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Photo Credit: The Independent

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.

~Theodore Roosevelt

This month marks the halfway point in my term as president of the Wallingford Rotary. If you would have told me when I joined Rotary three years ago, I would be president, I wouldn’t have believed you. But here I am.

When you reach the halfway point, it’s always good to stop, look back and look ahead. Looking back, we have had some wonderful events that I am especially proud of including our first Pancake Breakfast with Santa which had a great turnout despite the snowy weather, not such good weather for driving, but perfect weather for Santa’s arrival.

My personal favorite thus far though is the creation of our Interact Club with the students from MRU. I really wanted to connect the opposite ends of our community, the young adults in high school and the older adults. My hope was that we could join forces (kind of like superheroes) for the betterment of our lovely Wallingford area community.  The Interact students have helped out at every event we have had (since before they were even an official Interact Club) and were instrumental in making our Santa breakfast a success with their personalized ornaments for the little kids. The officers have been wonderful to plan and work with and we are very lucky to have their abilities, creativity and assistance.

Looking forward as I plunge into the second half of my presidential year, our club has been asked to host and cater the Zone’s Rotary Peace Center fundraising dinner here at the little red schoolhouse in the spring/early summer, we also have a Hungarian themed community dinner in honor of our lovely exchange student, Eszti in the wings as well as our old favorites, Bike Safety Day and looking past my term, our annual Lobsterfest!

While I can’t honestly always say that getting up when it is pitch black and frigid outside (like this morning) is my favorite (or even anywhere in the top 10), I do have to say that I feel lucky and blessed to have made friends with the men and women who are fellow Rotarians. It is well worth pulling myself up and out early on a Monday morning, I always leave that meeting with a smile on my face. I haven’t been a part of Rotary for very long, but I do feel that these folks go out of their way to spread good fellowship and cheer (even on those dark, cold mornings) which make it all worthwhile.

It’s hard to believe that it is halfway over, it flew by. I am excited to continue to meet new people and share laughs, community and good cheer with my fellow Rotarians throughout our community.

If you’d like to know more about Rotary or think you’d also like to get up for one of our sunrise (doesn’t that just sound so much better than 7 a.m.) meetings or one of our once-a-month dinner meetings (unfortunately at this time of the year, also in the dark), please let me know or just stop by…. we’d love to have you visit us.

 

 

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Tonight was one of the big milestones on life’s path – our oldest son graduated high school. Last night was the Senior Awards Ceremony and I am proud to say that TJ was the recipient of two scholarships and a bunch of academic commendations. He and his fellow classmates have a lot of talent and it was apparent at the awards ceremony, where there was much to celebrate over the course of the evening. As eloquently stated by our principal last night, the awards ceremony celebrated the students’ differences, their different achievements — be they in academics, community service, athletics or music. The graduation ceremony tonight celebrated their similarities – each and every one of the students tonight received the same diploma marking the conclusion of their high school careers and marking the same milestone on their life journey. They are a wonderful group of young men and young women that I have had the pleasure of watching grow in the years that I have known them. They have grown into amazing people that will do wonderful things in the years to come. I am very proud of TJ and his friends. They are amazing and I wish all good things to them.

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I think that the older they get the boys realize more and more how important they are to each other and how important their friends are to them. Tom and I have often told the boys as they were growing up that one of the best things to come out of our school and college years were the dear, dear friends that have shared many laughs and many tears in the years that followed college with us. Together, we have celebrated marriages, births, graduations and the growth of our children. We have cried together over the loss of family members, and other devastating life events. Good or bad, they were there for it all. Today, two of our very dear friends drove up with one of their daughters, our goddaughter, to be here for TJ’s graduation. It was a wonderful gesture and I know that they know how much it meant to both of us and for that I will be eternally grateful.

