Today was one of those days.
I forgot to set my alarm, so I didn’t get to work as early as I wanted. To get to work quickly, I skipped the shower, makeup, and deodorant. Cowboy boots, jeans, a sweater and a beanie would do just fine. I’m sure I looked fantastic.
As I tried to get into my car, which I forgot to start to warm it up, I had to pull a ninja move to avoid slipping on ice, and I still hit my head on the roof. So I had a headache and drove to work in a freezing car.
As I was ordering Taco Bell, I realized I left my wallet at home, which is halfway across town. That meant when I got to work, I wouldn’t have my keycard to get into the building. Luckily, a coworker was at his desk and let me in.
As I sat at my desk listening to my stomach growl, I reached for the bag of popcorn I brought to work, thinking that could serve as a meal until I got home. Turns out I bought a mini bag. But that didn’t matter since I was destined to burn it in the microwave. In case you are wondering, I still ate it.
And then I realized there was a mistake in one of the online stories. It was easy enough to fix, but I still fumed about it.
As I sat at my desk, patiently waiting until I could go home to eat, I thought my day couldn’t possibly get any worse.
Then I remembered what was happening Thursday: Thanksgiving. It’s a day for giving thanks to the blessings you have, at least until you are ready to speed to the nearest Best Buy for Black Friday to get everything you wish you had. But it’s about coming together as a family and eating that juicy turkey, those heartwarming mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.
Every year either my mom or aunt would host our family for the holiday. We would eat until we were stuffed, — pun intended — then we played card games until the early hours of the morning. And yes, there was wine.
Last year, we found out Mom’s cancer came back, and her treatments kept her from cooking. It didn’t matter because I volunteered to work. But my friends got together, and we all had our own misfit Thanksgiving. For a moment, I forgot my troubles and was able to enjoy the holiday.
I won’t get that this year.
After my mother passed away, I knew no one would be home to baste the turkey or make a string bean casserole. There is no one to bring in the six pies that usually crowded our kitchen counter. And there will be no stuffing or crappy cranberries in a can.
All of my friends and I moved from Dickinson. We all live in separate cities, the closest being Fargo and the farthest Washington, D.C. Thanksgiving, which is for many filled with joy, was going to be a very lonely day.
Yes, today sucked.
I have no right to complain since I volunteered to work Thanksgiving. Part of the reason I did so was because I wanted to go home for Christmas, but the other half of me knows if I don’t have something to do that day, it will be miserable.
My aunt did say I could come to her home for Thanksgiving, and I appreciate it. I would love to eat her leg of lamb and potatoes.
But one thought still lingers. The thought that I will never have a Thanksgiving dinner again or eat anything cooked by my mother is crippling beyond anything I could have imagined.
After all of this, I realized I had one call to make for a story. East Grand Forks Public Schools recently hosted a penny war for an 18-year-old girl who has bone cancer and had raised thousands of dollars for her treatments and expenses. The community is supporting her with food, fundraisers and kindness. Others have donated about $4,000 to her GoFundMe page.
But it was her mother’s words that are striking. Dee Heisler told me despite the fear, sickness and missing school, her daughter, Rylie, had not asked for anything, was thinking of others and always saw the bright side in her dire situation.
“When the doctors said, ‘You are going to lose your hair,’ (Rylie) said, ‘Oh, I can go get a new hat,'” Dee Heisler said.
Suddenly, my problems seemed so little. Rylie barely turned 18 and she is fighting for her life. Yet she still wants to make a blanket for another person she knows. She wants to be a nurse and help patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Before she lost her hair, she cut it short and donated it to an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients.
We all have bad days. I should know. After everything I’ve gone through, there are days when I just want to quit. But then I realize that everyone has problems. It’s how they deal with them and move forward that matters.
So even though I have a headache, am hungry and have lost so much, I know I have so much left to be thankful for and to keep me happy. I know some days will be rough, but I’m going to try. Like Rylie, I’m going to go get a new hat.