Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes, another opens.” This is a rather optimistic viewpoint. I am sure it helped drive this great inventor to keep experimenting, despite repeated failures. Without this drive Bell might have just given up and abandoned his invention of the telephone.
We have our own little experimenter in the Bradshaw house. His viewpoint is just as optimistic, however, I think he operates under the assumption that when one door closes, another closes. You might be asking what I mean by this.
Baby Boy has learned to open and close doors. However, I think he prefers a closed door to an open one. To him he feels a sense of accomplishment when he is able to close a door. I can appreciate this because it means he is learning how things work. If he can’t figure it out he will keep trying until he does.
This sense of exploration reminds me that a closed door is sometimes very useful, as it can spur us to try new ways of doing things. I learn something new every day from this little boy that God has entrusted to us. A closed door is not always a bad thing. It can teach us to keep going despite obstacles.
The following is an article written by a guest contributor. His name is Ed Carter, a retired financial planner, who has his own site full of great information. Be sure to check out his website for more financial tips (ablefutures.org).
If you’ve ever been in a situation where money was tight, you know how it feels to try and make ends meet. This is a tough situation to be in, and one of the biggest issues with just getting by is that you can’t account for expenses that you’ll have later in life. Hopefully you’re in a better place than just getting by, but no matter what your current financial picture looks like, everyone can take steps to prepare their finances for the future.
Revisit Budgeting Basics
When you’re living with a disability, trying to make sense of benefits, healthcare, and accessibility needs can make your financial life complicated. We know how confusing it can be, but regardless of your age or stage in life, it’s always smart to revisit the fundamentals of setting a personal budget.
The main purpose of having a budget is to track your money and ensure you’re spending and saving wisely. Beyond that, everyone has their own personal reasons for setting a budget, and as Greenpath explains, whatever drives you will benefit you in the long run. You may want to set short-term goals, but it’s good to keep your primary focus on the long-term, especially when it comes to major expenses that could come up later in life, such as long-term care.
While looking over your budget, it may be a good idea to determine whether it’s a good idea to refinance your mortgage. This can help free up some cash for any emergencies or expenses you may have.
When you’re considering these long-term needs, you’ll want to think about protecting your loved ones as well. If you have anyone who depends on you financially, you may have already gotten life insurance. However, in determining whether or not they need life insurance, too many people fail to consider the burden of final expenses.
Getting final expense insurance is an easy way to relieve that burden by making sure your family could cover the costs of your funeral, medical bills, and even other debts. Like with any other type of insurance, the amount of coverage you should buy is determined by the expenses it needs to cover, so you should think about factors like the type of final arrangements you want and other expenses you foresee leaving behind.
Create a Smart Savings Plan
A large part of your budget is determined by income and expenses, but when your goal is to be prepared for the future, any surplus should go into a savings account. Even if you’re just getting started, U.S. News explains how easy it is to build savings by automatically diverting a portion of each paycheck into your savings account. We also love this simple tip from America Saves: create a savings plan! While this may sound overly simple, they report that those who have a plan are twice as successful at actually saving than those who desire to save but don’t have a plan.
Another crucial piece of advice for anyone who has a disability is to take advantage of ABLE savings accounts. Getting an ABLE account allows you to set aside tax-deferred savings without losing access to government benefits. ABLE savings also allow you to maintain autonomy over your own account, which makes it an excellent tool for taking charge of your financial future.
Seek Out the Best Resources
The other important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it all on your own. An easy solution is to get the help of a financial planner, but the web is full of helpful resources too. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor has tips for making the transition from receiving disability benefits to employment.
There may be times in life when we find ourselves just getting by, but you have so much to gain by being proactive with your finances. Don’t wait to set a budget, build your savings, and take advantage of all opportunities. Your future self will thank you for putting in the effort today!
When I started writing this blog back in January of 2019, I wasn’t sure where it would lead. At first my goal was to focus on issues related to my disability. However, my life really isn’t defined by having spina bifida. Therefore, this blog has expanded to be a place where I can share my thoughts on current events, give insights on what living life with a disability is like, and just share humorus observations of the world around me. I hope you have enjoyed following me on this journey.
This particular post will be the 100th post that I have written. I thought in keeping with that, I’d create a list of 100 lessons that I have learned, observations that I’ve made, or opinions that I have formed. Every day there are new lessons to be learned and new experiences to be had. These are just a few of the things I have picked up along the way. Let me know if I have missed anything. Here is my list in no particular order.
