Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sun Beams: Walk the Talk

It's been over two weeks since the RAEdiant Striders braved the inevitable downpour and walked for the Epilepsy Foundation on March 31st. A lot has happened in those two and a half weeks which is why this post is late in coming.

The RAEdiant Striders!

First, I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to those that came out to support us. It meant the world to me that you came even though we all knew a torrential rain was heading directly for us. I even cried a little because even though I know we're not alone there are times when I feel like we are and seeing you all gathered there in spite of the weather overwhelmed me with feelings of the support and care you have for us.

Rae was fascinated with the purple balloon.

Secondly, a big THANK YOU to everyone that donated to our walkers. By the end of the weekend we raised $355 for the Florida Epilepsy Foundation. Their grand total for Walk the Talk was $44,986 and we couldn't have done it with out your contributions.

Our little RAEdiant Strollers ready to ride!

Thirdly, a big THANK YOU to those that wanted to be there, but were not able to due to prior commitments or illness. I appreciate that your hearts were with us.

Tuckered out after an exciting long day.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Plan

When I was about 8 years old, I remember going into the woods behind my house and digging in a giant dirt mound. I imagined that orangey, clay like mound was an archeological dig site (it was actually dirt from a retention pond they made for a new subdivision) and I was on the verge of discovering something of great scientific significance. I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be cool to be an archeologist and help rediscover the past?" I'm not really sure why that particular occupation was the front runner for an eight year old, but I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the giant stacks of National Geographic magazines my Dad had in our living room. Secretly that became my "plan."


I'm still doing photography,
just less of it than I did before.
Well, my "plan" changed and by the time I was about 14 years old I told my Grandmother that I wanted to become a photographer. My inner self wanted to travel the world, with no attachments, have wild adventures, and capture the world through my own point of view. The ultimate "plan" at that time was being published in National Geographic magazine. My Grandmother's reply to my chosen occupation, "Well, that doesn't sound to stable and they don't make much money." She grew up during the Great Depression and stability was everything to her. So, I nodded my head in agreement and said, "Maybe I'll become a physical therapist." (I liked helping people) My Grandmother smiled and thought that sounded like a great "plan." Truth be told...I HATE science!

Fast forward a few more years (past high school) and life has now gotten in the way, my "plan" of becoming a photographer was almost completely squashed for many reasons (one being a very unsupportive photography teacher that only showed interest in jocks and pretty girls), and I found myself running on the hamster wheel. My "wants" and insecurities overpowered my "plan." So, I caved, enrolled myself in college for a business degree and believed I was destined to become another corporate lackey. My "plan" changed once again. I HATED business! (primarily because of all the math)

Skip ahead two more years and I changed my "plan" again. Now I was diligently working towards a degree in History (kinda close to archeology...sorta). I worked, studied, read A LOT, wrote A LOT MORE, and managed to complete my BA in History with a minor in English Literature. I thought I'd get my Masters and teach at the junior college level someday. Education doesn't pay and I had bills...LOTS of bills. During all this time, I was on again and off again employed. I chalk it up to my restlessness because nothing I was doing was what my heart and soul were telling me to do. So, I made another adjustment to my "plan."


The proud college graduate!
Before I finished my degree (by the time I was 27), I was married, we were looking at buying our first home, and trying to conceive Rae. When the pregnancy test showed positive we had to work on a new "plan." I would return to work sometime after Rae was born. She would be enrolled in a good daycare and everything would be perfect. We'd build a garage for my husband's '53 Ford and I'd get a small studio space in our attached garage to work on my projects (I have never entirely given up the photography "plan"). The "plan" was perfect. We could do this!


Eighteen months after the birth of our daughter and I can honestly say, "We have NO plan!" Every day we are working towards the next day. Not a year from now. Not six months from now. Not even one month from now. We planned our life around the idea that there wouldn't be any major kinks in the "plan." Well, we had a kink...Rae has special needs. So, my "plan" has changed once again...it's a blank slate.

I still have a sketchy idea of a "plan" and it is usually prefaced with many "if's." IF Rae doesn't walk. IF Rae has to have a wheel chair. IF she has another seizure. IF the doctors can actually diagnosis her. IF we can find some assistance. IF...IF...IF...IF

What I can definitely "plan" for are more days like today... Taking a break to spend the afternoon with my best friend Olivia (Rae's honorary Aunt) & her son Oliver (Rae's boyfriend). Watching as Rae takes her first swim of the year and with gentle splashes in the water (a newly developed pleasure). Smiling as the water hits her cheeks and laughing at her own silliness. She had a great afternoon swimming, playing with Lily the cat (see video), eating Cheetos (yup, you read that right), and watching Dinosaur Train. I also "plan" to enjoy the present and try my hardest not to worry about the next kink in our "plan" that may or may not change our course.

video

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray."
Robert Burns