Posted by: Leigh Reynolds | May 7, 2012

Day Twenty

It is event season and that means weekends. We have a small staff and a lot of events, so it has been three weeks with events on the weekend and no time for a day off during the week. I have a long history of working like this – ever since I started my special event career, more years ago than I care to admit. When I worked at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, several weeks without a day off was common each fall, and I actually thrived on it.

But over the years, a lot has changed. For one, I am not the 23 year old, highly energetic girl I was when I started in this business. Now, 43, I value a good night’s sleep. I have learned the fine are of relaxing on a Sunday afternoon. And I am proud to declare I am a workaholic no more – been in recovery for years.

I now have three wonderful, amazing, joy-giving children and I do like to spend time with them. I miss making pancakes on Saturday, having party-dinner and watching a movie together on Friday night, and I even miss errands, ball games, ballet class, and all the other things we parents fill our “days off” with.

Then there’s this guy I like; commonly referred to as my husband.  We started out our relationship as best friends – even doing laundry was fun when we did it together. It has been a long road out and back again, but I can honestly say there is no other grown-up I’d rather hang out with.

So, last night, as I settled in to my hotel room, an odd assortment of goodies from the Whole Foods market for my late dinner, I missed them. I was not just tired, having been up since 4am, but I was weary. Three weekends on the road – Florida one weekend, New York the next and now Boston – is not as exciting to the 43 year old me as it would have been to the 23 year old me of yesterday. I lacked the pre-event excitement I have been known to feel the night before a big event. I thought, “boy, I just wish I was home” and I could feel the lack of my 18-month old son in my arms. Despite my bone-weary tiredness, I had some trouble sleeping.

When the alarm went off at 4am, I struggled to get up. My waking thought was, “Ugh, I just want to go back to sleep.”  As I got dressed, I prayed… God, please give me what I need to get through this and then get me home.

I got to the park and got to work. Unload the van, stack the water, get out the signs, ready the supplies. The rental company arrived and, almost on auto-pilot, I directed them where to place the stage and other items. Then the volunteers started to arrive and we got to work, me with a little more energy now because they were really nice folks. The group of high school boys there for their confirmation service hours were wonderful and it was hard not to feed off their energy a bit – plus, I really wanted their volunteer experience to go well.

As it got closer to 9am and check-in time, the walkers started to arrive. This walk was for Myasthenia Gravis and it is the first event of its kind on Boston. Most of these people have never had the opportunity to engage in this way for the disease that has so affected their lives. We had about 175 walkers and most of them came with teams.

There was Abby’s Entourage – all brightly adored in yellow T-shirts bearing that name and a ‘little miss sunshine’ cartoon character. Abby is about 5 years old – she had her name written on her sleeve in bright fabric markers and her hair in the cutest braids I’ve ever seen. Her team was huge, and their bright T-shirts were only outshone by their smiles. They were so happy to be there, doing something for this little girl they loved so much who just wanted to play without getting too tired. Who just wanted to see clearly, without double or triple vision – as she learned to read.

Then I noticed Beaulac’s Pride. They were all adorned with multiple strands of blue and green Mardi Gras beads and buttons with the picture of a gentleman that had a charming smile and a welcoming face. They carried these great signs with their team name, the MG Walk logo, and again his charming face. He reminded me of so many of the older gentleman at church that I love so much and value beyond words. Under that smile were two years. Mr. Beaulac lost his life to complications of MG just 6 months ago, at 80- years young, and his family was all at the walk for him – their loss still a little too fresh. I am not sure I can explain how or why this family affected me the way they did, but I was blessed.

And I could go on and on. Person after person was heart-warming, inspiring, kind, motivated and motivating, and just so happy to be there. To be somewhere, anywhere where they could do something about this damn disease that came along and altered their life-plan.

As I delivered the opening ceremony and spoke to them, it was no longer a script. In that moment, and for the rest of the morning, it was no longer a job. It was an honor and I was humbled to be there. To play my small part in making it happen.

Yes, I still miss my family. Yes, I will be so very glad to get home and crawl into my own bed tonight. Sure, it is still a long day and 20 days without a day off is still not my first choice. And indeed I am still looking forward to pancakes next Saturday. But tomorrow, as I worship in church – my wonderful church that I have had to miss the last few weekends – I will lift another prayer. This time, a prayer of thanks, because God gave me far more than just a little energy or enthusiasm to get through the day. He blessed me and allowed my work to be a blessing to these wonderful people, thousands of miles away from my home. And that is humbling. That made day 20 worth it.

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Responses

  1. Every day you make the world a little better.

  2. it’s days like this that help us feel not so crazy for choosing the profession we did. 🙂 you bring so much to so many people Leigh – and enhance their experience on what, to us, is just another day, but for them is one of the biggest things they’ll do all year. xoxo


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