Like most gymnastics fans, I also follow ice skating. There has been a lot of press for the young Russian skater, Yulia Lipnitskaia, who performed two solid performances last week to help Russia win gold in the team event. She's wonderful and has a great future. And, wow, that flexibility! She's just 15 years old.
The U.S. has a pretty talented 15 year old competing this week too.
But....I am soooo sad that while these two teens will be performing, another 15 year old will be home, a couple months younger than her peers and thus unable to compete. Watch, fall in love and count down until 2018.
My relationship started with Chad long before he knew it. I was in 8th grade and I had just moved to South Bend. We had science together. I sat at the middle table, facing west, and he sat at the caddy-corner table, facing east. I was smitten.
My first memory of actually talking to him was in 9th grade science class. He sat behind me and pulled my hair almost everyday and I acted like it annoyed me, when secretly I was so sad on the days he didn't pull my hair. Of course, it turns out this was one of his many charming tactics, right Julie? :)
My relationship with Chad became a close friendship shortly thereafter. Chad had a death in the family, his aunt if I remember correctly. He sat next to me at lunch and then all of a sudden he broke down. I'm not sure why he came to me, as he had so many friends, but I am glad he did; it was the start of one of the most important relationships in my life.
Not long after, my brother passed away. This time I leaned on him. From then on, we always had a special connection...a friendship bound by grief and support.
We had many fun times in high school. Some were big events- prom and the state basketball tournament. Some were smaller and more intimate.
My favorite memory: One day, when we were seniors in high school, Chad and I went to lunch. We were talking about our futures and Chad said with total sincerity, "I want to be married, have four kids, and a mini van." I laughed so hard I think I cried. Not what you expect from a teenage jock. He was completely serious though. I gave him hell for it for many years.
From such a young age, Chad knew what was important. His family was EVERYTHING to him. That never-ending Hudnall clan! I remember meeting his wife, Cathy, for the first time. We all went to Macri's together. I remember being worried I'd be jealous and wishing I had brought my significant other to counterbalance those feelings. I wasn't jealous at all. Cathy was perfect. Exactly the type of person I thought he'd end up with...well, hoped to he end up with. She was kind, smart, and clearly in love with Chad. I was so happy for both of them.
Chad and I continued to stay in touch. We didn't see each other as much, but we continued to send letters (I know, how archaic) and make calls. The letters and calls became more and more spread out, but never ceased. Our phone calls became a Russian roulette of good news and bad news:
"My mom died" (me)
"I'm getting married" (him)
"I'm getting married" (me)
"We're having a baby" (him)
"Barb (sister) died" (him)
"It's a girl!" (me)
"I'm getting divorced" (me)
"It's a girl!" (him)
"Tim (nephew) died"
Then... I was on vacation in Mexico and I saw three missed calls. I knew it wasn't good.
"I have cancer"
And it continued:
"Leg surgery, chemo"
"My brother Dede has cancer"
"My brother Johnny has cancer"
As he fought this battle, we talked more and more. He was honest and frustrated about his situation. But, more than anything, he continued to talk about his love for his family. He was so proud of Cathy. He was always talking about what a great mother she is and how amazing she is professionally. And I've never known a man to be more involved and in love with his kids than Chad.
As I celebrate Chad's life and reminisce, I find so much comfort in the fact that, although his life was too short, he ended up with everything he ever wanted: a loving wife, four kids, and a mini-van (later traded in for a truck).
Chad, I love you forever and I am so grateful for all of the love and friendship you brought to my life.
I will forever keep Cathy and your kids in my thoughts and in my heart, and I promise to help keep your memory alive for them.
Goodbye, dear friend.
Our last visit. He tried to get Audrey to get in the picture, but she
wouldn't. He knew how much it would mean to me. Always thinking of
Prom. He had just won state with his basketball team and fellow students kept coming up and asking to have their pictures taken with him. He was gracious and humble, as always.
So, I continue to be confused by how everyone is so shocked that the NSA has been spying on American citizens. I thought it was pretty clear back in 2001 when the Patriot Act was passed that this was exactly what they'd be doing.
So why is there a freak out now? My opinion: Back in 2001, when the Patriot Act was passed, there was so much fear because of 9/11. People were more than happy to have the government spy on them if it kept them safe (and didn't really question what that would really mean). I think most families would have loved to have an NSA agent living with them, paying their bills, raising their kids, etc. But when the culture of fear mellowed...still no anger. Out of sight, out of mind. Until the leaks, that is.
I am having a great day. It's beautiful here in Bloomington and I am feeling witty, so here we go...things that are annoying me lately:
1. The word EPIC. Not everything can be epic. At this point, this word just needs to be redefined in the dic. Epic : a word used by a person to describe some thing or event that said person thinks is cool, but almost no one else does.
2. Selfies. Is 90% of your posted pics are selfies, you need to do some volunteer work. A lot of it.
3. People who complain about the consequences of capitalism, but support extreme capitalists... i.e. "I am tired of talking to customer service reps from India!"
4. Or, people who complain about liberals, but compliment Bloomington for its amazing quality of life. No, Jen, this isn't directed at you :).
5. The website gymnastike.com, which is apparently supposed to be pronounced "gymnastique" rather than "gymnast Ike."
6. People who don't like Parks and Rec.
7. So-and-so debuted her post pregnancy body. DEBUTED?? WTF? Of all the...
8. People who say having gay parents is detrimental to the wellbeing of children. The child abuse rate in lesbian households? ZERO!!! I wish all children were so lucky (source: http://www.nllfs.org).