When I was running at the lake the other day-a unique form of torture and sanity saver- my mind was wandering all over the place. Now, first let me say that I am not an out rightly religious person. I have been exposed to a variety of religions and attend church, though not always the most consistently. Especially when the kids were younger I felt more "peace" at home by myself folding a basket of laundry than I did chasing and shushing toddlers in the church balcony. I was raised Presbyterian, was a nanny for a Jewish family, got my Master's from a Catholic college and now am a member of a Lutheran church. I don't think it is unusual for people to question their own beliefs. In fact, I think it is healthy. It would not surprise anyone to know that I question them all the time. So, without getting into that any deeper into religion than that- this is what I concluded on my run: I am grateful the people I have been fortunate enough to connect with in my life. Somehow, there has always been someone there who knew just the right thing to say or when to not say anything at all. Often times, they fade in and out and sometimes I didn't even realize until after the fact the important role they played.
I was thinking back to when Tylie was diagnosed. Without my friend J, I am not sure where I would have been! She was the one who had encouraged me to go back to school and to give me the jump start allowed me the privilege of being an instructional assistant in her classroom. Between her and my friend T, who also happened to be our daycare provider, I was able to somehow come to the realization that I would be doing no one in my family any good if I quit everything just to take care of Tylie. Tylie's preschool teachers were amazing and along with T, came to the hospital to learn about counting carbs and what highs and lows looked like and what to do when they occurred. And T was right there again when TJ was diagnosed and learned to give shots without missing a beat!
There are our family friends A and C and their family. We needed to go to Vegas for a family wedding and wasn't in our budget to take the kids. Over Easter vacation, A moved in and took over. C. spent hours on Easter making a huge race track with them only to find out it didn't work! Their entire family took them in on Easter Sunday as if they were theirs. When Tenley was in the hospital with pneumonia and we missed our spring break ski trip, A brought her over a bag full of art supplies to cheer her up. When my husband had his surgery, A and C stayed at our house with the kids and took over when I had a mini nervous break down. C ran a half marathon with me because it was my goal to do it before I turned 40. She was not even 21 and she plodded along with me through wind, rain, snow and a bum knee!
My friends S and F arranged a huge basket of gift cards for food when Troy was in the hospital. And every time a kid is in the hospital gift cards mysteriously arrive! For awhile it was so frequent I accused the kids of getting sick just so they could eat at Applebees! These two make me laugh all the time and when it's time to debrief they can always be counted on for pedicure's or a tea! And, of course, there are our friends the P's who share the trials and tribulations of having four offspring and who's 7 year old is like TJ's watchdog when it comes to blood sugar and gluten free food!
R and D are my "running buddies." Through our early morning shuffles we talk about everything from sports, to kids, to work. D is possibly the most self-confident person I know. She just got a Harley She and I have started running 5 and 10 K's a couple of times a year. My husband wonders what we talk about on these runs- interestingly we never run out of things to say and she is part of the reason I am always questioning things.
There have also been some reconnection's that stand out in my mind. My home town friends and I started having yearly gatherings about 7 years ago. Nobody can know you like people who knew you in high school! And if they are still your friend- well, that's a gift! M is an outgoing, diverse woman. She is always there with a hug and her straight forward talk that sometimes got on my nerves in high school (how could she be so sure of herself?) was suddenly very appreciated! She has been the recipient of many a late night email when I have been in a medical funk, not only for her nursing expertise but just because I needed that confident voice. And, they way she survives her own roadblocks amazes me! There is also L who I am lucky enough to see more frequently and my girls LOVE her breakfasts! And, of course, B- my skating friend who is now my D-mom friend. She thinks that we are helping her but she has no idea how talking to her has helped me!
Interestingly, in church today, the subject was of connections within larger communities. The people that I have named above are just a few of the people we have been lucky enough to connect with regularly. I can't even thank enough the stranger who held the door open for me when I was juggling packages, a stroller and a lagging toddler and desperately needed to sit down because I was pretty sure that someone's blood sugar was crashing. Or the numerous teachers and coaches that have allowed our kids to be kids. And the incredible team of teachers that I work with who had beautiful yellow flowers waiting on my desk when I returned to work after T's diagnosis and my grandma's funeral. It wasn't a good week. It was also, in retrospect, great that my instructional assistant at that time was a no nonsense guy. If I would have had to deal with an overly emotional person at that time I am not sure I would have ever stopped crying! We are very lucky - and blessed- to have made such connections!