Yesterday, I had the privilege of representing Girls on the Run as a winner of the 4999th (!) Point of Light, given by the Points of Light Foundation and honored, along with other Point of Light winners, at a ceremony at the White House. President Barack Obama, the First Lady, President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush were in attendance as were a room full of Bush Family Members, Congressional Members and Points of Light staff and board members.
I’ve been chronicling much of this journey on my Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/mollyontherun Today, I’m on the train home. I’ve discovered that the train provides a kind of softer reentry into my real-person life…and when needed…a kind of forced time with my computer, emails that need returning and work that must be done.
Today, while on the ride home, I posted on my Facebook page(s), a few short conversations and small but relevant observations I had yesterday. I thought it might be kinda cool to compile them all here.
Alright…another stellar run on the National Mall, but THIS time in preparation for returning to earth…motherhood, bills, trains, grocery shopping and business as usual. I don’t know about you…but this whole Facebook/Twitter thing…while I know it has its challenges…I do feel and have become beautifully aware…of what connection is possible in that technological space. I am truly humbled by the immense amount of support and love I have personally felt over the last few days, but am well aware that this is the direct result of the incredible work of our volunteers, staff and girls around North America. It will be fun to see what doors will open because of this entire experience.
I’m on the train home and if you don’t mind, I want to share a couple of passing conversations and observations from yesterday while I make the journey home: The first for the day goes like this.
Molly: So Neil (that would be Neil Bush, the fourth of sixth children to George H.W. and Barbara Bush.) That must be weird being you. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have your DAD as the President of the United States.
Neil: You know, I can see how you would say that. But it’s what we grew up with…his political life was just part of our childhood experience: but if you want to know what’s really weird…it’s having your BROTHER be President of the United States.
Molly: You know? I never thought of it quite like that.
We laughed, pretty hard actually.
(That’s Neil Bush on the left and Kathy Hamilton and Floyd Hamer, Winners of the 5000th Point of Light)
Observation Number Two: President Bush’s socks and Barbara Bush’s eyes. Both were bright! Both were intense! Both brought a lot of light to the day! As President Bush took the stage, in a wheelchair (he is recovering from an extremely tough bout with pneumonia), I was struck with how intensely Barbara Bush sent support and strength to him through her eyes. She did not take her eyes off of him, the entire time…It was very clear to me that she is a force to be reckoned with.
Okay, so observation #3. Washington needs more balance. Capitol Hill needs more people who, like the Daily Point of Light Winners I met. are hopeful dreamers with an entrepreneurial, enthusiastic, let’s-do-this and optimistic spirit. I have to believe this spirit was what drove our nation’s founding mothers and fathers to actually create a government. Think about it! These guys (admittedly, there weren’t many women, if any) got together, reviewed what existed, what worked, what didn’t and basically founded a start-up government. I LOVED watching the more traditional members of the “system” interact and be engaged with the “Points of Light.” There was something magical about that engagement, poignant and moving really.
(That’s Jude Quinn. He is another Point of Light winner who started SilverbackKS.)
Okay…so conversation #4. At the luncheon prior to the 5000th point ceremony, I was chatting with Pierce Bush, the 27 year old son of Neil Bush. I asked him about what that must have been like…trying to be a teenager…and go through all that adolescent angst as a member of the Bush Family. He shared with me (as his father had done only moments earlier) that it was just part of their life…it was just his experience, being in that family. I mentioned, though, that pressures are probably even greater now that social media is so prevalent. He shared with me a story about how he was in college and with friends in Austin. There was a rather famous (and sadly homeless) transgender person, well known on the streets of Austin, who was somewhat of a legend there. She was “caught in a photograph” with him…and how the naysayers and “out to get” you kind of people had a hay day with it. I can’t imagine, frankly, how difficult it would be growing up in any kind of celebrity home. Navigating our way through the teenage years is hard enough…add the whole world watching…I have such compassion for those in the public eye.
So final observation from yesterday…Yesterday’s attendees and experience confirmed what I have experienced in my own life and what I believe rests within the spirit of Girls on the Run: What do Orrin Hatch, Nancy Pelosi, President George H.W. Bush, President Obama, Barbara Bush, Michelle Obama…Bush supporters and family…Obama supporters…Points of Light Winners…Democrats, Republicans, young, old, rich and not-so-rich…what do they all have in common? The capacity to give, the potential to connect, and most importantly the desire, when simply given the chance, even in the smallest sliver of an encounter or conversation, to be themselves.
(I would kindly ask that if you are going to make a comment, it remain rooted in the same respect I hope was portrayed in this piece. Actually I expect nothing less, based on who visits here!