The Love of My Life  

KaraokeTom 72M
39 posts
2/22/2006 1:35 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

The Love of My Life

My daughter is a senior in high school. In grade school she competed in hunter jumper equestrian. It's amazing and scary to watch a small kid take a big horse over jumps. Was one of the best in the state. Boys and a lame horse ended that in 7th grade. In 8th grade she joined the middle school ski club, her first year of skiing.

In 9th grade she asked if it was OK if she went out for the HS ski team. "But honey, you just started to ski and don't even have your own skis." Dad, "They let everyone compete", delivered with the scorn only a teenager can muster.

Bought her a set of recreational skis for Christmas. During holiday break the parents (club sport) had a ski racing school. Took her out at the beginning of the day and picked her up at the end. Day three she says, "Dad you've never seen me ski." I said, "Do a run", expecting snow plow turns. This kid comes down the hill like a rocket, executing the most beautiful carved turns I've ever seen.

Two weeks later, her first meet. Competitors all sporting professional slalom skis, skin tight racing suits. She's on her rec skis with a snowboard outfit. I'm just hoping she stays on her skis.

She ties the best girl on the team, a kid who has competed in NASTAR since she was 8. Fast forward to February ... she is number two on the team and qualifies for the state meet.

I buy her a great set of slalom skis the week of the conference meet and the week before state. We go out for practice. Two runs - perfect. I say, "Why not run at race speed before I leave with your other skis."

She heads over to the NASTAR run. The ski hill had put a mogul run right next to the NASTAR course a week earlier. She forgets that its there. She's doing a high speed traverse and hits the mogul field at 30 mph.

She lands on her face on ice. My beautiful fearless daughter is near death in a coma for 8 days, and in the hospital for five weeks. Has to relearn how to walk. Has to put up with her father taking her to the bathroom. Prognosis is very mixed. Initial IQ testing takes her from about 120 to 90.

She proceeds to work her ass off. Every time she's told she will be unable to do something she's determined to prove them wrong, and does.

Three years later, she still has her issues. But she's posting almost straight A's. She's been doing helment safety speeches at the local schools since her return to school. She's given speeches to senior nursing classes at UW Madison and UW Oshkosh on being in intensive care and rehab.

She's also a very politically aware kid who's not afraid to take the unpopular side on issues like gay rights. I'll never forget her taking on the Palestinian/Isralie conflict in a persuasive speech and coming down on the Palestinian side - in a high school with no Palestinian kids, and plenty of Jewish kids.

I don't agree with all her politics. But I'm so proud of her development into a strong womyn (her word not mine) who is mature way beyond her years. This kid will have an impact on this world.

Can you tell she's my hero? And the love of my life. I'll miss her so much when she goes on to college this fall.

Live your whole life like you were dying, kid.

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