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The only thing worse than an opportunity you don’t deserve is blowing an opportunity.  Michael J. Fox

Optimism is something that once you catch, you have to learn how to keep catching it everydayand be persistent about it .  Friday’s are always a good day to catch it.  It seems to be more abundant and people always seem to be looking for it.  Once again my Friday ended and my weekend started with my leaving work at 5pm like a normal person (I usually stay late) and raced across the beautifully sun-swept San Francisco skyline to pick up my son at his baseball practice.   Seeing him smile as I arrived at the playground just lifted the wear and tear that the week’s toll and coma the week-long business conference had put me in.  Putting a smile on someone’s face by just being there, especially your child’s, is one of the most special things in the world and I don’t think I’ll ever want it to stop.

My son looked up to me and I realized how unconditional our relationship is.  Not that every father-son relationship should be that way, but I think ours is that way.  Sometimes when I talk to him I see him look up with his puppy dog eyes and his gap-toothed smile that will someday cost me a few thousand dollars and I don’t know if he is hearing what I am saying but he continues to look up and nod.  When we received our children’s report cards this week, we were not only happy to see that both children had received stellar records.  But even more important was to meet with the teachers and have them tell us how easy they are to deal with.  No matter what anyone says, parents go into Parent-Teacher conferences to see “their own report card” as a parent.  I know our son is easy to work with but the bigger news was to hear how well our daughter is doing.  It makes a parent feel good to know that they are doing things right.  We work really hard to make sure our second child doesnt suffer the fate of being the second on everything.

Speaking of being optimistic, the title of this entry refers to the new book of that name by Michael J. Fox and talks about his fight with Parkinson’s Disease.   Despite the religious connotation of the title, it actually refers to Fox’s short stature.  The subtitle though, “Adventures of an Incurable Optimist”  talks about how he has kept his hopes up despite his illness.  He even says that it saved his life and marriage.  This disease which is crippling him has helped his marriage?  Where have I heard this before?  Yes, these diseases and illnesses bring perspective to one’s life.  As we race through our twenties and thirties we often don’t face up to our own mortality and the responsibilities of those who are always looking up at us for guidance.  Fox, who has battled long and hard for the cure for Parkinson’s despite even the inability to brush his teeth is so optimistic that a cure will be found that he claims he’ll be able to dance with each of his three daughters at their weddings.  The overall title alludes to an emotional, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual outlook that has served Fox throughout his life because of his height and made him tough enough to fight his illness.  The book covers his retirement from his acting career and how he was forced to look at himself (he continually does this in the mirror every day so as not to fear what he might see or worry about what others might think of him) and now how to reinvent himself as a speaker and advocate for a cure for Parkinson’ s.

In the book, Fox talks about how seeing his children grow up motivates him more than ever.  When his daughter wants him to read to her, she climbs on to his lap and Fox worries when this might end.   I can just picture how Fox cherishes every moment he gets with his children because his condition changes from hour to hour. Every morning he wakes and doesn’t know how his body will be on that day. 

Today upon coming home from my son’s baseball game I walked in and saw my 7-year old daughter dancing around to some Miley Cyrus (or is it Hannah Montana?).  Anyway I came across a couple of her items that just made me smile.  First is her inspirational new song called “The Climb”.  It’s about being persistent and I think both my children got the message as I saw my son shed a tear as he got up and hugged my wife.  It is so touching to see when children get the message.  Here is the official video.  Just close your eyes and listen.  No need to look at the bad video. 

I’ll also close this on a more casual and upbeat note.  Get your dancing shoes on people!  And for my friends out there in the music industry who are going to discredit me for making two mentions of Hannah Montana in the same blog entry, I don’t care.  This is marketing!  Your kids are going to be doing this in a couple months so just do it.  Miley Cyrus is following up in her dad’s footsteps (Remember the Achy Breaky?)  Well get ready for the ‘Hoedown Throwdown”  Oh yes, line dancing is going to be back and you’ll need to learn the steps for a wedding coming to a reception near you this summer!  Check it out:

Thanks for listening everyone.  Keep looking up and let’s see those dance moves!