Doesn’t take that long to count to two does it? I guess you could even say it’s a bit anti-climatic.
Well, today marks the 2nd anniversary of my spinal cord injury, so I’ve got the number two on the brain. Yea, maybe counting to two is anti-climatic, but in my mind this number 2 mile marker has been everything but anti-climatic.
Injury anniversaries are always strange things. After all, I clearly know all about them because I’ve had so many (computers really need a sarcasm font). An injury anniversary is such a defining mark between the “what was” and the “what is” in a person’s life. Whether you want to or not, you can’t stop yourself from pausing and thinking back to the good ole days. Back to the days when curbs were just, well, there and you had a lot more bathroom stall options when you were out and about.
I’m sure everyone approaches those normal thoughts and reflections with a different attitude. We’re all unique individuals and our injuries affect our families and our own self in different ways. I guess it’d be pretty nuts to think everyone would feel the same about any number year of an injury anniversary. At the same time, I think those attitudes change and progress as the years do. Maybe certain experiences, certain people, certain whatever it may be during that year causes a shift in thinking.
My second year of spinal cord injury life has encompassed quite the experiences. Experiences, I can very honestly say I never imagined having in my life, let alone all in one year. Some experiences were awesome, others well, not so awesome. But that’s life right? Moments of excitement, moments of fear, moments of triumph, moments of failure–just a lotta lotta moments.
Moments like receiving a grant to purchase a racing chair and start training and learning from an epic paralympian (July).
Moments like being crowned Ms. Wheelchair America 2015 after a week of competition in Long Beach, California (August).
Moments like learning how to drive again and purchasing my own vehicle–the famous hatch back with sliding doors (October) then taking my drivers test and passing on the first shot (January).
Moments like traveling out to South Dakota to go cross country and down hill skiing and then coming home and having to wait in security and wonder if I managed to get my mother arrested in the airport thanks to an epic souvenir (January).
Moments like those…
You know there’s another big moment I had recently that I haven’t had the chance to write about—racing in my first race since my injury. I raced in the Fifth Third River Bank Run in Grand Rapids, Michigan on May 9th during one of my Ms. Wheelchair America travel excursions. It was a 25K race, so 15.5miles long. It kind of rained the entire time (well, excluding the last 3 miles…but basically the whole time) and I had never even bothered to push in the rain before. But now I’ve got 12.5 solid miles of experience:D It was awesome. Wet, but awesome. My goal was to finish without a flat tire and that’s exactly what happened, in 1:34:07–a 6:04 min/mile pace (pretty reasonable for a newbie if you ask me!)
You know, this isn’t always easy or fun. There are plenty of things that are now a daily part of my life that I could certainly do without. There are things I’ve learned that I wish I wouldn’t have had to learn in such a dramatic way. But I’m sitting outside right now on this gorgeous afternoon, watching my fluffy little white dog wag her tail as she sniffs the breeze. You know, now is probably right around the time that tree fell on me two years ago. It’s right around the time the ambulance came and then the helicopter. It’s right around the time my Mom and the rest of my family got the news that forever would change our lives.
Yet, the only feeling I really have in this moment is gratitude.
I’m so thankful to be here.
I’m so thankful to look down and see my diva dog panting like a fool and Oscar all sprawled out in pure bliss.
I’m so thankful to be sitting in the backyard of my home, feeling the sun on my shoulders (I’m trying to get rid of one of my ridiculous tan lines…) and seeing the clouds lazily move across the sky.
Well, now I’m feeling a little moronic because I could seriously cry with how thankful I am for all of the blessings that God has poured out into my life the past two years. Gratitude does some amazing things (if you don’t believe me, you have to check out this blog my awesome uncle shared with me…). But seriously, it really does.
We all have so much to be thankful for, each and every one of us. Maybe you feel like you have search long and hard for those things, but in reality, they’re all around us. I know I’m only two years out, but I pray I never lose sight of all the gifts infused in this “bonus life.”
Today is the anniversary, but every day is the gift.