I admit, I’ve been a little off these last few days, struggling with finding my groove, feeling a bit blurry on what to do next. The kids have swiftly transitioned back to school, and I feel a little, um, lost…for the moment.
The ride had such a big impact on me that I have yet to wrap it up with a single post. I never expected so many wonderful messages, first congratulating me with virtual high-fives and hugs, and then asking…what next?
I know, I know…what next? It feels weird not to have something on the calendar but I’m taking advantage of this time to just ‘be’, even though that seems to be a struggle too these days.
Yesterday I drove into Denver to help at the JDRF office, they are up to their eyeballs with event tasks. They have been working on multiple events and I offered to help when they mentioned how busy they were.
Upon my arrival I found out that the twelve story building that their office resides in had just lost its power. No air conditioning, no nothing.
The service staff kept making announcements with hopes that they would have the power back on by 12:30. It was already 10:00, my hormones were raging, causing my own little heat wave, I was in a dark conference room taking inventory of event banners and I just couldn’t focus.
There I was alone with my thoughts and don’t forget the sweat, struggling to be in the moment. I was tempted to talk some of the staff into going out for an early lunch, but I had even stronger thoughts about laying down, just for a minute….right over there, in that nice cool, dark area under the table.
I kept telling myself to just finish it already, just be done with it. Then I noticed the wall across from me, black and white photo’s of children, smiling, adorable children,…all having Type 1 diabetes.
Well that didn’t help me focus in the least. Chubby little cheeks, freckled noses, bright eyes and big smiles. By now I am completely preoccupied and cursing the awkward, oversized banners as I wrestled to get them rolled back up.
Naturally I started thinking about curing Type 1, about all of the families that have gone before us. Families that have gone through this cycle of hope, commitment, advocacy, and frustration. Sometimes giving up and sometimes getting stronger. Years and years of hearing, we are ‘this close‘ to a cure. The task at hand, taking inventory of the banners, suddenly, did not feel like it mattered.
Screw the banners, we need a cure.
But then I looked at those sweet faces on the wall and imagined all of the friends and family attached to them. All of the hope, love and faith that is interconnected, everything that connects us to a commitment to find a cure.
So, I kept working, unrolling the banners, marking them, taking inventory and rolling them back up. The power finally came back on, the air conditioning restored, but…I was still sweating. And if you’ve been following along, you’ll know that if I’m not crying I’m usually sweating, so I’m not sure that the air condition was that big of a help anyway.
One of the staff members heads out to a meeting, yanking me out of my deep thoughts about tedious tasks, cures and getting older. She yells out a thank you, wrinkles up her nose and adds, ‘It’s such a tedious job‘. I shrug my shoulders and tell her, “My pleasure, it had to be done.” But yes, I agree, a tedious job.
So about those banners.
Those banners? Those banners will welcome new families to the walk, families that want to do something to be a part of the T1D community, ones that want to find a cure. Their journey is just beginning.
Those banners will lead familiar faces to the registration tables, families that have been waiting and working towards a cure, inspiring others to stay strong and keep moving forward.
Those banners will thank the sponsors for supporting the event and for stepping up to be a part of a cure.
Those banners will point walkers in the right direction, show them where to start and give them direction…leading them towards a cure.
So where do those banners bring me? They bring me back to gratitude.
Thank you to everyone that treasures the tedious while keeping an eye on a cure. I needed that moment in Denver to remember that everything matters. You matter, those banners matter, tedious or not, every task matters when you are on your way to a cure.
Thank you to everyone that cheered, supported and sent messages before, during and after the ride. Thank you to all of the riders that come back year after year and embrace the new riders, like me, making our experience that more magical. Thank you to the drivers on the roads that day, at least the ones that gave us space and passed us ever so safely ;).
Thank you to Mike Clark for encouraging us to take it all in, to open ourselves up to the whole experience…and to stay within ourselves on the road. Thank you to Mark for telling me not to lolly-gag on the first half and I’ll do just fine. He was right. I was going to stay within myself, but I believed that there were 100 miles in me that day.
Thank you to my friend Deanne, her husband Eric and there amazing boys for making that day exceptionally special, I really can’t thank you enough. Thank you to Moira McCarthy Stanford for too many reasons to list here, but she knows every one of them and I’m hoping that we can talk about them when I come to visit you at the beach club someday soon. Tennis anyone?
Thank you to all of the coaches that rode with me along the way, Coach Cathy, I look forward to seeing you again and a big thanks to the one coach that gave me a tip on the hills, “Don’t look too far ahead, just do a little at a time and smile at them“, I really did smile at them and to that group of riders that passed me on the way, if you were wondering, yes, I was talking to myself, actually chanting, “just do a little and smile, do a little and smile, do a little and smile…” Thank you to my friend Jenni who gave me sage advice prior to the ride, “Just imagine riding from buffet to buffet“…and yes, that worked.
Thank you to the rider that checked on me when I stopped in the shady spot to stretch and eat a snack in the middle of the big hill. I asked her about where I was on ‘the‘ hill, I can still here her say “Oh, I’m not going to lie to you, you’re about 1/2 way through the hard stuff“. I loved that moment.
Thank you to Bridget O’Boyle, you are just lovely and I can’t wait to ride with you again. Thank you to the Heaviland-Bishop family for making the finish line that much sweeter and for the hugs, the support and everything in between, I’m so glad that you were there.
Thank you to my Mom who has always cheered me on and passed the “don’t give up” gene on to her children.
Thank you to the amazing event staff that made the weekend so seamless. Thank you to the Utah Chapter that had me laughing in Minneapolis, way before we even knew that we were headed for the same destination and kept me company on the way home. Thank you to the Missouri Chapter for taking me in and showing me kindness throughout the weekend, can’t wait to see you all again. Thank you to my friends, old and new, for believing in me and for supporting our family as we continue to work towards a cure.
There are so many to thank, I will continue my gratitude list as I move through this experience, I already know that I have more thanks for Mary, Darla, Sue and Jessica.
Thank you to Tony, Logan and Zoe for giving me the time, space, love and understanding…I know it’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it. Thank you for not running the other way when you see that twinkle in my eye as the wheels start to turn and I say “I think I’m going to….” I could never do it without you.
The thought of all of us, 200+ riders, somehow connected to T1D, out there on the road pedaling for a cure, well that matters and these events wouldn’t happen without you.
Miles and miles of hope, connected by you, by T1D, and by our hearts. Sharing one passion, one reason to ride, walk or run…for a cure.
I left Denver that day still not knowing what is next but remembering that everything matters.