Monday, December 3, 2012

A Month For Thanks

I'm a huge sports fan, and I listen to a lot of Sports Talk Radio.  Quite often a discussion gets going about "what is the best sports month of the year?" Is it February because of the Superbowl, or is it March because of March Madness, October with college football, the NFL season in full swing and the World Series; or is it another month? While this is a fascinating topic, that isn't what I want to discuss here.  However, the month of the year is the reason for this posting.

The month of November is probably the most significant for me personally.  Why? Well, first and foremost is because I was born in the month of November and so were several members of my family (including my older sister, a cousin, aunt and a couple of close friends).  Secondly, because the month of November seems to have taken on a military appreciation feel.  We all recognize November 11 as a day to remember those brave men and women who have served, currently serve and who will serve this great country of ours.  They have sacrificed themselves in order to provide for us the many freedoms we all take for granted.

For my family, November 10 is also an important date on the calendar due to it being the birthday of the United States Marine Corps.  My Dad served as a Marine for six years and in the Corps he learned many values: honor, courage, commitment, and many others that would serve him and my Mom well as they dealt with raising a family and in particular dealing with the challenges of having a kid with cancer which would result in my going blind.  As an odd little coincidence, November also happens to be Retinoblastoma Awareness Month (the same childhood cancer that I had) and Retinoblastoma's Awareness color just so happens to be green (my favorite color).

My Dad raised his four children (three girls and me) strictly on those values that he learned in the Marines.  We learned the values of hard work, humility, honor, courage and so many more.  These values have kept me on a path that will hopefully lead to a successful life.  I also plan to eventually instill these same beliefs in my kids whenever that time may come.

Finally, November plays host to my favorite holiday on the calendar, Thanksgiving.  Okay, yes some of the reasons why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday is due to the fact that I love to stuff myself with turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing, and pumpkin and apple pie...but it is also a day of the year where we as a nation get to sit down and recognize all that we have and be thankful for it.  For me personally, I have so much to be thankful for.  I have had a very blessed and privileged life.  Overcoming cancer and excelling as a blind person, I have had the opportunity to travel and experience places and partake in activities that most people can only dream of.  However, I would never have been able to do all that I have done (and do what I hope to do in the future) without the love, support, and encouragement of my family, friends, teachers and mentors.

So in short, in this month of Thanksgiving let's remember to stop and be thankful for all we have.  Not just material things, but our peace of mind, the values that make us into the greatest nation on earth and especially the people with whom we choose to share our lives.

Thank you to our Veterans and current Service men and women for the sacrifices you and your families have made and make on a daily basis.  Thank you to my Mom and Dad for raising me to have the values that shape who I am today and shape me for the days ahead.  Thanks to my sisters and friends for never going easy on me and for always being there when I need you.  Thank you to the countless teachers and mentors who saw something in me and went the extra mile to make sure I could be successful.  Thank you to the Seeing Eye for providing me with a wonderful guide dog, companion and set of eyes.  And a special thanks to my wonderful girlfriend, Kailee, who keeps me sane and very happy as we forge on through life together.  I really don't know how she puts up with me on a daily basis.

We have so much to be thankful for, not just on Thanksgiving Day, not just in the month of November, but every day of the year.

Climb High!


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