I remember what it felt like to be thrown to the rough, sandy floor of the ocean by waves that were more powerful than my young, fragile body.

I remember a snake, shot through the head, that continued to twist and writhe in a coiled pile.

I remember my throat, fiery with scarlatina, unwilling to swallow and spitting out the window of a car.

I remember looking up through the facemask of a football helmet, lying on the ground and waiting for my father to come pick me up and take me to the hospital because my arm was bent in an unnatural way.  I remember crying in the emergency room after waiting for hours for a doctor to come fix my mangled arm, feeling like a failure after I had held back the tears for as long as I could bear, and the unnatural pain as my shattered bone was finally forced back into its proper position.

I remember sitting on a cold floor in a dark corridor with my back against a wall sometime in the middle of the night, waiting for my turn to have my head shaved as I wondered if joining the military was really a wise decision.

I remember an overwhelming feeling when my first daughter was born, my mind jumping back and forth between the possibilities of her future and my own, unsure if I was ready and knowing only that my life had truly changed forever.




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