Thursday, July 9, 2015

so... what happened there?

It was summertime, I was 16 years old.  The biggest challenges in my life were making it to my busgirl job on time, remembering my flag girl routines, having someone ask me to prom, and maintaining my tan (much to my dad's disapproval).

We didn't have an automatic dishwasher at home, so there I was, washing the dishes by hand.  I remember it was early evening and still light out.  I was gazing out the kitchen window, probably daydreaming about boys, while washing a large drinking glass.  As I wiped around the lip of the glass, the glass cracked and sliced into the middle finger of my right hand.

I stood there for what seemed like a long time, just looking at my finger, looking at the broken glass, watching the blood drain into the dishwater.  I don't remember it hurting, it was such a clean slice.  I remember thinking that it should've hurt with all that blood.

When I regained composure, I cleaned it up to see that the cut was tiny in length but rather deep.  I wrapped it tightly with a band-aid and commenced to feeling sorry for myself.  There's still a baby scar there today that probably only I can see.

It was my right hand.  How would I doodle?  My hands were always in water at work, I'd always be changing that darn band-aid.  Oh.  The Hardships.

Obviously, I survived.

Why did that mishap come to mind now, after all these years?  I was just trying to remember what it was like to be 16.

Earlier this week, I was out grocery shopping in the evening when I saw a rare sight. It was a 16-year-old boy with half an arm.

This is a military town, and unfortunately, amputees are not altogether rare.  But 16-year-old amputees are, thankfully, rare.  How do I know his age?  Because he was all over the news since a couple of weeks ago after a shark bit his arm off while he was vacationing with family in North Carolina.

So I recognized him right away.  The friendly bespectacled face and the obvious injury.  In news reports, he seems very poised and mature for his age.  He looks ahead with a positive attitude, something he's become known for in the news:

"I've lost my arm obviously, so I have two options: I can try to live my life the way I was and make an effort to do that even though I don't have an arm, or I can just let this be completely debilitating and bring my life down and ruin it," he says. "Out of those two, there's really only one that I would actually choose and that's to try to fight and live a normal life with the cards I've been dealt."

So when I spotted him at the grocery store, I was tempted to tell him how I admired his attitude.  But I thought I'd just leave him alone.  He just wants to be a normal kid.  Out shopping for snacks with his mom, who says:

"He did it without complaining,"... "He doesn't complain about anything. He doesn't complain about the food in the hospital, the hospital bed. He's not complaining about taking the cap off the toothpaste with one hand. He always weathers trauma very well. What an honor for me to be his mom. I can learn something from him."

Can't we all.

I betcha he's not going to have ANY problems getting a date for prom.

Hooking up with Mama Kat again this week
2. Write a blog post inspired by the word: challenge.



  1. Great post, and what a brave young man. What a way to lose a limb, sounds a bit surreal to me, a Brit, but I suppose it must happen. I'm sure he'll go on to be a successful older man with his attitude and support from his mom!

    1. Even when he described the attack,he was just so calm about the whole thing. I can't imagine!

  2. It's a dirty rotten shame that so many go through life SO healthy and able bodied that when they get a pimple they act like it's leprosy with a side dose of smallpox. While others get knocked down hard, and early, and learn to suck it up and go on.

    1. Yup, and then they want to sue anyone and everyone for their pimple.

  3. He reminds me of Bethany Hamilton. Remember her? Lost her entire arm to a shark and got right back on the surf board. She and her new hubby also competed on The Amazing Race and did very well. Very impressive how these young people continue living with such a positive attitude. And to think you were SO close to him!

    1. Yes, I remember and thought of her too. Didn't she just have a baby? Probably a walk in the park for her!

  4. I love stories like this ... stories like his. We are SO privileged in this country, but sometimes you wouldn't know it by the way people behave. That young man IS an inspiration. He's going to go places, and I mean bigger places than the prom!

    1. Attitude is everything. He's got it.

  5. What an inspiring young man!

  6. I just watched the movie Soul Surfer with my kids last night about Bethany Hamilton who also lost her arm from a shark attack. It was such a tear jerker and she had that same beautiful outlook. Unbelievable.