Today I wish to highlight heroes that play a huge role in my life, but are so many that I can’t write individual posts about each person, or each individual thing they do. Please know that in the general statements I make, I’m trying to honor every one that has been there and is still there. I might do individual ones occasionally, but in the interest of actually sharing about them, here we go. Names are withheld to protect the innocent!
When I was diagnosed with the ALS, a doctor I went to (that I didn’t like that much, actually, but I think that might be a separate post) asked me if my family was local. At the time, I didn’t think much about it but as this year has progressed I’ve realized a ton about what it meant, how much it mattered. These heroes are my family. Wife, kids, parents, siblings, in-laws, cousins, aunts, uncles, the whole deal.
We oftentimes take family for granted – “familiarity breeds contempt” as the saying goes. We just assume they are around, they will be there to help, they will be around any time to chat with us, to do playdates, etc. We fight, we argue (debate), we play silly games,
we say mean things and loving things, we don’t talk for months. We don’t often think about if they aren’t around, or if they have things going on to make them unavailable, until we get to missing them. And we do start missing them, usually right as our kids are growing up and we start thinking about how we used to play together, etc.
So, my family. It’s huge (yuuuuge). And from day 1, they have been more than supportive. I’m going to list some things because I want to highlight what I mean. My one brother-in-law went with me to the doctors office at GW for that 2nd opinion visit, taking time out of his work to just hang with me and be supportive. Another brother-in-law is working on a road trip to Birmingham, Alabama, so we could visit the grave of mother Angelica. Another brother-in-law is there for rides, beer, babysitting, and more. My sisters are there for helping with babysitting, doctor visits, masses in honor of Fr. Al Schwartz (Venerable patron of all with ALS… soon to be announced by the Church, I’m sure of it!), outings away from the kids, and more. Setting up a Go-Fund me? My sister. Meeting my friend Matt Bellina? Another sister. Learning about the Massachusetts trial through his contacts in Israel? Another brother-in-law. Helping me drink Chartreuse and giving me books that help me through tough times? Another sister. Being a constant support from another state even when he doesn’t realize it? Brother. Trips to Morais tasting room in Manassas (the best and only winery I will endorse, thank you)? Family. (Oh, and Morais and friends are on another Heroes post coming soon to a blog near you.) Going to basketball games, trying to organize transportation for us, helping out with all sorts of things? Parents. Hot pepper challenge? That’s in 4 states because my family is amazing, including my nephews and nieces! Being able to go to Lourdes without worrying about the kids? Family! Knowing Mel is taken care of through help from an estate planning friend? My brother and sister-in-law. Allowing Mel to speak her mind through speaking to people that know her? My two sisters-in-law. Being there to help move, hang heavy things, do the things that I can’t do on an everyday basis? Brothers-in-law. Helping me design and reach out to carbon fiber manufacturers? Brother-in-law. Actually putting me in touch with a family member who can build things? Sister-in-law. Random supportive texts from San Francisco? My cousins! Random supportive email from Texas and Virginia? My Aunts!! Buying me a coffee and bringing home dinner (right now)? My lovely wife. I CAN GO ON AND ON!
You see, our family are the first people in any crisis, in any situation. Need a buck? Family is there to ask and help. Have a problem, family are the first ones to help. This is how life is designed, why the family is such an integral role in society, and why society goes bad when the family isn’t respected. Look at a lion pride. Look at a wolf pack. Look at a herd of elephants. A gaggle of geese. While maintaining independence as the individual gets older, the family is the integral part of the community dynamic (maybe not the whole driving the male lion off and/or killing the rival male lion’s offspring… reason separates us from the animals!)
We take this for granted every day! Sometimes we even get annoyed by it, which is something to work on. I get wanting our own time and our own space, which is ok to want, but not at the expense of actually respecting our family. My family has helped me
remember this, by their unselfishness to help, their willingness to be there, and prayers and love they give to me and the family.
The next time you think about your family, then remember all the time they are there for you, even in those awkward teenage years when no one understood you. Remember that you too are part of a family, that you are an integral part of the community dynamic. I don’t thank my family enough for all the good things they do for me, again, things that I take for granted. I love them all and hope that I can repay in some way all their love!
My family is my hero!