I just went back and read my Thankful post from last year, and I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. I remember writing and tweaking that post in the Starbucks on campus where I would sit during the long break between two of my classes. I remember thinking about how good things were, and wondering what life would be like in a year. I remember getting excited as I thought about the fact that I would be a SENIOR in college, and so close to having my very own classroom.
One thing is for sure-- I never would have guessed that I would be where I am now. Living with my cousins in Jackson and going to brain and spine injury rehab. Not finishing up Senior Block with my friends and preparing for student teaching.
But I know I still have SO much to be thankful for, I really do. The people who have stood by me when it counts-- my parents, my sister, my aunts & uncles, my cousins, and my friends. My true friends who have stuck by me every single second of every single day and act like nothing has changed. My sweet, selfless, awesome cousins, Jamey and Molly, who are letting me live with them while I'm in rehab in Jackson. They offered without even questioning it and have been such a huge help. Plus they are just super fun to hang out with, so there's that. :)
And of course, I'm thankful for all of my rehab therapists in Starkville and at Methodist Rehab. They are all hilarious, caring, and so hard-working. They have all worked and are working so hard to help me get as close to 100% and they have never expressed one ounce of doubt that it's possible. Paul, Damien, Brian, Shannon, & Anna at Drayer in Starkville, you are all family to me and I hold you so close to my heart! Linda & Laurel at OCH Rehab, thank you for helping me get so many pieces of my life back and getting me through all of my tests that have me one step closer to being a certified teacher! Paula, Patricia, Erin, Allison, Jen, Danny, and Jennifer at Methodist, you all keep me smiling and laughing, even on my grumpy days. I love you all so much already!
As for the little things that are really the big things, well, they are pretty different than what used to be my normal "little things". I always tried to keep myself in check and not take the little things for granted too much, but my injuries have been a big dose of reality. When I'm scrolling through Facebook or listening to people next to me at a restaurant and see/hear complaints about, for lack of a better word, STUPID things, I just want to scream THOSE ARE NOT REAL PROBLEMS! Which would be rude, because everyone has their own cross to bear (even if their biggest cross is something as ridiculous as the barista putting too much cream in their coffee) and I know that.
I'd like to think I've been a generally thankful person, but if I could go back to the days before my accident or at least before I lost complete feeling in my lower legs and feet, there are some things I would tell myself to be extra thankful for.
I would be so thankful for being able to stand in the shower. I love my shower chair, I really do, but there is no such thing as "jumping in and out of the shower real quick". And I would appreciate being able to just hop in the car and run to the store real quick. Now I have to have someone drive me and plan it out. How big is the place? Will it be too overwhelming? Can I use my walker or will I need a wheelchair?
I would be thankful for all of the mornings I woke up with sore ankles after dancing all night with my friends, and all of the pain my poor toes suffered through during my ballet & pointe years. Man, I miss dancing so much. Not even just dancing when I go out with my friends, but little things like obnoxiously dancing it out when my brain needed a break from studying for finals. I'd be sure to be so thankful for that.
I'd remember to be extra thankful for frustrating things like homework and projects and having to stay up late writing lesson plans. I'd be so thankful for being able to drag myself to the gym to do 60 minutes on the elliptical, even though I'd rather sit on the couch and eat a cookie.
I'd be thankful for annoying things like my feet being cold and being able to feel it when I bang my freaking shin on the coffee table. I'd appreciate being able to tap my foot to the beat of a song playing in a restaurant. I'd remember to be so thankful for all of those afternoons I played soccer with my daycare kiddos on the playground for the entire 45 minutes even though it was 90 degrees and sitting in the shade (or moving to Alaska) sounded like a better idea.
I would just be thankful. I always knew I was blessed to have a home, food, an education, a job, a car, and all of those things. I knew I was blessed to have awesome parents and an awesome gift of teaching and great friends. It just never crossed my mind that having cold feet (literally) and sore ankles and legs that could walk all around Disney World for 5 days was SUCH a huge blessing.
No doubt that the last 11 months have been full of losses, but I'm really just thankful to get to spend another holiday season with my family. I can't wait to see what will happen between now and Thanksgiving next year, but I'm crossing my fingers for lots of good things. :)
Please remember to make good driving decisions this holiday season (and always). Car accidents that result from things like running red lights, texting and driving, and drunk driving are 100 PERCENT PREVENTABLE.
Everyone deserves to be able to spend the holidays with their loved ones and dance around their kitchen table and tell when their feet are cold.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, sweet friends. I am so thankful for you.
And this. I'm really, really, really thankful for this.