This Friday I will be attending my 10 year high school reunion for CHS class of 2001!! I honestly can't believe it.
Why is it so important to me? One reason... It almost wasn't. My health troubles almost prevented me from walking with my class, much less graduate with it. But I was determined.
I must admit though, I did throw myself a little pity party after hearing that it was coming. You're probably wondering why. Let me explain;... -I still feel a sense of longing for those missed years of high school. The dances, the, friendships, dating, even the drama. All of those things that most take for granted, I would have killed for. -I'm not married, never have been. -I'm not in any kind of commited relationship. -I don't have any children -I'm not even terribly successful. ... I had this irrational fear that I would get to the reunion and get pitty stares etc, because I am significantly lacking in the areas that my other classmates seem to be excelling in. I guess the tendancy to compare ourselves to others in a measurement of self worth extends beyond the sheltered hallways of high school.
I gave myself a pep talk and have pretty much let go of the negative associations that I had previously applied. I have decided to instead, focus on the positive things that have happened in my life since graduation...to thank the people who not only got me to graduation itself, but through the past 10 years to boot.
Special thanks... -my friends, for providing me support and friendship in a capacity fitting to their age at the time. For providing me support and friendships beyond high school, new ones, and strengthened old ones. I wouldn't have kept my remaining sanity if it weren't for them. You know who you are. -to my doctors, physical, occupational, & speech therapists who made the diagnoses and initiated the treatments needed. A special thanks to Dr. Peter C. Rowe, for providing me with the knowledge, compassion, and tireless efforts on behalf of my health, when other doctors just dismissed me. -to Dr. Dan Heffez, for finding the source of my paralysis, pain, etc, and correcting it through surgery. -to Joe Gager, my physical therapist who worked so hard to get me out of the cervical collar that I could have otherwise needed to wear for life. For teaching me how to walk again, allowing me the ability to WALK...unassisted across the stage and receive my diploma. -Dr.Romaniuk, for coordinating my care with my team of doctors and always treating my family with the utmost respect and concern for my well being. -to Carol Gregory, my homebound teacher who provided me with the ability to continue my education and stay on Target for graduation when I otherwise would have been forced to drop out and get my GED, for the friendship and genuine positive regard for me as a person, not just another name on her class roster. -to my family, who have been there and supported me through it all, providing solace from the harsh realities and perceptions of people who were uninformed and/or not keeping my best interest at heart. For believing in me. -and most importantly, my parents, especially my mother. She never left my side, and remains there to this day, daring anyone to question the validity of my suffering. For always loving me, even when I made it difficult.
There are so many other people I could thank, but it would take me a year.
Some numbers.... Since graduation... - 10 years. 3,650 days. 525,600 minutes. Multiple weddings. 3 surgeries. 3 degrees. The knowledge who really belongs in my life. Immeasurable laughs, smiles, and memories that I will never forget. That breakdown wouldn't be possible without all of you, so thanks. You have added so much to my life, and I love you all more than words can express.