Taking things for granted

Shade’s had a good summer

As of late, I’ve been thinking about how much I take for granted. Or as I’ve read in many a student essay: taking things for granite. What a lovely concept. I have a great family, nice house, meals on the table, but I often mistake them for a granular igneous rock out of which I might just make a kitchen counter. So goeth the English language, a living organism that metamorphoses daily through the goofs of the users.

I take for granted that my son survived a deadly stroke. I take for granted that he’s able to go to school and participate in classes. I want to stop taking everything for granted. I want to write about the greatness that happens daily but has been invisible because I’ve been living in my own microcosm. It’s a selfishness that has become my norm. My life is easier when I refuse to look outside the safety boundaries I’ve created for myself, when I keep my thoughts to myself.

See that. I managed to redirect that last paragraph to me (selfish) when my real focus should be Shade. He started eleventh grade this Monday at Central Florida Prep, two weeks before public school. He was ready. He had been volunteering as a Junior Counselor at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Blast Camp, the summer camp he was going to when he had the stroke. He worked with the young’uns, keeping them in line, helping them with activities, etc. He liked it, but I think he was ready to hang out with kids his own age again.

Of course, with school comes another year of struggling with homework. Yet somehow he manages to clear a bit of space in his injured brain to pack in advanced learning. He’s taking Geometry and U.S. History and Business. I hope his brain allows him to utilize these ideas in his future. He still has problems with long-term memory. The ideas flit around the surface but don’t like to bury deep in his mind.

That’s another thing I take for granted: my brain. It’s a lovely brain, but it could go at any moment. So could yours. Don’t freak out about that. Just appreciate it while you have it.

Shade is in mid-teen mutation as well. He’s sprouting up like the unkempt bougainvillea in my backyard. (I’m a lazy gardener.) He’s dealing with acne, which drives him nuts. It angers me a bit that he has to have acne, as if being angry helps. It’s as if Loki the trickster god thought, Here’s an easy target. Let’s give him one more issue to deal with. Hey, Loki, you deadened half his face already. He can’t shut his right eye. Quit torturing the kid.

He’s still rolling around in a wheelchair, but he goes to therapy every week to practice his walking. If only he could get his balance back. He’s got plenty of strength, but he still topples like a hewn pine when he takes a step. He can stand and crouch. He stands for long periods of time without assistance, but as soon as he takes a step, he falls. Is there another part of the brain that balance shifts to when the foot is put in motion? Must be.

There are new technologies that might help. WeHab uses a Wii Balance Board to help stroke victims regain balance through feedback. KIINCE is a company that developed a rehab machine that helps rebuild neuro-pathways that control balance. And Aitza’s got a friend who had a stroke that is undergoing an experimental stem cell procedure that may help him walk again. We’re looking into some of these. But as of now, he’s going to be in a long-term relationship with his roller.

Anyway, I thought some of you might want an update on Shade’s Progress. Aitza constantly tells me: There are people out there that need to know about him, people that have had strokes or traumatic brain injuries and want to see what others have been through. Shade can still inspire. He’s got that power. I guess that’s part of the “not taking it for granted” thing.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Coleen Gross
    Aug 11, 2015 @ 10:11:04

    Thank you for the update Vincent. I see a lot of his photos on Facebook and I saw this photo. I can only hope that some of this new technology will able him to begin walking again. I can’t believe he is in 11th grade already. Time is a flying. We do miss you guys. Hopefully, our paths will cross again soon.

    Thank you,

    Coleen Gross Case Manager to Attorney, W. Clay Mitchell, Jr.
    Morgan & Morgan & Morgan, P.A.
    20. N. Orange Ave,
    Orlando, Fl 32801
    Phone- 407-420-6927
    Fax – 407-245-3442
    Email: cgross@forthepeople.com


  2. Cynthia
    Aug 11, 2015 @ 13:17:35

    Aitza is completely right. His story is inspiring and he needs to know how inspiring it is to all kind: the sick, the healthy; the young, the old, etc.

    And your writing is amazing and inspiring as well!!!

    It is good Shade has had such great recovery even though he is still working on it…

    Sending love to all of you!


  3. Amy
    Aug 11, 2015 @ 20:45:49

    Hey Vince, it’s really nice to hear your thoughts. It is good to remind us all not to take things for granite! It’s normal and we all do it- but it’s nice to be reminded how much we have to be thankful for – even just electricity or clean water for crying out load. Many countries don’t have good supplies of either ( brought to mind as we just experienced a heat wave in the Middle East and a typhoon in Taiwan). And Shade does continue to inspire! He’s such a sweat young man. In fact your whole family inspires us and we so enjoyed spending time with you this summer. We know this whole journey with Shade has been encredibly hard on everyone, but you guys have faced it with such courage, honesty, and spirit. Thank you so much for sharing it with us and you truly are a gifted writer to share it all so thoughtfully. We will continue to keep all of you in our prayers and we send our love!


  4. Aura
    Aug 12, 2015 @ 07:24:09

    Thank you! I have been wondering about the latest on Shade until I saw him in action with my boys at St Pauls’ what I fantastic human being you and Aitza have. Both of your boys are simply remarkable! Yes, taking things for granted… My daily struggle. Hugs!


  5. Phil Moreno
    Aug 12, 2015 @ 10:58:20

    Thank you for sharing, I remember when met you while Shane was admitted, his story is an inspiration for so many. Keep the faith, don’t get discouraged and continue to share his story, many need to know about. Thank you and many blessings.


  6. Jean
    Aug 12, 2015 @ 15:52:25

    Love you guys.


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