The second anniversary is different.
Last year, the arrival of November haunted me. The pain was still raw, anxiety-ridden. I faced November 1st with disbelief. Could life really go on?
This year I slip into November like the old Mizuno sneakers I put on each morning. Their bright orange and silver stripes have faded into a wishy-washy gray. (After all, they've walked almost 800 miles.) They are not as strong or shiny as they once were. The sole treads are flattened, and the inside lining is torn. Still they take one step after another.
This is what the calendar change feels like to me this year.
But each time the momentum gets going, it seems there's another setback -- leg pain, surgery, more time in the hospital. I pull into my shell like a turtle. Seek shelter till the rough times pass.
"But what if I'm in the hospital?" I asked Polly when she called me back in September to discuss the party details.
"We'll have it anyway," she said, "in your honor."
It was little consolation. I ended up in the Operating Room just 2 weeks later.
This journey's been wrought with hills and valleys. Not the gentle rolling kind you see from the highways of Vermont.
The kind you feel when you ride an old wooden roller coaster. They whip your head around and make your stomach lurch. They leave you spinning long after the motion has ended.
But finally at this 2-year-mark, we hit the target Jen and Polly were aiming for. This journey was finally going to reach OTHERS.
And there's something else: As rickety and frightening as those roller coaster rides may be, they're not necessarily bad for the carnival. In fact, they might be the part that you end up talking about years later.
Thanks to everyone who joined our carnival November 4th! In walking with me or donating to the cause, you've given me more reasons to put those old sneakers back on. (They've got at least 200 more miles in 'em!)