As the boys grow into their own lives and their own friendships, I hope that they are fortunate to find such dear, loving friends — friends that I have always liked to refer to as my “2 a.m. friends”. These are those friends that I know without any doubt whatsoever that I can call upon in the middle of the night  to ask a favor or talk to or cry  with or whatever and they will do it or be there without any question or any hesitation. These are the friends who were there when I miscarried and later when I was put on bedrest with TJ who brought me yummy muffins and smoothies and who believed in my ability to nurse when I wasn’t so sure myself;  the friends who did all kinds of amazing things for which I am eternally grateful for me and my family when my dad passed away suddenly; the friends who watched my boys when Tom and I came down with the flu at the same time and couldn’t move a muscle; the friends that would leave breakfast foods on my doorstep when we got here in the middle of the night or had dinner waiting when we arrived from New Jersey; the friends that come and spend the holidays with us and make me feel like we haven’t missed a beat in years; the friends that would drive 6 hours in total to be there for your son’s graduation because they know how much it means to you. These are the friends that I hope that my boys have the good fortune to have in their own lives.

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We are so fortunate to have such wonderful friends and such great sons. They have made me so proud that I think my heart will just burst at the seams. Tonight was an amazing ceremony and we are so proud of TJ and his fellow classmates and friends.

“I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.” – Anonymous

I love you TJ and am so very, very proud of you today and always. ~ Mom 

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I have started and stopped, typed and backspaced this post several times to get to this sentence. I know that I need to write something to get it out of me. Words have always been able to help me see things better, fell better and writing helps me cope– it’s my therapy. So bear with me.

Let me start by saying, “life is not fair”. Big surprise. We all know this but sometimes something happens that just smacks you in the face and you have to say it out loud. This is one of those times. We learned some devastating news about a friend. Both Tom and I are beside ourselves. It is because we feel for the friend and the family. It is also because of the sheer hopelessness that we feel in not being able to do more than the mere paltry offer of help wherever and with whatever we can, which is so inconsequential in the scheme of things that lie ahead for them. But it is the only thing, besides our friendship, that we have to offer. It is the empathy of knowing that we live by the fickle hand of fate, and it could easily have been any one of us touched this way. Life has a way of grabbing your attention and focusing your priorities. What you think today is so damn important may not be so tomorrow.

As you walk through your life today and in the days that follows remember this

~~~~The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for. Be thankful.~~~~

 

Well yesterday, TJ got his cast on. He really is quite happy for a kid with a broken wrist. The cast gives him back some of the use of his right hand and being right handed, this is huge. And pink. It’s amazing that in less than 3 hours, it was completely covered in signatures from his friends, teammates, teachers and coach. So nice to see him smile again. I missed that. And he will be able to play again starting next week, so he is thrilled about that. It is relieving to know that the fall didn’t kill his enthusiasm to play, which I was afraid it might do. Evidently, not at all. 

 

I heard a really nice thing yesterday which made me proud of my little guy. One of TJ’s best friends had pulled his hamstring during a soccer game. TJ ran out onto the field and carried his friend off the field with the coach. A small, simple task which came naturally to my son yet evidently meant a whole lot to his friend, who still speaks of it. When TJ broke his wrist, his friend remembered the small telling gesture and reciprocated.  

Another kind note, was our friends who own a cabin next to ours were coming up for the weekend. They offered to bring up a sushi dinner for the four of us to share for my birthday. Considering the week that Tom and I had, this was another small gesture (with an awesome amount of delicious food) that meant more to me after such a crazy week than they knew. A couple hours to relax with friends over a meal that I didn’t have to cook but was at “home” and not out, was big. Small gestures that speak volumes. Perhaps we all need to remember that kindness, friendship and generosity do not need to be grand because those things that are really small, but from the heart, mean more than you know sometimes.

Happy Birthday Daddy. Today is my dad’s birthday. Although he is no longer with us, he is never far from my heart. I miss him a lot and think of him often. I really wish that he was still around since I am so certain he would enjoy and be proud of his grandsons and love it up here in Vermont. 

Our friends Lou and Kirby (yes Lou I am using your name) are coming up again this weekend. They are some of our oldest and dearest friends and it is really very nice to hang out together. No matter how long it may be between our visits, we are able to just pick up without any awkwardness that might happen. That doesn’t happen with all friends and is an indication of a time-tested friendship. We have a sign in our home that Tom and I both feel is fitting — “It takes a long time to grow old friends”.

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