One of my favorite Christmas gifts was a Modern Family desk calendar. Each day I get a 10 second dose of America's favorite family and my person idol, Phil Dunphy and his son, Luke. The other day they threw me a curve ball. Instead of hysterical quotes from previous episodes, they provided me with some enlightenment. I love to laugh but this has been my favorite 'day' thus far. Rather than throwing it away, I have decided to keep it as a reminder of the important things in life.... such as family.
Today I drove to Newark to meet my mom at her work. She is an independent nurse who takes care of 3 autistic teenagers. Although she has been working with these "kids" for the past 4 or 5 years, I have never physically met them. My mom has randomly handed them the phone during a conversation, but to physically see her work environment was an eye opening experience. I don't know if you have ever dealt with anyone who is autistic, but it can be a challenge.
Seeing my mother work and communicate with these kids was amazing. A whole new respect for my mother was created today. She has told me hundreds of stories about her experiences with her kids, but to experience it in person brought a new light to what she does every day. I am sure there are days she wishes she could be doing something else. It isn't an easy career. I don't think I could do it. Actually, I know I couldn't do it.
It is obvious that my mom has created a certain bond with her "kids". Brian, who is least affected by his autism can actually carry conversations and interact with others. He is somewhat smothering. For every story my mom has told me about her "kids", I am sure she has told them more about my brother and I. Brian was anxious to finally put a face to my name. He even went far enough to make a joke (even though he didn't do it intentionally). As I shook his hand and introduced myself, he said, "How old are you?", "you don't look very old.", "did you shave today", "I have more beard than you do.". Brain is 16 by the way. He was so proud to show me his mustache.
Before I could get a word in, he wanted to show me his Transformers collection. When I walked into his bedroom, he had industrial shelves full of Transformer action figures. His room was covered with Transformer memorabilia. For a second I thought I was standing in Shia Labeouf's bedroom. It was crazy. He was telling me about all of them. Their names and what they transform in to. He then grabbed Bumble Bee off the shelf, flopped down on the floor, crossed his legs so he was sitting 'Indian Style' and spent the next few minutes showing me how to transform him from a robot to the car. I don't think I could have figured out how to put that thing together, I was seriously amazed.
Brian made my 40 minute drive back to Columbus seem like 10 minutes. All I could think about was how passionate he was about these Transformers. It made me think about what my true passion was. Although Brian lives with such a challenging disorder, he still has a passion. A passion that brings him happiness and joy on a daily basis. There are so many things I can do that he may never be able to. This doesn't stop him from finding something that makes him truly happy. I really had a hard time determining what my 'Transformers' is. Helping others has always been something I loved. Whether it is writing this blog to inspire the 19 of you who read it or making a joke to make someone laugh.
By the time I hit Reynoldsburg, my thoughts changed from my personal passion's to my mother's. She has always sacrificed her happiness to make sure I was happy. So has my father. My mom started this particular job to help pay for my brother and I to further our education. I know she doesn't want to spend every day in someone else's home. She has her own ambitions. She has her own career goals. She has her own passion. But she has sacrificed those things for my brother and I. A sacrifice I have probably taken for granted for too long.
You can say I am not only my parents baby boy, I am also an investment. The money they have spent on me throughout the years is probably ridiculous. For sports, clothes, medical bills because of those sports, and we can't forget the thousands of dollars paid to Ohio University. Being able to return the favor and show a return on their investment has always been a motivation. To be able to take care of them so they can retire. Then they can try to remember what they were passionate about when they were my age. The same age when they were sacrificing those dreams to raise my brother and I.
I guess Clair Dunphy says it best...