100. Never take a hansom cab ride in New York City.
99. Never be afraid to try something new (except for that hansom cab ride in New York City).
98. Holding a grudge against anyone is pointless.
97. God will indeed give you more than you can handle at times.
96. Don’t ever give up. Things will get better. It might just take time.
95. Life is unfair.
94. Anxiety can make you feel like you need to do everything all at once. You actually don’t need to do this. Just slow down and take things one step at a time.
93. The smell of the air just before it rains is one of the best scents.
92. The smell of a baby’s head just after they have had a bath is THE best scent there is.
91. The love that a dog has for its master is one of the purest forms of love there is.
90. Losing someone that you love is one of the most painful things you can ever experience.
89. Working hard to achieve a goal is one of the greatest feelings that you will have.
88. Sitting outside in the winter in a place where there is very little, if any, light pollution and looking up at the stars on a clear night is something everyone should try at least once.
87. Going on a road trip with someone you love is a lot of fun.
86. Dorothy was right, “there is no place like home.“
85. Take time to pray every day.
84. Dirt tastes like dirt (yes, I have tried dirt before).
83. Beets taste like dirt.
82. Walnuts taste like dirt.
81. The taste of soap is not pleasant. (Yes, I have had my mouth washed out with soap. It was at church no less).
80. Cilantro tastes like soap.
79. Eating a bag of peanuts on a warm, summer day at baseball game is one if the most relaxing experiences there is.
78. Take time to listen to the stories that your grandparents tell. I am fortunate that I did. I will treasure these memories for as long as I live.
77. Learn about the things that have happened in the past. You can learn a lot from history.
76. You can never read enough books.
75. Learning to adapt to change is difficult, but it is well worth the effort.
74. Being a homeowner is both a blessing and a curse.
73. It pays to do things correctly the first time.
72. I’d rather have more time to do the things that I want to do in life than to make more money. Time is far more valuable than money.
71. There are still very kind people in the world. Many of them live in the U.K.
70. Listen to your parents. They know more than you do.
69. Do at least one thing you enjoy doing every day.
68. Never pray for patience. God just might answer your prayers in ways you don’t expect.
67. When working with others it is often best to let them speak first. You just might gain some new perspective.
66. Donuts are little bites of heaven.
65. Mashed potatoes are the best food ever!
64. Chick-fil-A is overrated.
63. Fountain Coke at McDonald’s is the best.
62. Hot McDonald’s french fries are the best.
61. The Blues Brothers is one of the best films ever made.
60. Somedays you just have to listen to the Beatles.
59. You will never get everyone to like you.
58. Pancakes made at home are better than you can get in any restaurant.
57. NASCAR is not a sport.
56. Everyone should make a trip to the ocean at least once.
55. Everyone should travel overseas. You will gain a new perspective on life.
54. There is nothing like a good night’s sleep.
53. Spending time in the mountains is one of the most peaceful things you can do.
52. Disney World is overrated.
51. Bacon tastes best when crispy.
50. Cats can indeed be needy (I live with two who are very needy).
49. Sunny days are the best kind of days.
48. Never have your eyes dilated on a sunny day.
47. You can’t properly eat Oreo cookies without a glass of milk.
46. Getting an unexpected package in the mail is better than gifts on Christmas Day.
45. No one has ever sang the National Anthem better than Whitney Houston.
44. No one’s instrumental version of the National Anthem has been better than Jimi Hendrix’s rendition from the Woodstock Festival in 1969.
43. September is the best month when it comes to weather, at least here in Illinois.
42. Rollercoasters are not fun!
41. There is no ceremony quite as somber as the “changing of the guard” at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
40. Ken Burns knows how to make a documentary film better than anyone else. If baseball doesn’t start soon I might have to dive into his 23-hour epic on the sport.
39. Don’t ever try smoking.
38. Tell the people you love how you feel while you still can.
37. Sometimes you just need to eat a big, greasy, cheeseburger.
36. It is never too cold to eat ice cream.
35. Read to your kids when they are young.
34. Walter Payton is the best football player I ever saw play the game.
33. Hot dogs should never be eaten with ketchup.
32. Thanksgiving is the best holiday.
31. Christmas becomes less fun the older you get. However, I suspect this changes once you start having your own children.
