A few days ago, Thursday to be exact, I sat down for a quick-lunch with my best friend from high school. Tami Williams was in Columbus dropping her father off at Port Columbus. She suggested we meet to catch up, not that we’ve been out of touch. On our way out of the restaurant, we started talking about season passes to King’s Island. I remember having one and visiting the theme park during the summers as a teenager. We always wanted to ride The Beast, the best wood rollercoaster in the world. From the first drop to the last, I always said at the end…”What a ride!”
What a ride 2016 has been for me and my son. A year ago we were fighting Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl and preparing to leave for the NFL. Three days later, as I chronicled in a previous post on January 11, he was back in Phoenix preparing for the NFL Combine. From January to December, 2016 had its ups and downs, just like that rollercoaster.
2016 has been thrilling and scary at the same time. I am so grateful to God that my son realized his dream to play in the NFL. He’s embraced the experience with such grace and professionalism. I’m so proud of what he’s accomplished this year. What a moment it was for us during the NFL draft…so many memories of crazy week of hopes and dreams.
I’m also proud of myself for having the courage to walk away from a job that was making me unhappy. It wasn’t an easy nor financially wise decision, but a choice that had to be made. I learned a lot from that choice, like not leaving a job without having one in hand. I can tell you I was overly confident in my experience, education and popularity. I thought I would walk into a media relations position. But that has not been the case. It’s been a humbling experience for sure – like that moment you regret getting on the rollercoaster.
God has humbled me in so many ways in 2016. First no job, then a sudden illness in October. Thank goodness for COBRA and a son who gladly paid the premiums. Blood clots are expensive and tiring. I had to stop looking for a job and be still. I was so busy and distracted that I missed all the signs. Thank you to the doctors and nurses at Riverside Methodist Hospital for taking care of me. I’m even more grateful for my cousin Fanta Labitue for insisting that I go to the hospital with my labored breathing and high blood pressure. And my dear friend Robin Washington for being at my side when I got the news.
This year I have my friends to thank for keeping me strong and opening up their hearts and homes to me. First, thank you Washington family for letting me live in your home while I wait for God to move in my life. I’d also like to thank Coleen Barber, Jeff and Sandy Barber and The Goddard School for taking me in and giving me a job. Thank you to all my friends who reached out with job leads – Mary Ellen Hardies Smalley, David Wayne-Wubbolding, Marcus Thorpe, Mikaela Hunt, Amy Harkins, The Bricker Family, Cindi Remy, Tee Hutch, Brian Hoyt…and soon many others. The competition has been fierce for work, but I was encouraged that you believed in me and my abilities.
I’d like to thank my family who supported me and my son this year – my mother, aunts and uncles, and countless cousins . Your presence at games, the combine, the draft and our first NFL season has meant so much. Remember, no one can come to games when it’s cold, except for his Meemaw…there are 17 games…come when it’s warm and 1 p.m. starts. Love y’all.
Finally, like any rollercoaster, the ride comes to end. 2016 has left me exhausted, grateful. Praise the Lord that I made it! I’m looking forward to 2017 and pray to God that I find my purpose, my career and my own home again. To those I wronged this year, I apologize and ask for your forgiveness.
I love you all! Happy New Year!!