Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Family & Five Dollars

Hey Everyone,

Here we are in the early afternoon of Day 3!  Yesterday was a crazy day, but a lot of really great experiences were had that I have been so excited to share with you.

Our morning began with a trip to Jackson Square to do something good with $5.  It could be anything you felt would make a positive impact in someone’s life, and we were given an hour to make that happen.  I think I speak for everyone when I say that this was one of the most challenging tasks we could be given.  There was an internal struggle with every idea on whether that was worthy of your $5 and just how it would make an impact.

This activity brought Leah and myself to an older man, sitting on his walker outside the Bingo Hall alone on Family Day.  As we began a conversation with him, we learned of his life story – just as we shared ours.  But then, after Leah gave him her $5 to use to play bingo today, when his family wasn’t in town, he shared something with us that is still sitting with me.  This man, sitting outside taking in the February sun, had a prosthetic leg.  Previously he had one that was modeled to look like a “normal”leg, but after feeling self-concious trying to fit in with this leg, he opted for a new one – one that instead is more true to who he was.  Rolling up his pant leg, he grinned as he revealed a Harley Davidson prosthesis.

There in lies the magic of the human spirit – no matter what our life story or experiences, we all have the same emotions.  Insecurities, happiness, fear, anxiety, excitement – they connect all of us, in a way much more powerful than words can express.

Continuing to explore the similarities among people and share the importance of Family Day, we visited Eva Rothwell to help out with their Family Day celebration.  All of us here are very familiar with Eva Rothwell after visiting every Thursday to volunteer with McMaster Athletes Care.  That said, it was a different experience for us as we were joined by their parents/caregivers as well.  We spread out across the centre with Chelsea taking over the kitchen to prep pasta & salad for 200 people.  Jess, Cristina, and Leah played with the kids in all of the activities, while Patrick & Ben took control of mini sticks, repeatedly feeling the competition from the young youth that were eager to play them.

After all the activities concluded, we served dinner to the families and spent some time getting to know the members of the community better.  When asked how she felt about the day, student-athlete Jessica said,
“I think it was a great day for everyone – us included.  Families were able to put underlying issues aside and enjoy the day together.  It was nice to be a part of that”
Numerous times I have heard people say that Family Day was created because Canada needed a holiday in February to get through the long stretch of winter from New Years to Easter.  But yesterday, I think we found a better reason for the day.  Life happens and everyone has their own issues that carry with them from day to day.  But this is one day a year that no matter who you are, you can come together and put aside your life to be with family – whether that includes biological family, adopted family, friends, community members or even strangers.

I woke up disappointed that I wouldn’t be spending it with my own family, and yet, somewhere through the day, I realized I was.  The Brady Bunch and our Eva Rothwell family was a great way to spend the holiday.  Onto the next…

4 comments:

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