30. One of the best sounds you can hear is a baby’s laugh.
29. Many of the best things in life are free.
28. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
27. A soft answer often turns away wrath.
26. Sometimes it best just to remain silent.
25. Autumn is the best season.
24. Always apologize when you are wrong.
23. Michael Jordan was the best basketball player I have ever seen play the game.
22. Don’t argue about politics on social media.
21. Forgive others when they wrong you.
20. Don’t pour gasoline on a fire.
19. Voting for the lesser of the two evils still brings you evil.
18. Finish your work first then you can enjoy your play all the more.
17. You often get what you give.
16. Cynicism isn’t always a bad thing.
15. Always finish what you start.
14. Let your yes be yes and let your no be no.
13. Family is important.
12. Steak is best when cooked medium. Anything else and you cook the flavor out of it.
11. Help others when and where you can.
10. As long as you are alive there is always hope.
09. Nothing quenches your thirst better than water.
08. Admit your mistakes and learn from them.
07. Always tell the truth.
06. Don’t expect others to respect you if you don’t show respect yourself.
05. Every thing should be done in moderation.
04. Always say “please” and “thank you.”
03. You get what you pay for.
02. Fear can be a good motivator.
01. The love of a good woman is a very special thing.
A common problem for those who were born with spina bifida is infertility. This is an issue that can cause a lot of frustration and heartache. Amanda and I have undergone various tests and procedures in order to try and conceive a baby. However, nothing that we have tried has proven successful. Therefore, after much thought and prayer we have decided to take on the challenge of becoming foster parents. We hope that this will lead to adoption in the future.
We have taken classes in order to become licensed foster parents in the State of Illinois. I can say that these classes have not been very fun, as a lot of the material is fairly dry. Also, a lot of it is common sense, as Amanda and I were both raised in homes where good parenting was modeled. Despite this I think it has been a good experience, for it has given us insight into various things. For instance, we have been exposed to the types of issues children who are placed into foster care have when they come into a new home.
Having worked as a high school guidance counselor for several years, I am aware of the problems that children can have at home. I have spoken to students whose parents are alcoholics or drug addicts. I have also seen kids who have been abused or neglected. Seeing these things firsthand has made me a little apprehensive at times in taking on the challenge of fostering a child. However, I am also excited about the experiences that are in store for Amanda and I.
Do I think it will be easy? No, in fact, I am sure there will be days where I will feel like throwing my hands up in frustration. Will I ride away on my bike to get away from the situation as my mom once did when my brothers and I were fighting? That is a distinct possibility, but I’ll always come back, as I am not a quitter. Oh, and by the way, if you know my mom, you should ask her about the bicycle story. It is one of my favorite memories to look back on and remind her of on occasion.
Anyway, I am sure once we are through the licensing process things will start to move fairly quickly. However, I know that with God’s help we can make it through the challenges that we will face. I am just hoping our cats don’t go into hiding on a permanent basis.
It has been far too long since I have posted anything here. However, that is about to change. October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month. Throughout October I plan to post various pieces of information about spina bifida. I will give you facts about this birth defect. I will also provide some of my own experiences that relate in some way to these facts. To that end, today I will provide you with one of the most challenging aspects of living life with spina bifida.
Many people with spina bifida have limited bladder and bowel control. This can present challenges not only for those of us who work full time, but also for those who enjoy being active socially. Perhaps, one of the best illustrations of how challenging all of this can be is a story that I haven’t shared with too many people. I hope it is one that does not offend. However, one of my goals with this blog is to be as genuine as possible.
Amanda and I had been seeing each for several months when we were out one night on a date. We had decided to go and get some pizza. After that we had plans to go to a movie. The pizza place we chose was one that neither of us had ever tried. That perhaps was the first mistake of the evening, as the pizza was very greasy and not very appetizing. Despite this we were just enjoying being together. We finished our pizza and then decided we’d go grab some snacks that we could sneak into the movie. As we were at the convenience store picking out our treats, my stomach began to rumble. If you have ever seen the movie Dumb and Dumber, just picture the scene when the character Harry unknowingly ingests a laxative and then experiences a serious bout of gastric distress.
My stomach was making all sorts of noises and I knew it was time to get to a restroom. However, I decided that I could wait until we got to the theater before I took a pit stop. This was not very wise, as I did not quite make it to the restroom before the floodgates opened. While I had made a beeline to the restroom, Amanda had picked up our movie tickets and had headed into the theater.
