You knew I’d share about my own hero first! Ian Warshak. My high school sweetheart. My dear husband of twelve years. The father of my children. The person I admire most in life.
Why is he my hero, you ask? I’m not even sure where to start. I suppose I’ll start at the beginning.
I met Ian in ninth grade. He was thin, but not too tall. He had blonde, frizzy hair that was parted down the middle and reached down to his ears. He was what you’d call a class clown, always joking, always giggling about some line in a rap song or a movie. Everyone liked him. Ian was a theatre kid, the only freshman in the senior one act play. He wasn’t my type. I had a boyfriend. I didn’t talk to him for the next two years. (He had the lead role in the play our senior year by the way. 🙂 )
For some reason that I don’t completely understand, we ended up dating our senior year in high school and stayed together through college. His humor was just what I needed. I was uptight and serious. I was the girlfriend who constantly got upset when he said the wrong thing. I still don’t know why he stuck around with me. (But I’m glad he did.)
Ian and I finished college and got married. Three years later we started our family. He was a self employed software developer. I was a special education teacher turned stay-at-home mom after our first child was born. Life was great.
Then something we had not planned for happened. Life threw us a bump in the road.
I’ve watched Ian go through the unthinkable. I’ve sat by his side during the hard times. He’s been through medical procedures, therapies, and numerous surgeries including amputations. After being healthy and independent for thirty-two years, I watched him unable to take care of himself. It broke my heart.
Ian learned to walk again. He figured out how to do things in life in a new way without fingers. I’m happy to say he is now back to normal.
So why is Ian my hero?
Well, he does amazing things everyday. For one, he puts on contact lenses and loads a dishwasher without fingers. He runs regularly, which is not an easy feat since he has to do it on prosthetic legs. Ian throws a football and plays soccer with his kids. He assembles desks and chairs for me when I order them (try grabbing tiny little screws or using an electric drill with no fingers… he does it!) He grills dinner for our family by himself. He works as a software developer (on a computer) everyday to provide for our family.
Those things are great and everything, but that is not why he is my hero. Ian is my hero because he never quits. He does whatever he sets his mind to. His attitude has been positive from day one when he woke up in that hospital room. He is grateful. He is passionate. He is determined.
Ian shows our children that anything is possible when you set your mind to it. He encourages others just by being himself. Just think, if you think you’re having a bad day, look at Ian! 🙂
Our family and friends don’t even notice that Ian is missing fingers and feet anymore. He is just Ian. His body may be changed, but his spirit is still full of joy and life. He is still the silly kid I met in ninth grade.
Sometimes I wonder if I’d married Ian if I’d known he would be a quadruple amputee. I don’t know the answer to that. I hope I could have seen past it. I’ll admit life has been hard. It would have been nice to have an easier path. But, this is the path God chose for us. Till death do us part.
This post is part of a series of 31 Real Life Heroes. If you’d like to nominate your hero, please email dwarshak(at)gmail.com.