Over on Facebook, there are tons of people posting things they are thankful for each day, for the month of November. I did it last year, but didn't this year for no other reason than I was too lazy to think of something for each day. So, I decided that since I am still thankful for so much, I would blog about those things this whole week. I'm thankful all year long, not just this month, or this week. Maybe I should focus a little more on remembering those things all year, not just in November.
The list is long, of course. The usual things are there, too: good health, a job, a roof over our heads. Same old stuff, right? Well, there's so much more to be thankful for - the little things in life are huge sometimes.
Today's 'thankful' is all about Cole. First, I'm so thankful that God blessed me with the chance to be a mom to this sweet kid. I always thought I just wanted to be a mom. Forget college and all those fancy jobs - I just want to be the best mom I can be. Well, I got to do that and then decided college wasn't so bad so I went back to school and pursued a career in Elementary Education. I still don't have a 'real job' in my field but my college courses prepared me for lots of obstacles I would face while being Cole's mom. So I'm thankful that I got the opportunity to go back to school, too. I am the only advocate Cole will have in his life (well, his dad and I are the only ones). I feel like I'm better prepared to do that now.
I'm also so thankful that a wonderful hospital existed in Memphis. This hospital took us in and treated us all really. They gave us a home for almost 9 months while treating Cole with radiation and chemotherapy. They loved on us - all of us, not just Cole. I'm thankful for all the friends we made while we were there. I'm thankful that so many of them are doing well today. I can't say I'm thankful for the ones that haven't made it, but I am thankful that they are in a better place and cancer free now.
I looked back at Cole's Caringbridge site just now and what we were doing 5 years ago. We had only been home about 8 weeks and were still adapting to our new life. Trying to reestablish friendships, jobs, school - all that stuff. Here's a little from my journal entry 5 years ago today:
"Cole has been walking so much lately - still holding on some and still walking with his arms out for balance. I know the PT wanted him walking more with his arms down - but it's all about baby steps and what he's comfortable with. I'd rather see him walk with his arms out, than fuss and not walk because I remind him to put his arms down. When we had Miss Kelly for PT she taught him how to get up off the floor by telling him "one leg up, other leg up and bum up" those were the steps he followed - and he did great. We still have to remind him once in a while to do that or he'll just reach for us to help him up. Over the weekend he was getting up out of the floor and said something I didn't hear so I said What Cole? and he said oh nothing, I was just saying Bum Up! He's so funny - talking himself through what he should do. He did it yesterday too - trying to walk to his room by himself and said Oh I'm keeping my balance. Then this morning at about 5:35 AM some little guy walks right into our room and says hey mommy, it's me Colie! Something woke him up and scared him so he came to our room - he hasn't done this since before surgery - he used to wake up about 6 every morning and come get in our bed or sit in our doorway singing or talking to himself until we woke up! It was great to see him standing there - even if it was 5:35 in the morning and something scared him. We ended up getting in his bed and he told me he walked all the way to our room with his balance! He was so proud. He's been doing great and getting braver and braver each day - walking more and more! I'm so proud of him. And hopefully once PT gets set up here - things will be going even better. I've called our insurance lady four times now and gotten no return call. I'll try again tomorrow. Hopefully we'll get things straight soon!"
I'm very thankful that Cole learned to walk again and without too many bumped heads in the process. I'm thankful that he had wonderful PT girls along his journey to help him in ways we couldn't. They gave him encouragement and he believed in them and trusted them. Yes, he believed and trusted us, too - but he learned things from them that we couldn't teach. They were all awesome!! I'm thankful that he never gave up. He got frustrated, he got aggravated. But he kept trying. I know, without a doubt, if an illness had me down, I would wallow in it a bit and feel sorry for myself and general hate the world. I'm sure of it. He never asked why, he never questioned why he was different. He still hasn't. I think his age at the time had a lot to do with that - but his personality and maturity level are a huge help, too. He still doesn't voice any concerns over being different in any way. He doesn't talk about not being able to do what others can do. Once in a while, he'll point out that 'righty' is fast and 'lefty' is slllllllloooooooooooow. Yes, he drags it out that way!! His right side will always be stronger than his left. His left side was effected by the surgery he went through and simply never caught up.
He's forgotten so much of what he went through. I'm thankful for that, as well. No child needs to remember having an IV in each arm and one in his foot. No child needs to remember not being able to walk or run or jump and play like he once could. No child needs to remember waking up after surgery and having all your hair gone, bandages all over and not have a clue where you even are. No child should have to remember to tell himself to get his 'bum up'.
I'm thankful he's alive and well and driving me crazy most days. I'm thankful that he still gets up way too early when we can sleep late and is able to walk into my room and wake me up. I'm thankful that I have to tell him to be careful when he's running around - simply because there was a time when we weren't sure he's ever walk or run again.
I'm so thankful that I've been blessed with such a fantastic kid. He's quirky and OCD and difficult at times and a little grumpy when he doesn't get McDonald's, and stubborn and doesn't forget anything you promise him.
I'm thankful for it all!