“Aba, something weird is happening! Nothing hurts. I don’t remember ever feeling like this”
It was May 2014, and about a month had passed since my 11-year old son’s lower leg amputation, which I chronicled for Kveller. Before that, Amit lived his first 11 years with chronic pain due to pathological fractures and failed limb salvaging attempts.
That day, on a beautiful May morning, Amit experienced a first magical moment, marked by no pain and the beginning of a new chapter of his life. In the amputee world of no regrets, April 10th is referred to as Amit’s Ampuversary.
This year. Amit’s third Ampuversary coincides with the first night of Passover – the Festival of Freedom. How appropriate!.
On April 10, 2017, Jews around the globe commemorate their freedom from bondage and Amit will celebrate his freedom from pain and, moreover, his freedom to recapture his youth. We will read the following passage from the Haggadah:
In every generation, all are obligated to view themselves as having personally left Egypt, since it is said, “And you shall explain to your child on that day, ‘It is because of what Adonai did for me when I went free from Egypt’.” Therefore we are obligated to thank, praise…and bless the One who performed all these miracles for our ancestors and for us, for bringing us from slavery to freedom, anguish to joy, mourning to festival, darkness to great light, and subjugation to redemption.
Today, Amit is thriving. We are living in Israel. He is in the ninth grade and catching up on years of lost learning. In the same elementary school that couldn’t cope with him in second grade, he runs interactive workshops about wheelchair basketball and the value of hard work and persistence. He plays wheelchair basketball on the Israel Junior National Team (that’s him in the picture above!) He travels around the world both to compete and to participate in awareness-raising and development events for disabled sports in Israel. He dreams about participating in the Paralympics.
On the heels of freedom is another major Passover theme – gratitude, as expressed by the song Dayenu – “It would have been enough.” For instance, if the only thing God had done had been to free the Israelites from slavery, it would have been enough. Dayenu.
On this third Ampuversary, we are very grateful to many people and organizations that made these moments possible and encouraged and supported us. Dayenu feels appropriate, as does the saying “it take a villages”—and our village included our family, Shriners Hospital for Children – NorCal, Wheelchair Basketball Coach Trooper Johnson, the Bay Area Recreation and Outreach Program, the congenital pseudarthrosis Facebook group, many wonderful teachers and educators, and an amazing community of friends in both the US and Israel.
Happy Passover and Happy Ampuversary to our son.