Saturday, May 15, 2010

Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis

Busy morning today! The girls and I participated in the Cystic Fibrosis "Great Strides" charity walk today. Despite her deep desire to go, Gina decided to be the responsible teacher that she is and teach her class. She really wanted to play hooky and come with us, but she knows there are a lot of people who look forward to her class and she did right by them. So today was important for two reasons. 1) I love any opportunity I get to do something with the girls on my own. It's important to me to prove to myself that I can go solo with two of them and come out fine. Gina does this day in and day out so I like to know that I've got the chops. 2) This is the first opportunity of, I hope, many for me to involve my girls in something bigger than ourselves. My mother raised me to understand that there are others different than I am and that it's my responsibility (not someone else's) to respect that difference and to be compassionate towards it. I know it's just a bunch of "liberal crap" to some people, but to me it's important to look at the bigger picture. As a nation, as a community, we are only as strong as our weakest links. Overused cliche, maybe, but sound truth as well. I want my girls to grow up compassionate. I want them to care about other people. I want them to be a shinning light in a dark world. That is one characteristic I really want to instill in them. That will be my mark on them. It was quite a powerful walk too. If you don't know Cystic Fibrosis is a degenerative condition, mostly affecting the lungs, and there is no cure. Treatment is limited and most suffers don't make it past their 20's or 30's - which is actually great because only a few decades ago people didn't survive to puberty. Now I don't know anyone with this condition but my company sponsors the event so that's how we got the opportunity to join in. Most of the people there are part of smaller teams. Team Sam, Team Hayden, Team Bryce. Each of these teams is a group of people who center around a sufferer and are there for the bigger picture, but mostly because of the one individual who has affected them. Not having such an individual it's hard to personalize the experience, so it doesn't hit you as hard as it might. We started walking early - there were a lot of festivities and with 7 month old's you've got a small window before happy-go-lucky turns to nightmare on elm street. So we were walking amongst a very small group of scattered people. And with daddies long legs it wasn't long before we were by ourselves - I should mention that Grandma, Pappa and our cousin Connor were there also but Grandma's an equally fast walker so she was with us the whole time. ... Pappa. ... well, he tried. Anyway, on the way back we came head to head with the bulk of the group headed in the opposite direction. This is where you really got to see all the different "teams". Different colored shirts with home made logos - kind of looked like an adult softball league competition, minus the booze of course. This is where it hit me. One group with the name "Team Sam" on their green shirts past us. About 20 yards behind was a few stragglers with a stroller. As we past the stroller I heard the mom lean over and ask the 3 year old blond boy "how are you holding up Sam?". I could have lost it then. Suddenly there was the face that I was missing in all of this. This three year old boy was why people where here. This three year old will never grow up and play sports, never grow up the way my girls will, if anything he'll be lucky to grow up at all. This is the compassion that my mother instilled in me, and this is the characteristic I want for my girls. Yes, your heart aches for this boy, but that's the point. I feel so much compassion for him despite having any attachment. It seems so many people in the world today miss that. They can't see past their own little bubble. Who cares about the family who died in a mass shooting, or the community ravaged by a storm. Who cares about AIDS in Africa or a Tsunami in Malaysia. I care. And hopefully I raise two more people who care too. OK, stepping off my soap box now. Shortly after this I get the call from Gina. Just checking in, seeing if they were going to nap and how they were holding up. "We're fine, hon! Almost finished." "Great, well I'll talk to you guys after class then." "Bye". Phone rings, "Yes". "You should probably give them a bottle before you leave cause they'll be hungry." "Ok, will do." "Love you, bye!". Phone rings, "Yes?" "Actually, don't give them a bottle. They'll just nap and I'll nurse them when I get home". "Ok, sounds good." "Love you guys, bye!" "Bye!" Phone rings - sweet lord! "There are extra binkies in the diaper bag." "OK". "That's all, bye!" Phone off. I know she's a mom, but my goodness, I feel like Stuart from MadTV "I do it!" "Nooooo, IIIII doooooo iiiittt!" Got to love it. On the surface she trusts me to do anything, but deep down I'm still a man and therefore I can never be trusted to do ANYTHING. Se la vie. By the way, girls were great, they're napping now and we had no issues. Just remind Gina of that next time you talk to her.

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