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I thought I would take some time to reflect upon the last year. When we look back on the past we tend to think of things that happened on a large scale: that is just human nature. As I sat back reflecting on 2011 I found it to be a very difficult process. I am not going to lie to you, 2011 was a tough year on my family. The year seemed to focus on two very difficult situations. That being my official diagnosis of ALS and everything that has come with that diagnosis as well as the declining health and eventual passing of my father-in-law Perry. Because of those two situations there were some tears shed on New Year’s Eve as we broke in the New Year hoping that 2012 would bring much more happiness to our family. The funny thing is, I know I laughed and smiled a lot throughout last year. I just had to think long and hard of the small treasures and bright spots that would outshine the larger issues of the year.
After looking at the calendar and thinking about each month I eventually started to realize that those small treasures far outweighed those two larger situations. I rang in the New Year in Pasadena watching my Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl. Even though they lost the game I finally made it there and it was a trip that still brings back smiles to my face. I followed that by watching my Green Bay Packers win the Super Bowl! As I reflected back I realized how much of my day I now interacted with my children since I no longer was working; talk about a treasure! Those moments included my daughters dance recital, countless hockey games, practices and tournaments, lacrosse practices and games, summer camp adventures, etc. I was able to help out in Evan’s classroom assisting in reading and other various activities which many fathers are unable to do. I was able to take Evan to his first Packer game. We had a wonderful family vacation in Birchwood where for the first time in about nine years my wife actually jumped in the lake for a family swim and I have pictures to prove it! On a picture perfect fall day I had almost 300 friends show up to walk with me for a worthy cause. I saw my daughter get on the bus for the first time and start school right beside her brother Evan. My son Jacob joined his brother Dan on the ice to skate for the Waukesha Wings. We took my daughter to Chicago for her birthday to see the Beauty and the Beast. I had wonderful and lengthy visits in the fall from my mother, brother, and sister who all live in North Carolina. I helped my son Dan weed through the college application process highlighted by two nominations to the United States Air Force Academy. The holiday season began by watching Evan sing in the Christmas Eve choir followed by a great Christmas Eve dinner at home. And it ended with a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration with my wife’s family all together in the Wisconsin Dells.
These are just some of the highlights of the treasures that occurred last year. It is kind of like economics: macro versus micro. There’ll always be large events that will occur in our lives and hopefully many of them are good. But if they are not, take time to think of the small things that happened to you and I’m sure, like me, you will find all of the small treasures  that made you smile and laugh and make you realize upon reflection it really was a great year.

10 responses to “Reflections

  1. Suzanne Alexander ⋅

    Hey Jim – My husband Neil (46) got the ALS diagnosis in June 2011. We are Pittsburghers….different weather here but otherwise we have a lot in common. Thank you for publishing this blog. I’m about to put one up for our family too…. right now we have…..still under construction but there is a video of Neil out there. There has to be more we can do, hu? Blessings to you and your family for a joy-packed 2012…. Suzanne

    • jim eutizzi ⋅

      Thanks for the reply. sorry about your husband. You and my wife are on a different journey as the new rock of the family. Keep the faith and keep on living in the new normal. All the best!

  2. Karen ⋅

    You and your messages are a BIG TREASURE to us!
    Thanks again for helping us sort through the things that are really important in life!
    Love you,
    John and Karen

  3. Karen ⋅

    You and your messages are a BIG TREASURE to us!
    Thanks again for helping us sort through what is really important in life!
    Love you,
    John and Karen

  4. ljpw93

    I love your optimism and reflection… are my hero! i love you Jimmy!

  5. John Johnson ⋅

    Thank you for this post! I am the king of letting the wrong things take the spotlight in my life and you really got me realigning the way I look at things. Thanks for being an inspiration bro!

  6. Jim Hanley ⋅

    I found this blog during a lunchtime venture on the net. I felt compelled to comment as your writing style conjured up rather fond memories of the ’70s. I’m happy to write about my reflections of when we were about the same age as your kids. Seeing the reply from John Johnson (he and I have followed a nearly identical career path) provided the extra incentive to chime in. Here are a couple of my reflections that uniquely include you: Walking over to Hadler Lanes on Saturday mornings gave me a sense of independence, responsibility (handling the $1.50 we got for bowling league), and appreciation for weekend recreation. I don’t believe I would have ever played golf with Mr. Janke had you not been part of the outing. I wonder what Mr. J is up to these days, maybe something to do with football? You were always the first person I thought of when there was an extra Marquette ticket, I just loved getting new high tops and wearing them to the Marquette games. Well, I can’t wrap this up without a mention of the exclusive 5 Jims club. The 5 Jims club was a great dynamic of the differences, and similarities of the 5 Jims.

    • jim

      great to hear from you. sorry for the delay. i also remember playing tackle football in grade school and being scared shitless to being tackled by you as you were a big hitter. you will have to expand on the 5 jims club as my mind is not as sharp.

  7. Paul Sawicki ⋅

    Hi Jim:

    I saw Mark Tushaus at St. Dominic’s Summer Fest and I ask him if he has heard from you. He mentioned that you were ill and I should visit your Blog.

    I am so sorry that you have ALS. You are a strong person both in spirit and body and will be an inspiration to all.

    I would like to get together and help in anyway I can. We can remember the days at St. C’s and “Sister Blue Hair” aka Sister Martha, when we worked at the golf course in Mequon, and UW Madison.

    I hope you are feeling well and look forward to hearing from you.

    Take Care,

    Paul Sawicki
    262 212 8403

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