I Believe by Clarissa

Dear Friends & Family,

The strength and compassion of our children make Curt and I proud, day in and day out. The way they have accepted their Dad's fate and continue to make the best of life is incredible. We are so proud of each of them. Clarissa wrote this essay for her college English class last week. It is a testament to her positive attitude and personality.

I Believe

I believe in being that obnoxiously positive person instead of that rude and depressing negative person. I believe it is the little things in life. I made that green light that I always seem to miss and I parked two spaces closer than normal. See? There is always something to be positive about. Since we aren’t here for a long time, we sure as hell should make it a good time, right? So enjoy every green light, every hug, every meal at In N Out, every swim in the ocean, and even every perfect hair day.

Now this may sound standard, but my story is a little different than most. I took everything in my life for granted: driving, family vacations to our lake house, eating out, dirt bike trips, a wonderful house to come home to every night, and my health. My dad was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease about two years ago. It’s a degenerative muscle disease where the nerves in your body die, making the muscle die as well. Now you may be thinking “Great, another sob story..” or maybe “Aww you poor thing.” It’s not a sob story and I don’t want any pity. I am having the time of my life in light of this heartbreaking disease. My Dad is the most positive person in the entire world. He can no longer walk, feed himself, go to the restroom alone, scratch his nose, or speak clearly. Yet he is the one telling me, “Hey, did you see what a nice day it is outside?” Besides having a great support system and tons of friends who care about him, what else does he really have to be positive about? But he has a smile on his face 99% of the time and always something good to say. So why is it so hard for us?

When I ask someone how their day is going and they give me a negative answer, I respond with something good. For example they say, “My day sucks, I have to walk a mile across campus and I hate my teacher.” I would respond with, “Oh my gosh, your hair looks so good! Did you do it differently?” Dorky, right? It seems so crazy, but it works! By me giving them a compliment, they forget about how far they have to walk and how much they hate their teacher. They now have a smile on their face and something good to think about when they walk into their next class. I dare you to try it sometime.

“We aren’t here for a long time; we are here for a good time.” George Strait’s new song fits my life perfectly. We should all be making the best of the good times and forgetting the bad. We have no idea how long we will be around, so why not live it up? I am doing things I never thought I would do. I joined a sorority, I am joining wakeboard club, I am taking a criminal justice class, am I going to be a cop? Who knows. Things I never thought I would do, I am doing. Yes, they are the simple things but I can’t wait to find out where they lead.

So instead of being bunched with the Negative Nellies of the world, I am a Positive Patty. I smile at every green light, I always give people compliments, I make people laugh, I enjoy every sunset, I plan trips, I go on adventures, I enjoy getting in my bed every night and waking up every morning. I enjoy conversations, hugs, food, pedicures, late nights, lazy days and everything else in between. I will forever be Positive Patty, having a good time because it might not be a long time.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

PS: Clarissa received 14.5 out of 15 for her essay!

It used to be a dirtbike....the adventure continues!
Thanks Lisa & Carolyn for helping Curt up the steep rough trail
in Griffith Park on our hike last Wednesday.

Off to the Colorado River...the kids in Cayden's truck, Curt & I following behind in the Cherry Bomb.

A great day on the river at Fox's.

It was great to catch up with the Alvarez Clan...it has been way too long!
Can't wait to see you all again!

Curt & Luie

We fell in love with T-Bone! Such a cool dog!

Corbin (in his cool guy pose) had fun cruising the golf cart.

Mom & Dad have been in Oregon since June. It was great to meet them at The River
 and now they are home for awhile!

Curt & Cayden


s_laka_2 said...

Great essay Clarissa(Positive Patty) =) great outlook on life. I too took things in life for granted when my husband was alive and now i live everyday like it's my last and love to the fullest and count my blessings. Your essay is inspirational.

Melissa said...

I love Clarissa!!!

Gina said...

Awesome job Clarissa on your essay!
I agree Cindy it was great to see all of you and we do need to get together again! Victor and I were so touched at the way the kids are so attentive to both Curt and yourself. They are beautiful inside and out. Hats off to you and Curt you did an awesome job!
Always in our thoughts - luv ya Gina

Jim and Vicki said...

Your clan is such an inspiration to us all! Great job clarissa! Loved seeing you all at the river. Love, Jim and Vicki