So, there I was in the restroom, trapped! This was one of the most sinking feelings in the world. How was I going to get myself put back together after having messed my pants? I had no spare outfit with me. Maybe I could just spend the rest of my days in the stall of that men’s restroom. I certainly couldn’t face Amanda. However, I plucked up my courage and sent her a text letting her know what had happened. She then proceeded to get a refund for our tickets, while I sheepishly made my way back to the car. Fortunately, we were not too far from a clothing store where I was able to replace my soiled clothing and once again make myself presentable to the world.
It was this night that I knew Amanda was the one for me. She acted like it was no big deal, although I am sure she must have been mortified. It was a freeing feeling knowing that despite all of this she still wanted to get to know me better. She had many chances to make her escape while we were still dating, but she has always stuck with me. We just celebrated 7 years of marriage in August. I am very fortunate to have met someone who still loves me despite the difficulties that spina bifida can present.
These challenges often make me feel less than manly. It is frustrating to know that I always have to be on guard, as my body works differently in so many ways. Fortunately, Amanda and I can both see the humor in events such as the one described above. If you can’t laugh in these times, life would be very bleak. There are always ups and downs. I am just glad to have someone with whom to ride the roller coaster.
My dad died on September 2, 1989. It has been almost thirty years since that dreadful
morning. My brothers and I were up past
midnight when the phone rang. It was my
mother calling to tell us that our dad had passed away. She was with my dad while he took his dying
breath. My two brothers and I got into
my dad’s pickup truck and drove to the nursing home where my dad had spent the
last few weeks of his life. My brother
Shannon refused to enter the room where my dad’s body lay, however, my brother
Cory and I went in and saw him for the last time. It is something that I regret doing, as I will
never be able to erase the image of my dad’s lifeless body from my mind.
That morning is one that will stick with me as long as I
live. I can remember how it felt outside
that morning. I remember the smells in
the nursing home, and I can remember the feelings of fear and uncertainty as we
returned home. What would life be like
for all of us now? What would it be like
to live the rest of my life without a father?
The months that preceded my father’s death were just as
frightening. At that time I wished I
could just fast forward through it all and be an adult. Here I am almost 30 years later. I am now an adult. I still have dreams on occasion that my dad
is still alive. I then wake up and am
angry that he is not here.
I feel as if my brothers and I were cheated. We had to grow up without a dad who could
show us how to be men. My mother was
cheated out of being able to grow old with the person that was the love of her
life. However, my dad was a man that took
care of things before he died. He was always a man who was financially
responsible. Therefore, he left my mom
without debt that she would have to carry while she tried to pick up the pieces
for all of us.
Being only 12 years old when my dad died, I never really got
the chance to get to know him properly.
I do have good memories of him though.
There were times he would get home late from work on a Friday and we’d order
pizza, although I was usually too tired to stay awake. I also remember my dad being a hard worker. He was a skilled welder and he provided well
for my family and I.
He also had a great sense of humor. There were many Saturday nights spent around
the dinner table while he told us stories of his life growing up, or about his days
in the navy. My dad was an honorable man. He treated others with respect, and he was
always willing to help a friend. When he
died there were hundreds of people that came to pay their respects. Many of them recalled that he was a man of
integrity. My dad was not perfect, but
he was an honest man, who worked hard to make a better life for his wife and
This coming March I will be the same age my dad was when he died. It is hard to imagine dying at such an early age. I still feel rather young. I have so much more living to do. Why my dad couldn’t stay with us longer, I don’t know. However, I can say that he was a man that I respect and that I will one day see again. That brings comfort on days like this when we celebrate fathers. My dad is in a place where there is no sorrow and where there is no pain.
“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it” – George Santayana
Travelling is one of my favorite things to do. It is always enjoyable to go to unfamiliar
places and experience new things. A few
weeks ago Amanda and I flew to visit Washington D.C. This is a city that we had been to before. However, because I love history so much, it
is a city that I could visit time and time again. The city is full of memorials to past
presidents, fallen soldiers, and those who have helped lay the foundations of the
United States. It is also a place where
one can see the buildings where the gears of our republic spin.
The last time Amanda and I travelled to Washington D.C. we
only had about a day and a half to try and squeeze as much sightseeing in as
possible. However, on our latest trip we
had four days to explore the city, which was still not enough time, but it was
a memorable time nonetheless.
