Let me just preface this post with the energy behind it. Imagine being 8 years old (or if you are 8, just be you)! Remember how things just felt new and exciting and you were bubbling up with life? Some of it scary too!
That’s me right now. I’m on my way to Washington DC, for an event at the White House celebrating the fantastic work of the Points of Light Foundation. I, along with four other Points of Light winners are being honored tomorrow by President Barack Obama and the First Lady! Former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady, Barbara Bush, will be in attendance too.
Honestly? I can’t even imagine what this will be like…feel like! I am representing Girls on the Run and the amazing movement “she” has become! I am here because of the love, passion and hours and hours of dedicated work YOU…our amazing coaches, board members, corporate and non-profit partners and Girls on the Run staff, have given to the world, our girls, the vision! This program would be nothing more than a curriculum, a book, resting on a shelf were it not for the hours and hours of your dedicated service, love, tenderness, strength, sharing-of-self.
I will be holding you in my heart as I wonder through this amazing experience.
To my kids…I carry your curiosity into the room…eyes wide open. I also carry with me the many, many sacrifices you have had to make, as a result of my being your Mom. The days I’ve traveled, the PTA meetings I missed, the birthday parties we had the day after your birthday! You have been so understanding. Hank, you were exactly 1 year old when I started Girls on the Run. You are 18 now. Grown up, moving out, headed to a life of your own. I see so much of myself in you…your questioning, seeking, gathering, warmth and willingness to be vulnerable. Helen, you are 15 (almost) years old, a free spirit, who so beautifully owns all of your actions, thoughts and beliefs. You possess a kind of power I didn’t know existed until I was much older. I wish you two could be here with me…but I promise, loves, to take lots of pictures and send them to you. Hank, I’m wearing the necklace you gave me for my birthday when I turned 50 and Helen…those boots…those red boots you gave me for my 50th birthday and inscribed with your little girl handwriting…I’m not yet sure whether they will be on my feet or in my heart…but the spirit of them will be with me, my girl.
For the “village” who has supported me over the years. You know who you are. My neighbors who have put up with the dogs barking at a midnight moon, while I slept in that deep sleep of exhaustion from too much travel; my family who has let me cry, stomp and share my fears of self-doubt, I love you OH so much; my children’s friends and your parents, for letting my kids virtually move in with you during times of high stress or extensive travel. You have helped mold them into the people they are today. For Liz and the crew back at Girls on the Run International…you hold this fort together, not only with your wisdom and intellect, but hearts and spirits. This organization is what it is today, because of your guidance, sleepless nights and love.
For those of you in recovery, or pondering…I carry the spirit of what is possible when we surrender to what is good, what is possible, what is within us all now, but is dimmed by the demons of addiction. Twenty years ago, I was one week sober…raw…only a few days in. I promise you there is a way out…one step…one day at a time. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
And to the girls…yes…the hundreds of thousands of you who have been a part of this program. I carry what you have taught me, given me, been to me…your strength, vulnerability, authenticity, curiosity, beauty, warmth and above all the love that is you…that is girl…that is divine! Yes, I am nervous and even a little bit afraid…but I have watched you…and seen what is possible when we just say it, be it, own whatever we are feeling, thinking…because it is in so doing, we connect, reveal, become what is beautiful.
I think this pretty much says what I’m feeling right now, as I journey on this train. Yep…