videos about the trip, so troll on over to my YouTube Channel to catch some highlights of those adventures!). We had two weeks to explore! It was the kid’s first time to the UK. It was nice to know they are old enough now that they will remember this trip really well (money well spent!). We had good times connecting with family and friends over there, as well as exploring on our own, too. Sacha, in particular, is enamoured of airplanes these days, so a nine-hour trans-Atlantic flight suited him just fine (aboard a Dreamliner, no less, a first for all of us!).

As always, watching anything my wife does is a highlight. The way she carries herself in this world is a model for all humankind. An intelligence and thoughtfulness that extends through parenting, career and family life make me feel very blessed to be married to her. I’m a lucky guy : )  

On that note, I’ll end it here. As my thirties start to fade into the sunset, I feel as though life is at its best. There will be no 40th/mid-life crisis here, folks. I’m where I should be, and I love my life. Here’s to more of that : )