We got to visit some of my favorite sights in the city, such
as the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial. These are two places where one can feel both
pride and sadness. The Lincoln Memorial
to me is such an awe-inspiring sight. The
statue of Abraham Lincoln, who was perhaps our greatest president, is such a beautiful
sculpture. It is a peaceful place where
people are quite reverential as they pass through the great marble hall where the
immense statue of Lincoln sits.
This is a place where one can take in just how perfectly laid out the city is in relation to how the buildings and monuments are situated. Looking out from where Lincoln sits, one can see the Washington Monument, which is reflected in the pool that sits in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Lined up perfectly with the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, is the U.S. Capitol building.
Just a short distance from the Lincoln Memorial is a site that brings me great sadness when I see it. That is the Vietnam Memorial. This is a giant wall sculpted out of highly polished, black granite, on which all of those who lost their lives during the war are inscribed. This is a stark reminder of how senseless war can be. The names of more than 58,000 men and women are inscribed upon this slab of granite. They will never be forgotten. Being at this site on Memorial Day was a very poignant experience, as we got to see some of the men and women who did make it back home. They were there to honor their friends who were not so fortunate. I respect the sacrifices that all of these people made to serve a country which often did not welcome them back home with open arms.
Amanda and I were also able to visit the World War II
Memorial. This is a beautiful place, where
one can’t help but reflect on all the people who fought to liberate Europe and
other parts of the world from the evils of the Third Reich. I am glad that we were able to be there to
see these sites on Memorial Day, a day which Americans honor those who have died
for the cause of freedom.
I think one of the places that everyone should visit while in Washington D.C. is the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. One must visit this place to keep the memory alive of those who died under the evil oppression of Adolf Hitler. I am dumbfounded that there are still people who deny that these events ever took place. Hitler and the Nazis were proud of what they were trying to accomplish and therefore were pleased to document the atrocities which they were committing. There is no denying theses facts. Over six million Jews were killed because they were thought sub-human.
Being a person who is disabled, it also infuriates me to know that I would have been included among those whom Hitler thought of being “less than human.” This was a shameful time in history, where many lives could have been spared, if the world would have not turned a blind eye to the suffering of those in Europe. This includes the United States, who denied entry to thousands of Jews simply because we didn’t want to deal with an influx of refugees who needed a safe place to live. It is shameful to know that genocide is still taking place in different parts of the world. I strongly believe that every human was created in the image of God. Therefore, we should treat each other with love and respect.
As often happens when I am in a city in which I am unfamiliar,
there are those who do live up to the standard of treating others with love and
respect. I had many people willing to
help me as I wheeled my way throughout the city. For instance, as I was rolling along, making
my way to the Lincoln Memorial, I was asked if I needed help getting up a
rather steep incline by a woman who I assume was just resident of Washington
D.C. This woman appeared to be out for a
jog, but she took some time away from her run to push me up a hill and into the
area where I was able to catch the elevator up to see the statue of Abraham Lincoln. I don’t know this woman’s name, but she showed
me compassion, to which I was very thankful.
Washington D.C. is a very accessible city to those with disabilities. Every metro stop had an elevator down to the subway. Likewise, every train was even with the platform, which made rolling into the train car very easy from my wheelchair. Moreover, most, if not all of the monuments and museums have ramps or elevators, which make access very easy. Finally, the city busses, which are free for everyone to ride, all have ramps which allow easy access for wheelchair users.
One final event that made this trip so memorable was being able to visit Arlington National Cemetery, where many fallen soldiers are buried. Arlington is also home to the gravesites of John F. Kennedy, along with his brother Robert F. Kennedy. However, the most moving part of this cemetery is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Amanda and I were fortunate to visit the cemetery on Memorial Day where the Vice President of the United States, along with other dignitaries spoke, honoring those who have died fighting for the United States around the world.
“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” – Jane Howard
I always wanted to marry an orphan. Little did I know, so did my wife. We both had the same motive for wanting to marry an orphan. Neither one of us wanted to be obligated to spend holidays with another family. Amanda and I have been married for nearly seven years and I think there are times when we both still wish we had married an orphan.
My wife grew up in St. Louis, which is approximately 250
miles from where we now live. Therefore,
when we travel down to St. Louis, we are in the car for at least 4 hours each
way. Throughout most of the trip the
only thing you see are corn fields, and the occasional truck stop.
