Mornings during the fall season are an amazing time. Natures light is exquisite as it ever so slowly pulls back the curtain to reveal a new day. The freshness of the air smells better than clean laundry, and the dew sparkles on the grass and leaves, highlighting their brilliant range of colors. Mother nature is effortlessly showing off.
I’d like to know her secret, because for me, mornings can be the toughest time of day. Regardless of what time I go to bed, in the morning I rarely feel like I have had enough sleep. The guilt factor generally makes it impossible for me to sleep in, because when I try, I generally lay in bed and think about everything I need to accomplish by the end of the day and how am I going to do it by laying in bed?! After about 20 minutes of this, mixed with thoughts of “just close your eyes, just close your eyes and dose off”, I give up, have a cup of coffee made and open my bedroom blinds. My day has started, only now my coffee is topped off with a bit of anxiety because I feel as if I’m getting a late start. My body dictates how long it will take me to do my personal care, ie: bathing, dressing etc. People living with spinal cord injuries don’t hop out of bed quite as quickly as an able-bodied person. After laying in bed for six to eight hours, my body is very stiff. I feel like the tin man in “The Wizard of Oz”…I need an oil can. I also get cold very easily, so pulling the covers back to start moving around is torture. My aid turns my bedroom thermostat to 80 degrees about 20 minutes before I need to start moving around… the girls who work with me wear shorts and a tank top in my house in the middle of February because my house temperature is usually set to “bake.” The entire process of me getting ready for my day and taking care of all my body needs can be anywhere from 2 to 3 hours. It is not only the outside of my body that is paralyzed but also the inside, so I only have so much control over how fast the inside of my body moves. Ask anyone who has a spinal cord injury… Sometimes your body cooperates, and sometimes it goes completely berserk.
There are some mornings when I have a hard time opening my blinds and having my cup of coffee because the thought of going through the routine I have to in order to simply start my day is just too overwhelming. And that’s just the beginning of my day. Who’s to say the rest of my day is filled with entirely fabulously fun things? Maybe it’s a day that I know is filled with challenging things. That fact makes opening the blinds even harder. Somewhere in these moments, I find myself shifting my thoughts to Mother Nature and her brilliant mornings. And regardless of what her day entails, we can count on her to open her blinds for us. I feel my perception change with just that one thought, and instead of all the challenges that lay before me, I think of all the blessings I know I will experience that day. By now, I am smiling, my room is warm, and I am ready to throw the covers back! Let the day begin!