Born at Sinai Hospital in Detroit, Michigan on June 15, 1984 at 9:28am, I increased a family of three to four. Lisa and Joseph Konheim were high school sweethearts, married at 20 years old, had their first child, Ari, at 24, and me, their second, at 26. They had their third and final child, Jeremy, at age 29. Both Lisa and Joseph were born and raised in a suburb of Detroit called Oak Park, Michigan. It was a close knit neighborhood, where the name of your block identified your exact location. At the time, Oak Park was a heavily Jewish populated community, where diversity lacked in socioeconomic status, and education was highly valued.
My father’s father was a family practice physician, and his mother managed his office. Lillian was thirty six years old when she had my father, and Louis was forty. My father’s memories are faint up until six months after he turned 13. They received a shocking phone call. His father had a heart attack in a parking lot, and did not survive. My father would forever be affected. A teenager with undiagnosed attention deficit disorder, severe learning disabilities, and major behavioral issues, my father immediately chose to channel this tragedy to his advantage. He used his inner anger and frustrations to fight, conquer, and succeed to know his father would be proud. The only freshman to make his high school’s varsity football team, my father captained his team as a senior. As school did not come easy to him, he strived to achieve the best grades possible. However, his resume earned him a rejection letter from Michigan State University. Requesting to meet with the dean, my father begged and convinced them for a probational acceptance. Proving he was serious, he achieved cum laude grades where he graduated and went on to graduate law school from Detroit College of Law. An extremely passionate, driven, competitive, successful man, my father always used the loss of his father as his motivation. His life’s dream was to have his own children; to spend every possible minute with them, challenge them, and provide them a life filled with adventure, love, and endless support. And that he did. My father’s dedication is unmatched; to his family, his work, and his life. He is my hero in every way, shape, and form.
My mother was a very bright, intelligent, high achieving individual. She always complied with social norms, and presented herself in a classy, respectful demeanor. My mother was very well liked by her peers, and thrived in both social and school settings. However, my mother battled a major eating disorder in her early childhood years: anorexia. A young girl who was overweight and over shadowed by her extremely petite older sister, my mother was always being criticized for her appearance. Back then, society lacked knowledge and acceptance of psychological disorders, so she was never treated appropriately. According to research, once a person battles an eating disorder, he/she is destined to slip up or relapse, even after recovery. This is something my mother has had to manage, watch, and control over the last several decades to prevent recurrence. In addition to the weight struggles, my mom has battled obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) for the majority of her life. One could conclude that my mom passed down her eating habits that would eventually lead to my downfall, but in fact, she did exactly the opposite. My mom exposed me to any and every food that is out there. She encouraged me to eat anything I desired, and provided me with every opportunity to indulge in whatever I chose to consume. I always joked that before entering college, I never knew there was an association between food intake and body type. My exposure to nutritional labels, food intake control, and excessive exercise were not introduced to me until my freshman year at Michigan State University. However, there is a genetic component involved that may have been triggered by my own life’s experiences. According to Webmd Health News, “If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), there is a good chance that someone else in your family has it and that your own children are at higher risk for getting it, too.” The fact that I went through my entire childhood being oblivious and lacking any idea that my mother battled any issues, only shows how unbelievably strong, loving, and supportive she is as a person and mother. Her character is also unmatched, and forever, she will be my role model and individual I aspire to be.