It’s American Heart Month. When I was young, this didn’t mean too much to me because my parents were busy keeping me from overexerting myself or something the doctor told me not to do. Why? Because I was born with a congenital heart defect.
I have two younger sisters, but I readily admit I always wanted a brother as well. I really wanted an older brother, but by the time I was 12, the brothers I got belonged to my mom’s best friend. They moved in down the road from us, three boys taller than I.
There was a time in my life when I wanted more than anything to get married and have kids. At least three, just like my parents had, but with a boy in there somewhere. After getting bullied most of my school years, I always wanted a brother who would defend me.
If you’ve ever watched an episode of BBC’s Top Gear prior to this year, you probably got hooked on the motoring escapades of the Orangutan, the Hamster, and Captain Slow. It’s hard not to.
I was born with a heart defect, and at eight months old, I had open heart surgery. At the time, my parents were informed I wouldn’t live past the age of 12. Earlier this month, I turned 40. Adults with Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) who have survived a Mustard or Senning procedure are very rare.
I was recently given the opportunity to work from home, and I admit it: I panicked a little. I know myself well enough to know that my day job is not the same as the time I spend writing. That’s creativity time, and that is easily done at home. On the couch. In front of the TV.
To submit or not to submit. That was the choice I was to make as I contemplated applying to grad school for the third time. The first time had been a hard reject from a Library of Information Sciences program.
Growing up, I had a hard time in Physical Education. I couldn’t run or do jumping jacks or any kind of high intensity activity that raised my heart rate beyond a certain level. I had a doctor’s note to prove it, but that didn’t usually stop some P.E. teachers from bullying me just as much as my fellow students did.
My response to the second thank you was to sit at my computer and cry. It’s been a decade since last I taught, but it was apparent that I had left an impression on this young man. When you leave teaching, it’s difficult to see the impact you have on students’ lives once they leave your school.
I don’t have kids, and probably never will, but I still find myself surrounded by little girls. Many of my friends have them, and my sister has one who will be five later this year. They are cute.
What isn’t cute is when the collective world encourages “the cuteness” of their fear of something.