When I launched my own practice nearly a year and half ago, I started on a networking binge to build my contacts, and to find a place in the business community locally. For decades, my work had taken me around the country (and world!), so I knew relatively few people locally, and most of my closest friends (besides my sister) live within driving distance (miss you, Carol!)
During that first year, I met some of the most brilliant, compassionate, compelling women and men, and to my good fortune, many have become friends. This has surely been one of the many profound blessings that emerged from the courageous act of starting my career over again on my own.
Still, these new friends surprise me with their kindness, their attentions- even when they are certainly as busy as I am. They remind me that putting time and effort into friendships is essential, a priority that I don’t want to miss, because the resulting joy and fun and goodness multiplies the effort by a thousand fold.
Take this past Friday. My husband Jon and I were taking a much needed vacation alone to Mexico, and for the first time ever, we left the kids in charge of themselves and each other for 24 hours. We have a 19, 18 and 17 year old in the mix, the latter of whom it thoroughly rule bound, and very protective of the safety and wellbeing of his little sister (as are they all), an alarm and 2 dogs who enjoy the taste of human arm almost as much as feather throw pillows that I bought at Pier 1 NOT on sale because I liked them that much. So, we are good, right? Right. Sort of.
Friday afternoon, two of my ‘new friends’ stopped by the house to wish me a happy birthday because my co-blogger, Deb, had posted “have a happy day” on my facebook wall, leading them to believe it was my birthday. And, by ‘stopped by,’ at least one of them came from Saratoga, so it was a giant gesture of love and goodness. They were met at the door by Larry, trying desperately to control frothing, slobbering mad-like-those-Hunger-Games-scary-a$$-dogs-at-the-cornucopia, but failing and calling for her brother, the Protector-Rule-Follower, who proceeded to politely answer the door to these two beautiful women whom he later referred to as “those sketchy ladies who tried to tell me it was your birthday.”
If you know Kiki Wagner and Dana Moraci (both professional women quite active in the Make a Wish, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society volunteer effort, among others), you will find the mere use of the word ‘sketchy’ within a hundred mile radius of either of them downright hilarious. Like knee slapping, belly clutching, laughed-so-hard-that-tears-ran-down-my-legs kind of funny.
It was not my birthday, which comes in August (if August ever comes), but once labeled, I figured it was my job to own it, so I acted like it was and sang happy birthday to myself all day, which, for the record, tends to widely and publicly spread the belief that it actually is. Facebook posts wishing me a happy birthday started picking up, and before you know it, I was having a full on birthday!
Meanwhile, back on vacation, the laughter from the first day has tipped off a full on aesthetic “let yourself go” kind of week, like the kind where anything but the basics of personal hygiene go untended. By this point in the week, I‘m certain my eyebrows have taken over my face in true Muppet form, I’ve not even brushed my hair in some days, and I surrendered my make-up bag before we even left Troy. An inadvertent glance at the mirror on our last day in Mexico made me suddenly want to watch Castaway.
So, what this boils down to is gratitude. Gratitude for new friends, and long-standing ones. For the kindness of two women, whom I’ve just recently befriended, to come to my home, bearing gifts and kindness, just because they can, and they are. It reminds me to be a better friend, a better sister, even a better stranger to the people I love and know and meet.
And, mostly, their generosity of spirit reminds me to say thank you- often, much and all the time. Thank you for the goodness, and brilliance and strength that is your part in building this community, thank you for reading this blog, and for the opportunity to use my voice, and thank you for nurturing the friends and connections you have, that keep us knit together and all working toward happy, healthy lives for everyone.
Most especially, thank you Kiki, and Dana (and Andrea!) for showing me a kindness that lit a flame of gratitude that had gone exhausted with the rest of me, and at the exact moment I needed it.
This blog was originally published by the Times Union and can be accessed here.
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