As we approach the end of another year as a member of the exclusive Missing-limb Club, I wanted to reflect back on the past eleven months in order to laugh at my shortfalls, rant about my real falls and plan for the upcoming bloopers, AKA falls in front of people I don’t know
Yes, because there are only so many ways you can hastily jump off the ground after a misstep and not lose cool points! First and foremost, I wanted to let everyone know that the one BIG miracle that we all ask for during every Thanksgiving, birthday, national holiday, Hanukah or Christmas, or any other time someone asked, “Can I help you?” did not occur. No, unfortunately like the rest of you, my leg did not grow back like a lizard, despite my son’s theory that it should have! If yours did, please let me know. I will blog about it! However, I believe I have identified what I’m doing wrong during my countless prayers and will change my verbiage to include more “thank yous” and “I’m sorrys” along with “please, please, please!” in every other sentence. I will also try to refrain from dramatically yelling out the word “Why” as I fall to my knees and look to the sky during church services. Sorry Father Williams!
This year was a challenging one to say the least. My 17 year old daughter, in her attempt to grow from a child to an adult, figured out that she can talk back to me and then quickly retreat by dashing out the front door before I can get off the couch and go after her. I want to give a sarcastic thank you to Bob my prosthetic for slowing me down! (Bob was the name given to my robot leg by my son when he was only 6-after Bob the Builder.) Anyway, after the third time my daughter attempted her attention-getting stunt, to her dismay her mother and I went to bed and made no attempt to go after her. With her feelings hurt, she has not tried it since and has apologized. Changing her strategy to counter mine, she threatened to hide my leg the next time she decides to sneak out her window. When I reminded her that I was a beast with a pair of crutches, almost like something from Cirque du Soleil, she stated she would hide them too! Touché my dear, touché…
My son, who is now 14, was only three years old when I had my accident and only five when my leg was amputated, so he doesn’t know me with two legs; sadly he never got to see how athletic or daring, or crazy I was. He only knows me for me, which is really a true blessing because of his unconditional acceptance of me. Nevertheless, this year I coached football for his team, rode dirt bikes with him, lifted weights alongside him and did other manly things together in the woods. And because an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, he is a witty kid with a dry and sarcastic humor that comes honest. That being said, his favorite topic of jokes is his beloved one-legged dad. And he is a big hit at school, so I hear. He is also growing into a strong football player. At 5’10” tall, he now weighs 185 pounds and can dead lift 300 pounds and bench press 225 pounds! Like all boys, he enjoys horse playing with his dad and takes advantage of the fact that I don’t wrestle with him like a man! As a consequence, this year I have found myself on the ground many times after a sneak attack or stand-up sparring match. And sometimes it does hurt! But unlike the times he accidentely tripped me in public-most notably during a vacation to Universal Studios in Orlando, I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world because he treats me like a dad and not a one-legged guy. For that I am thankful.
My wife of 18 years has finally accepted the fact that I have one leg and as such, decided to ban me from climbing on ladders this year. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, or maybe it’s because I’M MISSING A LEG! Either way she now adamantly discourages me from doing so and has stopped asking me to repair things that are above my head, which is fine with me-the “repair” part, that is. Don’t tell her, but secretly I have anyway when she wasn’t looking because I am impatient and type-A. But, I think most active amputees are though. I’m just not real sure what I’m going to tell her when she finds me on the ground with a latter rung across my neck. This year I have also been allowed to lay on the couch on Sunday and watch football all day, AND she makes me food AND brings it to me like I’m a real amputee who needs a break! And I don’t even need to fake a hip pain! Nevertheless, on the occasion I do trip and fall on concrete, or the hard wood floor, she looks at me like I was 15 years younger and still expects me to be the tough guy… and she still doesn’t ask if I’m ok. Yes, I’m flattered that she thinks so highly of me but no, I’m hurt! But because she expects me NOT to be, I tell her I’m not! I think most of us can identify with that.
Other than receiving the eclectic love of my family, this year I was contacted by at least a dozen people from literally all over the world who read my book or saw me online and who wanted to reach out and ask for advice. I will be sure to share some of those stories in the coming year. In closing, I hope everyone has a wonderful new year full of laughter, life and love. All three of those elements are everything anyone needs to have a wonderful existence. At least for me, that’s all I need. The missing skin and bone of my right leg never defined who I was, who I am or who I will be. It won’t stop my family from loving me or preventing me from inspiring others to be great. As amputees, I think that is our mission in life, to help other. At least I feel that way… Really, I hope everyone feels that way. Until my next post, get your club dues.
Kevin now wears the Ottobock Genium