Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A difference...

Today I've decided that I will share a quick story...
In 2008 I ran the NYC marathon.
I ran it again in 2009 and 2010 too.
I ran the marathon in honor of my younger brother who was diagnosed at the age of 23 with a rare pediatric cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma. 
I ran to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.

But this story isn't about my brother. This story isn't even about me, really.

This story is about a woman I "met" at the end of the marathon in 2010.
I put the word "met" in quotes because I didn't even really MEET her.
I don't know her name... Or even really remember what she looked like.

But I remember how she made me feel.

Two weeks prior to the marathon on October 22, 2010, my brother lost his battle to cancer.
On November 7th, just two weeks later, I ran the marathon on what would have been his 26th birthday.

If you look back at pictures of that marathon... they captured an amazing day with tons and tons of friends and family throughout New York City supporting me during my run.
Every photo showed a confident, steady smile on my face. Some of the pictures even looked like I was having fun.

The pictures didn't really tell the whole story. 

In the days leading up to November 7th I was in panic mode.
Grief and panic. I knew them both intimately.

After the draining weeks leading up to my brother's death and the grief that consumed me afterward... I had no idea if I would physically or emotionally be able to run this marathon.
In fact, I was SURE I couldn't.

But how could I not? This marathon along with the two previous marathons were FOR my brother.
After his death, didn't I owe it to him to run it? Of course I did.

So I ran.
It was HARD.
I wouldn't allow myself think about my brother or much of anything while I ran because I was afraid I'd break down.. that I'd have a panic attack or just lose it halfway through the run and stop...and not be able to start again.

I NEEDED to finish. That was all I needed to do.
So I ran and ran... and I finished.
I crossed the finish line.

As I walked past the finish area I was met by a small woman.
She was a race volunteer and she was there to escort me to pick up my after-race belongings.  
She started with small talk... or what she thought would be small talk.

She congratulated me for finishing... and then she asked me how the race was.
I looked at her through tear filled eyes and choked out the words,
"It was hard."

She said, "Hard?? Oh, you had a bad race?"

I said, "No, my brother died of cancer two weeks ago and today would've been his 26th birthday."

She looked at me in shock because I'm sure this was the last thing she was anticipating.

And then she hugged me.
She hugged me hard.

I couldn't control the tears that came. It was like I had held them in for 26 miles and she was there to see them all. 
She practically held me up.
She walked me to a chair and helped me find my bag.
She got me a gatorade and a bag of chips. The entire exchange between us lasted maybe ten minutes.

I don't remember many details... like her face or the color of her hair.
But what I DO remember was the kindess she extended to me.

She could've easily mumbled, "I'm sorry for your loss", handed me my bag and turned to help another finisher, but she didn't.
She wrapped her arms around me...a complete stranger ...crying... sweaty (and probably smelly after 26.2miles) ... and she hugged me.

So what's my point?

My point is...that one woman... made a huge impact on me during a pretty difficult time.

I think of that marathon day now, two years later. 
Much of it I can recall only from looking at the the pictures that were taken...everything a blur...
and yet, I can remember CLEARLY the comfort and compassion that was given to me by a total stranger.

And I've realized, it's really the little things in this life that make a big difference, isn't it?

The large things like feeding the hungry...sheltering the homeless... those things seem overwhelming and yes, they are. One single person is not capable of  accomplishing such huge, monumental tasks alone.

But starting small... one person CAN make a difference.
Something as simple as holding a door with a smile... lending a hand to someone struggling... making a meal for a neighbor...and yes, hugging someone who is hurting...  all those little things CAN make a huge impact.
And those are all things that ALL of us are capable of doing.

"At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel"

So what are we waiting for??  Let's start now! Pass it on... pay it forward.... Make a difference!

Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


It's been almost a month since my last post... I've been having a bit of trouble coming up with subjects to write about. 
Or maybe it's not lack of subjects... maybe it's lack of motivation to sit and write... or lack of attention.
I'll sit, but then.. oops! Something else grabs my attention. 
Or... If I get an extended amount of time to sit and write... it's NOT an extended amount of time before I sit and fall asleep. Who knows?


So this week we've been battling the stomach bug.
Battling is a joke... battling makes it sound like it's a fair fight.  When it comes to the stomach bug, nothing is fair... no one stands a chance... The stomach bug always wins.  I know people say love always wins... well, in a fight between love and the stomach bug?

