I grew up in a small town.
Like, 3 square miles small.
There were less than 400 students in the high school...
70 students in my class.
You didn't take the bus to school... you either walked or your mom drove you.
You knew everyone in your class and everyone in the classes above you and below you too.
You knew your classmates' siblings, parents, and probably their grandparents too.
Some of your teachers had your parents as students and your aunts and uncles too.
You knew your classmates by the shoes they wore, the cars they drove, their taste in music...
If you had a boyfriend or girlfriend chances are, a few of your friends also dated that same person at one time or another.
There wasn't much to do in town... at least from a kid's perspective.
We hung around at the town diner.
It wasn't a weekend unless you stopped there at least once.
My grandmother used to frequent the diner. She sat at the counter, reading her book and smoking her cigarettes(back when you could still smoke in the diner)
I can't tell you the number of times I had friends come up to me and tell me they saw my "Gram" at the diner... and she gave them money to pay for their cheese fries.
That's the kind of town I grew up in.
It was BORING. Nothing even remotely exciting EVER happened there.
And now, as a parent, I do believe that's exactly why my parents chose to raise us there.
It's a safe town, a quiet town, a NICE town.
And after high school... I couldn't get out fast enough.
I wanted a big college, I wanted new people and new experiences.
I wanted to go somewhere where no one knew me.
I couldn't appreciate what a small town had given me... the people, the comfort, the love.
Actually, it was only a couple of years ago that I came to understand the beauty of growing up in a small town.
Two years ago this past October, I lost my 25 year old brother to cancer.
My family was devastated by his loss.
However, we were truly humbled and amazed by how our small town held us so close in our time of sorrow.
Families making meals and dropping them off to my family... we had food to feed our family AND a small army for weeks.
The letters and cards and phone calls... the stories that our small town friends shared uplifted our spirits and put band aids on our broken hearts....
There was a moment of silence held in my brother's honor at the high school football game the Saturday following his death... The high school soccer team wore his initials on wrist bands at their game.
Heartbreaking and yet so heartwarming all at once.
My brother's wake and funeral were like a town reunion,.... old friends, friends of friends, teachers, coaches, people I hadn't seen in years... all came out to support my family.
Our small town came through for us and helped us during the toughest time of our lives.
And now I've seen my small town come through again...
Just last week, a family from town received the devastating news that their four year old little girl has an inoperable brain tumor.
This little girl needs a miracle. This family needs prayers and strength and love.
And the outpouring that I'VE seen has been tremendous.
I've seen posts about this little girl's story posted by nearly all of my small town Facebook friends... spreading her story... asking for positive thoughts and prayers to help heal this sweet girl.
So if what I'VE seen is tremendous... I can only imagine what the family is feeling and seeing...the support they are receiving...the small town love.
I'm sure they are, as I was two years ago, ... overwhelmed and truly humbled.
This is what my small town does.
That said, the small town girl in me is sharing the story of Brooke, a little girl who can use all the love, prayers, positive energy we have....
So to whomever this story reaches... Whatever you've got, send it her way. And pass it on....Share her story. Please.
Peace, Love and RIGHT NOW