Going to family functions in St. Louis is quite different than the ones to which I am accustomed. Each of Amanda’s parents are one of eight children. Therefore, there are dozens of aunts, uncles, and cousins. I love my in-laws very much. They are both very giving people. In the dictionary next to “hospitality” are pictures of Amanda’s parents, Dan and Judith. At each major holiday they invite everyone over. There are usually 40-50 people at every gathering.
I believe the first holiday that I spent with Amanda’s family was Easter. I was shell-shocked to be with so many people under one roof. This is because while I was growing up my family gatherings were much smaller. However, I have grown used to these large gatherings. I enjoy playing games, eating, and just spending time with everyone. However, for an introvert like me, these events do sap my energy.
Amanda’s first introduction to my family was at my 34th
birthday party. I think for her, it was
hard to adjust to being with such a small group, where more attention was
focused on her. She was no longer able
to blend into the woodwork.
This Easter we will be spending time in St. Louis. I just wish one of us had our pilot’s license
so that we could fly down. It would
enable us to visit more often. Amanda
gave up a lot when she moved to the barren wasteland that is Northwest
Illinois. I know that she misses seeing
her family. However, I am glad that we
met, because she is the perfect woman for me.
She is a kind and loving woman.
I am glad that we both were willing to expand our horizons. We both come from great families. It has been fun getting to know Amanda’s clan. Amanda’s dad is a great storyteller, and her mom makes some of the best cookies I have ever tasted. I am thankful that I did not marry an orphan because I would have missed out on the love Amanda has shown me. I too would have missed out on becoming part of a great family.
“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I think it is safe to say that most, if not all of us feel down at times. What do you do when you feel like this? I have to be honest, there have been many times when I have felt despair. This despair is something that has made me feel alone. I have been afraid to share my true feelings, even with those closest to me.
Some of this has been brought about by my feelings of inferiority, which I have touched upon in previous posts. I often feel as if I am not good enough for anything or anyone. These feelings often lead me to doubt myself in almost every facet of life. Many days I go to work worrying that I am going to “screw up” or forget to do something. I believe one of the things that has fueled these feelings of insecurity is that others have often “talked down” to me as if I am too stupid to communicate just like anyone other person. My legs don’t work correctly, but my brain functions pretty well. Just don’t ask me to do math!
This doubt can be paralyzing. Fortunately, I have reached out to others who have helped me begin to see myself in a more positive light. Counseling has shown me that I do have things I can contribute to society. It has been a positive experience sharing my doubts and insecurities in a therapeutic setting.
Writing this blog has also been a cathartic experience, as it has helped me unleash some of the “demons” that rule my thoughts. Likewise, the power of prayer has also been very instrumental in helping me get over some of these irrational fears. I must be honest there have been many times that I have lashed out at God for “placing” me in this body.
Humor is always good medicine as well. I have learned over the years that you have to laugh at the circumstances of life. This helps one move past the bad and appreciate the good things that life has to offer. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to shut out the negative thoughts and focus only on the good. That is a lesson that I am just now learning as a 42 year old man.
Finally, it is important to keep active. Now that the weather here in Illinois is getting warmer, I will be outside cycling away my blues.
Today is National Siblings Day in the United States. This unofficial holiday is also celebrated in other parts of the world. I am thankful for my two older brothers, Cory and Shannon.
Over the years they have put up with a lot having me as their brother. For instance, there were many times they were sent to stay with relatives as my parents and I made our way to yet another hospital visit.
I am not really sure they minded this all that much. They were certainly spoiled by my grandparents, or my aunts and uncles whenever they were exiled to stay with family.
However, I really wonder how it was for them when they were younger. I would assume it was difficult having to be uprooted from their normal routine. I know that it would have been for me.
Growing up I was always closest to my oldest brother Shannon. My other brother Cory used to pick on me quite a bit, which, as I look back on things, was quite normal.
Now that we are all grown and have our own families, I respect the men my brothers have become. They both have married great women and have fathered some very good kids.
I wish I could see my brother Shannon and his family more often, but they live in New Jersey. It would be fun to spend more time with his family. He does still watch out for me, even though we are hundreds of miles apart.
My brother Cory still looks out for me as well, helping my wife Amanda and I do things around the house. He is always willing to lend a helping hand.
I love both of my brothers very much. I even forgive them for all of those times we were in the car and they’d pick on me. I would then get in trouble for being a whiner. I should have learned that sitting in the middle of the backseat made me a good target. I maybe could have asked to ride in the trunk instead! Anyway, if you haven’t done so already, reach out to your siblings and tell them how much you appreciate them.