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What age was it that you stopped wanting to celebrate your birthday?? For me it was 41. Why?? because now I was on my way to 50.

July is a busy month in my family as we have 3 birthdays starting on July 1st and ending on July 27th. When my son Jacob turned 15 on July 1st I realized in one year I will be preparing to send my oldest to college, having another driving, and sending my youngest to first grade. This will be both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.

When a doctor tells you that you have a shorter leash in regards to your time here it changes everything. You realize each day is a gift and each birthday is a celebration of that gift.

My mom turned 83 today and I am sure she and many other elderly will tell you there is a time where we will fully appreciate each birthday as we get up there in years because you start to feel the aches and pains of aging. I don’t know when that happens but I know I take each birthday I have and those of my loved ones a little more seriously these days.

One of my main goals as a father and husband has been to create memories for my family. Those can be as big as a family trip to Disney World to as simple as playing catch with my sons or reading a book to my daughter. Unfortunately some of these tasks are getting more difficult for me to do physically. And I have to say that stinks! So now I reflect on each birthday at the memories I have helped to create and embrace my “new normal.” I can no longer throw a baseball to my sons, shoot a basket, or take a slap shot on the ice. But I have become their biggest fans and can still give them coaching pointers much like my father did for me with his disability and of course have my youngest sit on my lap to read a book. Those memories are still being created just a little differently in my “new normal.”

So what is my point?? Enjoy your birthdays. Celebrate your birthdays and those of your loved ones. Create beautiful memories. Don’t wait for some diagnosis to make this happen. As I tell my older kids, if you get up in the morning thank God because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to anyone, whether you have ALS, cancer, or appear perfectly healthy.

6 responses to “Birthdays

  1. John and Karen Boler ⋅

    Thanks Jim!
    Good reminders for us all!
    We are very fortunate to have you in our lives!


  2. ljpw93 ⋅

    Jimmy – i’ll be thinking about these insightful words in a month – when i turn another year older….you are SUCH a blessing to this world…i love you so much!!!!!!

  3. John and Karen Boler ⋅

    Hey Buddy,

    You are so right on! We are thanking God for each day and each birthday and all of our blessings, including very special friends like you!

    You are loved, repected and admired by us and we are with you all the way!

    From your “Other brother named John”,

    P.S. I had no idea you were such a great writer! Keep it up!

  4. Kevin Roach ⋅

    beautiful message Jim.
    I look forward to seeing you at thr ALS Walk.
    Kevin Roach

  5. Ken Sussex ⋅

    Isn’t it funny we spend our childhoods wishing we were older and our later years wishing we were younger…great post!


  6. Aloha Jim! You don’t know me, but I’m a good friend of Sankari’s and discovered your blog through her. I just wanted to pass along some positive thoughts and encouragement from a stranger who has found your story very inspiring. As a side note, I am also a Physical Therapist, so I do have some professional knowledge of ALS and therefore am even more inspired by your story as I understand what you are going through and what you have ahead of you. I don’t have a lot of experience working with ALS as I mostly work in outpatient orthopedics, but I found it an interesting coincidence that I had only my 3rd patient in about as many years with ALS referred to me just this week. He is newly diagnosed and struggling quite a bit to come to terms with his situation. I hope you don’t mind if I share your blog with him. Thank you for sharing your story with the world – it will touch many lives – of other patients with ALS or other neurological conditions (or progressive degenerative conditions of any kind really), their caregivers, their families, and even the healthcare professionals who are working with them. Again, thank you. And much love and aloha to you and your sweet family.

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