Not a day goes by without our trading post customers and artists asking how Spenser is progressing. Steve tells me I owe everyone who supported us through our difficult time an update. Spenser, on the other hand, has requested that he be left out of any and all Twin Rocks stories. Spenser contends that he has been sacrificed quite enough thank you very much! He has informed me that he will file a petition to terminate my parental privileges if I continue to expose his personal life to our readers. I risk much by writing this message, but feel that a one year anniversary report must be made.
One year ago, on Labor Day 2004, our precious child received a traumatic brain injury in an ATV accident that sent our lives careening off in a precarious direction that none of us expected or were prepared for. As a result of the incident, Spenser spent several months in hospitals battling his way back from an injury that almost took his life. As Spenser lay in a coma, fighting to survive, our family learned a great deal about life, love and the will to survive from our young son. As he fought his way back from the darkness, his positive outlook and incredible inner strength helped us make it through the ordeal.
When our family left the everyday care of doctors, nurses, therapists and psychologists, and brought Spenser home, the professionals all told us the same thing: "There are going to be times when you feel extreme sadness, uncontrollable anger and incredible guilt, but you must be strong because you have made it through the most dangerous part. You will learn to survive and cherish the challenges you and Spenser have faced and will face in the future." I have found those words to be painfully true, and feel that, on the anniversary of Spenser's accident, I have grown significantly as a result of his terrible adventure, and have learned much from his gritty determination to overcome this adversity.
Spenser is now a sophomore in high school. He has been elected class president, and has also over-loaded his schedule; placing his parents in high stress mode. He is also taking an algebra class at the College of Eastern Utah-San Juan Campus two nights a week. Spenser is intent on maintaining his usual high academic standards and graduating with his class. Brigham Young University is his goal for higher education at this point in his life, but he has not yet decided on a major. His athletic interests include running with and helping coach the middle school cross country and tennis teams.
Spenser is undergoing daily therapies to help him achieve his goal of recovering full use of his left side. He has a warrior's heart; this boy on the verge of manhood, and I believe he will accomplish whatever he desires. I have never known such a tenacious, vibrant, individual, and know that Spenser will certainly continue to be a positive influence on the lives of everyone he meets. We look forward to his promising future.
Probably the most dramatic new aspect of ours lives is Spenser's decision to get his driver's license. He sat for the written exam recently, and easily earned the right to receive a learner's permit. As parents, Laurie and I are responsible for providing him 50 hours of practice time; ten hours of this exhilarating experience after dark. A week or so ago, with high hopes, Spenser and Laurie embarked on his first day of instruction. Upon their return, my wife determined to thereafter take a hands-off approach and placed all responsibility in my shaky mitts. Spenser tells me he is already a better driver than I, so this should be a painless and stress free experience.
Looking back on Spenser's accident, and the suffering and setbacks our son experienced during his recovery, I realize how tenuous life really is. Through the study of Navajo culture, I have come to know and appreciate the butterfly metaphor. The Navajo interpretation of this simple insect is really quite profound and beautiful. Butterflies, or the larvae they evolve from, represent the belief that even those with the least amount of promise have the ability to achieve beauty and harmony, if they truly desire it. Butterflies themselves portray the fragility of life, and represent the thought that every individual's journey should be cherished as the gift it most surely is.
I have also come to realize how important family and friends are to the human spirit. There is nothing more calming than looking into the eyes of someone who truly understands your pain. A loving embrace or words of tenderness and support thoughtfully expressed in a card or letter can calm the restless soul. Each and every one of you touched us in many ways, and propped us up when we were feeling so extremely vulnerable. From despair and tragedy came a realization how essential compassion is in our lives.
So from this point forth, I will honor Spenser's wishes and leave him alone in his quest to be "normal," at least when it concerns the accident. I cannot, however, be held to this same troublesome standard when it comes to comical circumstance or lampooning satire. As to that, when I see my young Jedi heading my direction casually twirling a set of car keys and smiling as if he hadn't a care in the world, a nervous twitch will undoubtedly wrack my demeanor. The last time we ventured forth, he nearly crashed into the gates of a local religious institution. That one incident could have caused an ex-communication crisis. Immediately afterward, he narrowly missed sideswiping a tourist, which might have resulted in a lawsuit. I can see that "normal" will not be part of my life for some time.
With Warm Regards,
Barry, Steve and the Team
Copyright 2005 Twin Rocks Trading Post