Sitting down on December 31st, I look out the shores of Lake Superior. It is cold and ice covered. I am thankful that I am someplace warm, and soon will be with friends to ring in the New Year. I hope 2014 is far less turbulent, but looking back on this year, I am thankful for every experience. It has made realize what is truly important, and ultimately life is precious. Enjoy every second.
Early on in 2013, we were blessed with the news we were expecting. With quite resolve, we made plans, and waited with eager anticipation. We have been blessed to have a child on the way, and we focused our attention and energy to get ready…The winter that had been cold and mild, turned harsh and cold. With idle time at home, I investigated photography, and bought a Cannon I had been looking at…with all the snow, I also vowed to buy a snow blower….I was sick of shoveling my driveway, and I was very thankful my neighbors had snow blowers and were kind enough to get me out of the driveway.
In the spring we were inspired to make a trip…we have always talked about traveling, and we just never had. So, for Christmas we planned a trip to California to see my brother Tom. It was a two part trip…Amy had always talked about going to San Fran, and I wanted to hike along the coast. Plus, my brother recently moved there, and we wanted to see him.
Our first 48 hours in California, we saw some places Amy did projects on in college. We walked around town, and enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen…All from the view from our restaurant.
As we ventured out of San Fran, we made sure to see the Golden Gate Bridge…It is beautiful, and definitely a spot to see.
As we ventured north, we grabbed my brother as a tour guide…it was great seeing wine country and the ocean. It definitely was a trip we had talked about for years, and I was glad we were able to do. I was happy to enjoy the coast, walk the hills, and be apart of the ocean. It is a place where you can escape. I was happy to see the sights, but it was more important on the company. It was a great escape from the cold back home, and it was great to see my brother happy.
As spring rolled into summer, I renewed a passion of mine…I thought about being a baseball coach for years. I coached when I was a teen into aged 20. (When I was in college thinking of what I should do as a career, this crossed my mind). Instead, I worked with college teams, and high school teams as an athletic trainer, a strength coach, a consultant, and umpired thousands of games. However, when the opportunity was there, I took it to be a coach again. Our season was not stellar. We finished last in the league, but our band of Raiders eventually put it together…I had never seen so much joy when knocked out Hawley and then Fergus Falls from the playoffs…I had never seen so much respect from my kids when I argued a call against Breckenridge…Ultimately our season came to end. Two teams from our section placed in the top 5 at state, and the Breckenridge, who finished third, had lost 2, 1 run ball games to DGF and Barnesville in our tournament. I was proud of our boys, and I enjoyed every minute.
The rest of the summer was preparing for something we have been hoping for a long time. Then, early Labor Day, Amy called and said it was time…I drove from my hometown back to DL. Then we waited some more, and I stood by Amy’s side as our pride and joy, Benton was born on September 3rd. I had never had more joy in my life. Then he was whisked away to Fargo…our 25 day adventure ensued. I drove from Lake Park to Fargo, to DL, back to Fargo 3 times a day for 4 days…then on September 7th, all I asked for was to be able to hold my son…on September 20th, that was finally granted at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital. I was finally able to hold my son…The day before was the worst day of my life, full of heartbreak, but it was also the day that will be my compass the rest of my life. However, on September 20th, everything I had ever wanted came true. I held my son.
Benton was a true warrior. Against all odds he lived for 25 days. My faith was tested, but I now have a true relationship with Heaven. On 9/28, my Angel went home. His absence is almost more than I can bear, but Amy and I have faced it head strong. My community supported us, and I never have known so much love. I never would have known that an entire area would rally around for us. The support started from before his birth, but I have never known how many people that my son touched…I am still grateful and awe…
The community and family support was everything we needed and more. From my colleagues designing bracelets, to the FB players putting my son’s name on their helmet, to the hugs on the street from strangers, to the benefit we had. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. It is beyond words. Benton Strong is on hundreds of bracelets, proudly worn by friends, family, and all
who Benton touched. Thank you Raider BB for making the banner:) Also, to all that wear this shirt, thank-you…
I can go on for hours expressing my gratitude for all of the assistance, and most importantly love, we have received.
Work will continue for me, but it won’t consume me…However, I look forward to seeing the Raiders, Hornets, Indians, Bombers, and all other Essentia Health Sports Medicine teams to do well this coming year.
What I can say moving forward for 2014. Benton’s Hope will be moving forward. For all the help we have received, we will be spreading this good forward, one small item at a time. Look for news on this during the spring…
If you want to do something in your life, take the chance and do it. I will be attempting at making go a small business with my photography. It is something I have talked about for years…I am making the leap forward…
If you want to see something, go see it. I drove 36,500 miles this year…mainly for work, but a lot as of late to go and see items. I am making time to go to Florida, as it is a favorite spot of mine, and I love Lake Superior…I hope to do a photo display of this Grand Lake this summer. I love sitting on my “Black Rock”, and finding peace.
I am also looking forward spending time with my family and friends. You are more important than you know. I hope 2014 brings all of you joy, love and peace. Lake Superior gave us peace this past fall…and I hope to explore this Lake over and over.