Sorry love, prepare to have your butt handed to you(literally).

It's this time of year... Mid-march... the end of winter/early spring when the germs have festered so long... It's this time that I want to spray my children with bleach when they walk in the door after school.
I knew it wouldn't be long before we got hit. We were spared last year. Not so lucky this year.

I try to be so diligent.
I have hand sanitizer in my car, one attached to each kid's backpack and one in each of their lunch boxes.
You know that scene in the movie, "Almost Famous" where the mom yells to her son at school,
"Don't take drugs!"???

That's me... except I yell,
"Don't touch your face! Keep your hands out of your mouth! Use your hand sanitizer!"

My kids think I'm nuts.  
They get off the bus from school... and the first thing they must do when they get in the house is wash their hands...and if I don't think they've washed for long enough... I send them back in to wash again.
I want those hands so clean they could perform surgery if they had to.
Excessive, I know.
Annnnnnd....clearly none of that worked.

The first victim was hit on Thursday night at 11:30.
Just as I was falling into a deep sleep I was woken up by a twin telling me her sister had thrown up in her bed. 

As my feet were hitting the floor out of bed I was chanting in my head,

 "Please be a fluke. Please be fluke. Please be a fluke" knowing deep down..this was no fluke and we were all in for the long haul.

I spent all of Friday bleaching, lysoling, washing, cleaning, scrubbing, disinfecting...and for what?!?


I was the next one hit on Sunday. Woke up feeling yuck.
Ignored it... went for a run... went to church... halfway through church I thought...
"This is it... I'm going down."
Got home and was in bed all day. Well, in bed AND the bathroom.

I have to say... being sequestered to my room and watching the husband handle the kids from afar all day was quite nice(as well as entertaining!), although, I could've done without the throwing up.

The Hallmark channel kept me company... and I SWEAR, they just recycle the same actors for every movie.  Jason London? Come on. You're better than that, dude.

After me, it was like toy soldiers. Next one Monday... then another Monday night. 
I swear even our cat has some sort of bug.  I actually resorted to wiping her down with a clorox wipe.  Please don't call the humane society on me. Desperate times call for desperate measures!

Currently, there are two left standing in the house... the hubs and the oldest. 
Every night, the oldest looks like she's being sent to the electric chair as she walks down the hall to bed. She's filled with dread that she is going to be the next victim.  Can't say I blame her.
The waiting is the worst part!  And the not knowing WHEN... is terrible.

Will it be the middle of the night? On the bus?  At school??
I mean... at school? awful.

I think every adult has a story about how that "one kid" in elementary school threw up in the middle of the classroom or walking down the hall on the way to the nurse.... Ugh.

Who really wants to be that one kid remembered for THAT!? 
(seriously, try and tell me you don't remember that kid's name... EVERYONE remembers that kid's name!)

And as a mom... the waiting is absolutely the worst part.
I go to sleep every night thinking...
"Please let me get a full night sleep tonight. Please don't let another one get hit and have to start the sheets changing, laundry, disinfecting cycle all over again. PLEASE!"

It would be easier if we all got it at the same time. Like the chicken pox!
When we were little, our parents actually exposed us to the pox on purpose!!!
"Billy down the street has it...go down and get it. Get it over with!"

Maybe I'll start doing that with the stomach bug.
"Hurry up! your sister just puked... brush your teeth with her toothbrush! Drink out of her cup!

Instead ... this bug takes it's time... lingering... waiting for it's next victim... not knowing when or where....

And I know...with four kids, I should expect this.
Kids are germy.
They bring home every ailment known to man...

Stomach bug, pink eye, coxsacky (REALLY? Couldn't have come up with a better name for that one?)

Never heard of coxsacky until my kids got it.
The doctor said, "She has coxsacky" and I literally said, "Excuse me, what?!"
Kids are gross!

Honestly, I don't know how Michelle Duggar does it. She has what, 18, 19 ... 25 kids??(I've lost track)
What happens when the stomach bug hits them? It must be like an epidemic up in that house.
 And the laundry? I can't even imagine the laundry.

Oh wait, but she home schools her kids... so they probably aren't introduced to all those outside germs.

Home school.

Food for thought?

I don't think so.

So, for now... we wait.
And disinfect.
And continue on through the piles of laundry that have taken over the laundry room.