I am thankful for Thanksgiving Day 2013. I shared a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner at the Mohonk Mountain House with my mom and My Mike. Their annual buffet dinner was fantastic. The food was excellent, the maître d’ remembered us from last year and gave us VIP treatment. We had a gorgeous, panoramic view of the Catskill Mountain Range and the sun was shining.
I am thankful for my home. Not does it only provide a warm, dry roof over my head, but it is my very own little haven I share with My Mike, my animals and my family. It is filled with peace, love and inspiration, mixed in with A LOT of necessary silliness.
I am thankful for the children in my life. They are my greatest inspiration and provide me with a never ending pool of topics to write about. They are my greatest joy.
I am thankful for my childhood. It was a bit challenging due to a lack of financial resources and parents who divorced. It taught me independence, the importance of living within your means, strive to improve your circumstances and the importance of communication and the consequences of the lack of it. It instilled in me there is something to be said for doing the right thing. It’s when my extreme love of animals began because we lived on a horse farm that came with the occasional cow, goat, chickens, cats and dog.
I am thankful for my spinal cord injury. It has taught me patience and the importance of experiencing joy wherever you can. It has allowed the children in my life to experience firsthand that different is only that… Different.
I am thankful for the countless doctors and their teams who, over the years, have taken such extraordinary care of me under perilous circumstances and have saved my life more then once. They have enhanced my quality of life by helping me get rid of pain through the magic touch of gifted surgeons and the healing touch of their teams as I recovered.
I am thankful for the countless people in the medical industry, from doctors to nurses aides, who tried to give me less care than I deserved. They reiterated the power of self advocacy, that everybody deserves to be accomodated and never to settle for less than you need.
I am thankful for my community. It offered a picturesque, friendly, safe place to grow up. I never remember locking our house or car doors when I was a kid, and you could wander away from your mom at the grocery store without her having to panic. As an adult, my community has been continually supportive towards myself and my family as we live with a spinal cord injury.
I am thankful for my relentlessness. It has taught me to push myself beyond society’s comfort zone in how a person with a disability should lead their life. I lead the life I wish to lead, regardless of public opinion or popularity. My relentlessness has also taught me the consequences of pushing too hard when instead, I should have exercised patience.
I am thankful for my independence. It was instilled in me as a child if you desire something, you had to go out and get it; somebody else wasn’t going to get it for you. I learned I had the power to get what I wish and make things happen by simply following through with the steps to do so. When I became disabled, my strong sense and need for independence carried me far, and will continue to do so my entire life.
I am thankful for all the places my life has led me. I have met extraordinary people through my travels, both near and far. Some encounters were brief, others will last a lifetime.
I am thankful for my country. My country allows me the right to speak my opinion, beliefs and thoughts freely, without the worry of political persecution. My country allows me to be me.
I am thankful for My Mike. My life partner through good and bad, he is my first line of defense against the despair I sometimes feel. He offers continued love, acceptance and support. He has the ability to make me feel tomorrow will be better if today was quite a challenge. He is forever my fellow Titan.
Lastly, I am thankful for my family, blood related and otherwise. You show continuous unconditional love by supporting me in my life choices, even when you don’t agree with them. As a unit, you have allowed me to borrow your will to move forward when I have had none left of my own. You share your lives and your children with me as if they were mine. For Thanksgiving and always, I give you all that I am and all that I hope to be. Without you, my spirit would have ceased to exist a long time ago. You have all my love always.