June is Sometimes “Extra”

My high school students toss the word “extra” around a lot (and I’m certain our own children call me this behind my back, and they aren’t wrong these days). Extra can mean overly emotional or overwhelming or maybe a person who is irritating or annoying depending on the circumstance. According to one of my juniors, “extra” can also be part of someone's personality, perhaps if they are seeming to try too hard. It’s only the middle of May, but I know without hesitation that June will be extra. We will celebrate our daughter’s 13th birthday, Fathers’ Day (also my dad’s first without my mom), and our wedding anniversary as well as my mom’s celebration of life, which some of our friends are calling Pollyfest and/or PollyPalooza (both of which feel appropriate). There are also softball/baseball/ soccer games, wedding showers, 8th grade moving-up ceremonies, graduations, and our family’s first Bat Mitzvah thrown in for good measure. Also, after the school year ends, my 27th year, our two children are heading to ski camp out at Mt. Hood in Oregon, leaving us for 10 days for the first time ever. It will all be fine; I continue to tell myself daily. To say June will be “extra” is an understatement indeed.

Geoff and daughter planting

Mother’s Day was difficult without my mom. But we worked in the garden, transplanted seedlings into the ground, stopping only to wash our hands for soccer games late in the day followed by a nice dinner at one of our favorite places with family, including Pop Pop (my dad), Grandma and Grandpa (Geoff’s folks). I’m not sure I had missed my mom that much since the week she passed. My grief was extra, although understood and nurtured certainly.

But while watching Geoff and our daughter plant their items together, listening to them problem-solve and think out loud, I realized the important role this idea or feeling of “extra” has in all of our lives. Even the best celebrations include moments of sadness, stress, worry, and maybe even trepidation of what’s to come next. Graduations aren’t always awesome when one doesn’t exactly know their next steps, yet that is what everyone asks, “So what’s next?”

   Join Our Movement

What started as an idea has become a national movement. With your support, we can influence policy and inspire lasting change.

Become an Advocate

A young woman, adapting to a new normal in her power chair, recently texted me to ask Geoff whether he still walks when he is dreaming. It’s a great question and one I’m so glad she felt comfortable reaching out to ask me. I responded that I didn’t even need to ask him the question because he loves to talk about walking in his dreams, especially because his spinal cord injury happened almost 30 years ago. I asked her how she felt about walking in her dreams, and she replied that she loves those dreams; however, she is always extra sad when she wakes up and remembers her status. Geoff’s advice was to embrace the sadness in the morning and then do something adventurous to find the balance again.

So for the soon-to-be dads, first-time dads, step-dads, veteran dads, granddads, pop pops, wanna-be dads, father figures, uncles, funcles, mentors and the like– we wish you the best day ever– even if they are filled with all kinds of June extra. We will celebrate Geoff and both grandfathers by doing something surrounding food, maybe lobster this year, as lobster makes us all happy. We will celebrate my mom on June 24 at a beautiful park by the river and be in the moment, surrounded by our beautiful mountains and family and friends traveling long distances to be part of PollyPalooza. At times, we will feel extra, be extra, and need to balance the extra around us. But life goes on. There will be music and laughter and love, beginnings and endings, and everything in between. This is June after all.

About the Author - Heather Krill

Heather Krill is a writer- wife- teacher- mom, living in northern New Hampshire with her husband Geoff, a paraplegic adventure athlete, and two tweenagers, a son and daughter aged 13 and 12. A high school teacher and coach for 26 years, Heather has been a blogging contributor for six years.

Heather Krill

The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $10,000,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.