On my first night away from home I decided to go for a run to scope out my new digs. I didn’t know the area at all so I just started running, not knowing where I was going or where I would end up. Fortunately, I came across a track. I was so excited because I absolutely love running at the track. The stadium lights shone brightly and I was thrilled at my discovery.The only problem was there was this big fence that gave no access to the prime running real estate!
I figured they wanted to keep out all of the thugs and hoodlums who up to no good. But I was just a sweet, innocent girl wanting to go for a run so I decided I would hop the fence. As I began to scale this thing and I noticed that there was barbed wire at the top. I thought to myself “they must really want to keep these bad kids out”. All of a sudden two cops with big flashlights came running out at me. They yelled “WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO YOUNG LADY?”I told them with desperation in my voice “I just want to run on your track!”
They looked at each other puzzled and the officer then said, “This is not a track…. This is the Matsqui prison!”I’ve come to learn to never judge a book by its cover, or a track by its bright lights. The same can be said for my dad. Most people talk to him like he is either deaf or a 3-month-old baby. Even people he knows well, will come over and yell very slowly “HELLLOOO MIIIKKE, DO YOU REMEMBER ME?” Oh great, now they think he has amnesia too!
ALS does NOT affect your brain. My dad may not be able move his body, down a quarter chicken with fries at Swiss Chalet or sing the lyrics to “I wear my sunglasses at night”, but he is still the same big kid who taught my brother and me how to play nicky-nicky-nine-doors, the brainiac who helped me with all my homework and the wise man who always has the perfect advice. He’s still the guy who encourages me when I am down and makes my stomach hurt from laughing at his hilarious jokes.
Today is my 24th birthday and I am so thankful for every single year and moment I have had to spend with this amazing man. From the first day I was born he has loved and taken care of me and ALS has never come in the way of that. He may be different physically, but he will always be the same old daddy!So two words of advice - Don’t ever judge someone by their appearance and if there is a huge fence with barbed wire it’s probably not a good idea to try hopping over it. You may just be breaking into a prison.