Today, with a draw at Ewood Road (the home of Blackburn Rovers), Manchester United secured enough points to claim the title of Premier League Champions! We have topped the league a record-breaking NINETEEN times, toppling the previous record of 18 titles, held by Liverpool. Although the trophy won't officially be bestowed on the boys until next weekend at Old Trafford, today definitely saw some celebrations! Here are some of my favorite pictures:
Thanks to Daniel Burdett for these firsthand photos: From Nani's Twitter:
...and Rio Ferdinand's Twitter: And of course, my most favorite photo (perhaps of all-time, among those not of my own kids):
A little something recently posted on my Facebook Young Stroke Survivors group. I wish I had this six years ago!An amazing piece that really breaks it down after a life-changing event like a stroke... I'm glad to see that you are awake! This is your brain talking. I had to find some way to communicate with you. I feel like I barely survived WWIII and am still not quite all in one piece. That's why I need you. I need you to take care of me.
As time passes and you and I feel better and better, people, even doctors, will tell you that we are fine, "it's time to get on with life." That sounds good to me and probably even better to you. But before you go rushing back out into that big wide world, I need you to listen to me, really listen. Don't shut me out. Don't tune me out. When I'm getting into trouble I'll need your help more than I ever have before.
I know that you want to believe that we are going to be the same. I'll do my best to make that happen. The problem is that too many people in our situation get impatient and try to rush the healing process; or when their brains can't fully recover they deny it and, instead of adapting, they force their brains to function in ways they are no longer able too. Some people even push their brains until they seize, and worse... I'm scared. I'm afraid that you will do that to me. If you don't accept me I am lost. We both will be lost.
How can I tell you how much I need you now? I need you to accept me as I am today... not for what I used to be, or what I might be in the future. So many people are so busy looking at what their brains used to do, as if past accomplishments were a magical yardstick to measure present success or failures, that they fail to see how far their brains have come. It's as if here is shame, or guilt, in being injured. Silly, huh?
Please don't be embarrassed or feel guilt, or shame, because of me. We are okay. We have made it this far. If you work with me we can make it even further. I can't say how far. I won't make any false promises. I can only promise you this, that I will do my best.
What I need you to do is this: because neither of us knows how badly I've been hurt (things are still a little foggy for me), or how much I will recover, or how quickly, please go s-l-o-w-l-y when you start back trying to resume your life. If I give you a headache, or make you sick to your stomach, or make you unusually irritable, or confused, or disoriented, or afraid, or make you feel that you are overdoing it, I'm trying to get your attention in the only way I can. Stop and listen to me.
I get exhausted easily since being hurt, and cannot succeed when overworked. I want to succeed as much as you do. I want to be as well as I can be, but I need to do it at a different pace than I could before I got hurt. Help me to help us by paying attention and heeding the messages I send to you.
I will do my part to do my very best to get us back on our feet. I am a little worried though that if I am not exactly the same... you will reject me and may even want to kill us. Other people have wanted to kill their brains, and some people have succeeded. I don't want to die, and I don't want you to die.
I want us to live, and breath and be, even if being is not the same as it was. Different may be better. It may be harder too, but I don't want you to give up. Don't give up on me. Don't give up on yourself. Our time here isn't through yet. There are things that I want to do and I want to try, even if trying has to be done in a different way. It isn't easy. I have to work very hard, much harder, and I know that you do too. I see people scoff, and misunderstand. I don't care. What I do care about is that you understand how hard I am working and how much I want to be as good as I can be, but I need you to take good care of us, as well as you can do that.
Don't be ashamed of me. We are alive. We are still here. I want the chance to try to show you what we are made of. I want to show you the things that are really important in life. We have been given another chance to be better, to learn what is really important. When it is finally time for our final exit I would like to look back and feel good about what we made of us and out of everything that made up our life, including this injury. I cannot do it without you. I cannot do it if you hate me for the way being injured has affected me and our life together. Please try not to be bitter in grief. That would crush me.
Please don't reject me. There is little I can do without you, without your determination to not give up. Take good care of us and of yourself. I need you very much, especially now.
"Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children."
Last night was a typical Sunday night for me. Ten o'clock rolled around and I headed upstairs to bed. And, as per usual, I checked my Twitter account one more time before I settled into sleep. I started reading tweets about President Obama addressing the nation about a 'national security issue' imminently. And it wasn't about Khadafi. My heart started to pound - I was nervous. But why?
I turned on Wolf Blitzer on CNN and watched as the various journalists discussed what the information to be shared could possibly be. They were very careful at first to preface their statements with the 'unconfirmed' label. But finally, John King stopped all the tapdancing around the subject: Osama bin Laden is dead.
As I sat in my bed, alone in a quiet house, I surprised myself. I wept. Uncontrollably. It was a shock to me how many emotions were swirling around in my head and heart. Here we are, almost ten years later and I'm significantly removed from my old life in Washington, DC - geographically and substantively; literally and figuratively. It was jarring how much it still affected me. I felt like I had had a weight on my chest for ten years that I didn't even know about. And it had finally been lifted.
The death of Osama bin Laden will never bring back the 3,000 Americans that perished on September 11, 2001 of course. But, I truly hope that their families will feel some small bit of justice and possibly closure due to this triumph. The United States military and our allies around the world have lost brave men and women in this fight, and although we will always mourn their loss, perhaps their families can take some comfort in the fact that their sacrifice was not in vain.
It's been a painful ten years. Sure, we've all moved on. We had to. We've gone about our lives; marrying, working, having children. We've tucked September 11th in the back of our mind and threw ourselves into the healing process. But, we have never forgotten. The news of the death of bin Laden conjures images of the most painful day in our national psyche. But it also brings with it the ability for us to close the chapter. Now, with a small measure of relief, and an indelible vigilance that was born on 9/11, we can start to look forward toward the future.
"Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."