OK, three times, but once happened before we even left, so does that even count? It does? Fine. Then call me a thrice crier (and a once panic attack sufferer for those of you keeping count–those three terrifying, yet blissful minutes spent hiding in the bathroom texting my friend Nikki were just enough to propel me back into the fray). I feel like I’ve been a little one-note here of late, but despite being pretty OK with words, I’ll not be capable of using them to explain how the MDA Muscle Walk affected me–before, during or after.
I have a heap of thanks to impart, but writer’s block has been a bee-otch the past few weeks. Toss in a bit of overtired, sprinkle it with too many simultaneous places to be every single evening, and top it with a coupla’ three work presentations, and, voila! You end up with last week’s me. A fragile, taped-together newsprint version of me.
Before: People from all walks of my life showered our team with funds. My fundraising goal was $2000, and even that I felt was lofty. I kinda thought that last year’s bankroll was a boon from the shock of people’s
pity concern for us, and by us I mean our son, being a newly diagnosed individual and me, the shocked and unglued parent. I believed that $2000 was lofty, beyond my wildest ideations, and our team more than doubled that. People who know and love (or at least like) us dug deep into their pockets to support us. Because I asked. People who don’t know me beyond the written word dug deep into their pockets to support me. Because I asked. I wonder sometimes if I am doing anything right in this world; am I deserving of the terrific people and gifts with which I’ve been bestowed? I guess this is proof that you like me, right now, you like me. And you have to read that in the tone of voice Sally Field used in her Oscar acceptance speech, click here if you want to relive the moment with Ms. Field. And if you’re too young to get the reference. . . nothing, I’m just jealous that you’re that young.
As we were readying to leave for the zoo, my husband decided it was that moment, a moment of pure perfection like no other to fertilize the lawn. I wanted to beat him over the head, but instead I consciously remembered that he and I maneuver our freakouts from different perspectives. This year, his nerves manifested in an intense desire to engage the old Scotts broadcast fertilizer spreader. The man has got to work on his timing.
During: I’m not a godly gal, but if I were, I’d say that the heavens were shining upon us that day. The rain ceased, the clouds busted up, and the sun even shone during the walk itself. For reals. It was as if a force was like, “HEY! Stop it down there!! It’s hard enough to be there. Can we just give ’em a break for an hour, m’kay?” I doubt whatever force was invoked would use “m’kay” as it directs the universe, but we call this artistic license, m’kay? I cried when another mom, whose team raised like a million dollars (slightly less in point of fact) since her daughter’s 2015 diagnosis told her story–it could have been me saying those very words–and cried again when she couldn’t continue speaking through her sobs, and then her husband stepped in. I was touched by this show of love for her and his daughters.
After 16 months, I finally introduced myself to two MDA employees I’d been in phone/email contact with. They’re both so lovely and dedicated (thanks Kelsie and Stacey!). I stepped on Kelsie’s foot when she hugged me and I think I stuttered a lot around Stacey and made really poor eye contact, but I made eye contact! A lifelong friend of mine, my friend Steve, whom I’ve known since fourth grade but rarely see in the grown-up real world, and his family came to the zoo to walk with us. They drove two hours to be there with us! I couldn’t even speak, and I didn’t want to cry, so instead I said stupid, banal things at first. But wheel and walk around the zoo we did. And it was OK.
After: You know, I’m still not able to record in words how I feel. In some ways the walk was harder than last year, but I’m relieved that my husband felt just the opposite way–he talked to the mom whose fundraising broke records, told her our child had been newly diagnosed too. He approached Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin, who hung with us for awhile, and gained some LGMD insight from their exchange. Man, I hate having to be there. No, I hate that it took my son being diagnosed for me to be there. True, but no, not quite that either. I hate that he has MD, there. I do, but I am happy that his diagnosis has helped the greater effort. Even as I type, my eyes are misty–because he has MD, yes, and also since I was able to help support the MDA BECAUSE OF YOU! I’ve abandoned every expression of thanks I’ve attempted as paltry and platitudinous. Others say it better, say it like this for example:
My words ring hollow though I believe I flex my gratitude muscles with regular effort. These people? You wish they were your people, you totally do. Ordinary, everyday people who show a generosity of spirit unlike ordinary, everyday random folks. They share their time, talents and treasures and make the big, wide world, and not just my corner of the big, wide world better.
Only a small part of Team GTG walked Sunday. Here’s our complete roster, and if I missed anyone as I was typing here, please forgive me: Mary Holsten, John Weir, Ryan & Sara Weir, Steve, Robin & Cailin Inman, Barb & Adam Berman, Sue Ceaglske Clark, Maggie Grigaitis, Ruth Messnick, Ann Calverley, Rene Damask, Stacy Skenandore, Beth Klein, Lisa Lien, Barbara Henry, Jill Olen, Gwen Evseichik, Kathleen Duncan, Dan Simmons, Jenna Stoll, Kathy Gregorski, Meera Gummaraju, Ann Kukowski, Michelle Sjoblom, Deanna Evans, Ginger Macdonald, Jennifer Boyanton, Deb Ripley, Michelle Thorpe, P.J. Early, Sally Warkaske, Jennie Guenthner, Christine Carey, Alicia Kraucunas, Terry Radtke, Amy Van Ells, Margo Turner, Rose Hill, Tracy Klement, Kris Imobersteg, Rose Mary Walecki, Marie Baumeister, Patti Dillon, Amy Behrendt, Bridget Panlener, Jen Sanders, Bob Kosky, Michele Nixon, Bek Szypula, Valerie Hoehnke, Beth Sandmire, Janice Schwind, Lori Wagner, Lisa Nassour, Sue Wacker, Nikki Leininger, Colleen Haubner, Heidi Reid, Shelly Weisse, Nicole Garza, Maureen O’Donnell-Gray, Rebecca Halsey-Schmidt, Diane Woppert, Dena Rubnitz, Terry Weir, Janet Sandner, Carly Ruggieri, Jodi Liebelt, and Dawn Kaliszewski.
YOU DID THIS!
And to answer the $64,000 question I’ve been asked so frequently of late–no, I do not know the identity of the individual who saw to it that $1,000.00 was directed to our team. Do I want to know this person’s identity? You betcha, but there’s no way to know. I am going to find a way to live with the intrigue. Though I cannot thank you properly, I am no less grateful to you than to anyone who has supported us fiscally or with the support that comes in the form of a hug, a kind word when I’m talking too much, or a smile.
I was terrified to begin blogging. I remember feeling anxiety I’d never known the first few times I hit “publish.” My friend Jen blogs, and in one of the first posts of hers I’d read, she wrote that if her story helped one person, even one, then it was worth it. I hadn’t dreamed I would be helping anyone but myself when I began my little creative writing project. Immediately after, all I knew was that I needed to write, because to talk? Talking was impossible. Writing was a vehicle I could park and hand the keys to someone else who might read what I had to say. I could never talk to people and ask them to donate to the MDA, but I could write it. So I did. And you did. Thank you.