Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I was so proud of my children. They worked so hard to make this event happen. They were Co-Chairs for a Mini Golf Tournament to benefit The Wellness Community of Philadelphia. All of the proceeds of the event are going to help kids with cancer. At first, when we made the commitment for them to be chair people, I wasn’t sure that they would understand the importance of their role as organizers of the event but they did not disappoint.

They printed out letters and sent them to our friends and family to acquire sponsors. They made a particularly compelling presentation to their grandfather and a few other people. They also walked around the town of Wayne and asked small business owners to donate items and were quite successful in this endeavor. Almost every business they approached was willing to give something- even if it was small.

My son and two of his friends who were also co-chairs spoke in front of his school assembly and told the children about the event and the mission of the organization. They wanted to make sure that the event was well attended. The kids they spoke to were very excited about helping kids with cancer, playing mini golf and of course having ice cream.

I was touched by the honesty that Luke had during this presentation. “My family has had a lot of cancer,” he said as he took the floor. “One person has died from it, one person is dying from it and my mom had it. This event means a lot to me.” I almost burst into tears. Cancer has made a huge impression on my ten tear old. He won’t ever forget what we went through.

On the day of the event we had a great turnout and raised about $20,000for The Wellness Community. Most importantly, the kids had fun while raising money for a worthy cause.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lessons Learned

The moments have been rushing by lately. The children went back to school, which of course is a huge transition from the slow pace of summer. All of a sudden we are moving at warp speed by comparison and my brain is literally trying to catch up with the increased logistics that are required to keep a family running. In fact, I have made a couple of really great mistakes. The best one was putting my ten year old son on the wrong bus to go to school in the morning (is it the menopause or just me???).

Because he was embarrassed at the idea of mom coming down to the bus stop, he insisted I wait in the driveway until the bus came. As a bus pulled up, I saw the middle school children getting on and I thought that this was his bus.

“Luke! That is your bus. Get on it!” I yelled from the driveway. He looked back at me and dutifully followed orders and boarded with the big kids. As soon as the door of the bus closed I realized my mistake. There was another bus almost directly behind that bus which was the one he was supposed to be on.

I tore down the hill and ran to the bus driver. “My son got on the wrong bus and it is going to the middle school! Can you stop it?” I was panicked. It was the second day of school and his first time on the bus. Fortunately, the bus driver was wonderful and radioed the dispatcher to let him know what happened. I was thinking too. I ran inside and called my next door neighbor whose son takes that bus.

“Do you have Griffin’s cell phone number? Luke got on his bus by mistake.”

“Sure, but he may not answer.” She replied. I hung up and called his cell immediately.

“Griffin, this is Mrs. Egan, Luke got on your bus by mistake. Can you find him?”

“But I don’t think he got on.” He replied. “Oh, no he is here, Do you want to talk to the bus driver?”

He handed the phone to the driver and I tried to figure out where I could get Luke to get off of the bus. I jumped in my car as the phone rang. It was the dispatcher.

“Sorry Mrs. Egan, you will have to drive to the middle school to pick him up.” Great, now he was going to be late on top of everything. I drove as fast as I could to try to intercept the bus. Finally, I saw it drive by on the street in front of me as it pulled into the parking lot of the middle school. I saw my sweet little son sitting in front waiting until all of the children had disembarked. I waved to him, he saw me and came rushing over.

“Great mom, you just embarrassed me in front of about one hundred kids and now I am late for school.” He complained, but only a little bit.

“Well how was the middle school bus?” I asked.

“It was okay. The kids are all really loud.” He replied.

With that I looked at him and thought, “He really is okay.” What a huge relief. I was proud of him for putting it all in perspective. The experience could have been frightening but he didn’t seem scared, in fact he seemed a little bit amused. Good for him, I thought, he has been through scarier things and has come out the other side. Maybe, just maybe, we can all learn a lesson from that.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Long and Winding Road

Recently we celebrated my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary in Colorado at my sister’s house. It was a gorgeous night as we raised a glass to toast their special day as a bagpiper played in the background. At that moment, there as the sun set, I thought of so many things. I thought about how marriage is about compromise and forgiveness among other things. I thought about how my parents made it through hard times and also shared so many good times.

I thought about the keen sense of adventure and love of travel they have always shared. They both have a bit of wanderlust and will take a trip pretty much anywhere at a moment’s notice. This is not just because they are both retired; they have been this way since they got married.

Maybe that is because my grandmother, my mother’s mother, was dying of breast cancer when they were married. She was so ill that she had difficulty attending the ceremony and left the reception early. She was in the throes of chemotherapy to try to save her life. My mother and father began their life together with the acute sense that life is short and should be lived to the fullest, each and every day; they were only twenty four and twenty at the time. They were young and in love but knew that their time together could be cut short at any moment. So they decided to live out their dreams

My father had always wanted to live in Australia. So after they had been married a few years, we packed up and moved. My sister was six, I was four and my brother was 18 months old. We went on a wonderful month long cruise to get to our new home. After living in Perth for a year, we moved to Melbourne on the other side of the country. Eventually my mother got too homesick and insisted that we move back to the United States. We boarded a plane and flew to Hawaii and then Los Angeles so they could take us to Disney Land.

We moved several times over the next year or so and finally ended up in Atlanta. We moved once during that time; to a bigger house in a better school district. At that point, my parents decided they couldn’t uproot us again until after we finished high school. That didn’t stop their travels though, they left us often (yes, alone) to take trips to exotic destinations whenever they felt the need to get away.

The year I graduated from college, they sold our house and moved to Germany. This time it was my mother whose dream they were following; she had always wanted to live in Europe or Ireland. They were there for a year or two and then back in the States and then they moved to Northern Ireland for ten years.

All the while, my sister, brother and I were trying to keep track of their current address so we knew which house or country to call. They never seemed too concerned or phased by the fact that we found this to be unsettling. It wasn’t about us. My father would often say, “If I died tomorrow, I would have no regrets, I did everything I ever wanted to do.”

Even though I have resented what I thought was their selfishness at times, I have to admire their courage and commitment to each other. I realized as I watched them pose for pictures that they have stayed young at heart and they are still on a journey. And what a great journey they have had. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!