|~ Andrew, the summer of 2007, at our local skate park ~|
"Signed, Sealed and Delivered"
by Melanie Dorsey
As Andrew’s skateboarding skills grew, he began to express his desire of being sponsored by a skateboard company which he usually referred to as being “signed.” A sponsorship means free gear, trips and sometimes even cash. I do not even remember when Andrew first began to skateboard. It is so much a part of his identity that it seems odd to think of him without a board.
One summer, a foreign exchange student moved into the neighborhood. He was a high school boy and Andrew was an eleven year old middle schooler but they skated together almost daily. Fransisco was from Spain and spoke little English. Andrew was home schooled and knew a little Spanish. But somehow he learned that “Fran” was sponsored by a skateboarding company in Spain. There was no language barrier when skateboarding, ramps and rails were involved! An "ollie" is the same in any language! Fran would walk the half block from his host home to our house, knock on the door and ask for Andrew. They skateboarded on our street and in our driveway and often I would see them from the window skating on Andrew’s rails. And to my maternal consternation I would insist they move the rails from the middle of the road back to our driveway! Andrew was sad to see Fran return to Spain when the school year ended.
When brain cancer quickly affected Andrew’s left side leaving him partially paralyzed, he was unable to pursue his passion for skateboarding. That was so heartbreaking for us as a family. Andrew had lived and breathed skateboarding. One day he told me sadly, “It’s been three months since I’ve been on a skateboard.”
I went to the garage and got his newest board – one his dad had purchased for him shortly after the diagnosis. We had debated on whether to buy it or not, wondering if it would be a painful symbol to Andrew or one that would keep his hope alive. I placed the beautiful board in his lap and I told him to see himself on that board, to visualize himself healed, whole and skateboarding. And I asked him to repeat a simple prayer after me as I prayed for his healing and offered thanks to God. He held the board in his lap and he prayed. And I swallowed hard and tried not to cry.
In the past 12 months I have often thought of Andrew’s wish to be “signed”. One day a scripture came to my mind and my heart rejoiced as I realized Andrew had gotten his desire after all.
To be continued...