Thursday, May 15, 2014

Our team of support

I recall well the dreaded visit to the retina specialist when he said - its time to quit driving.  I knew and in a way it felt like a sense of relief as it wasn't feeling safe.  We were leaving for Disneyland the following week.  I turned in my driver's license just after we came back from from our trip with our kids and my parents in 1994. I remember well the day.  I was wearing a Mickey Mouse Sweatshirt :) and was playing out various scenarios regarding transportation.  The rest of life without driving at age 29 seemed pretty overwhelming.  When a neighbor came over to pick up her son from playing with my son. I told her today is the day I quit driving. Seriously, she said - what are you going to do.  I smiled and told her -- well, I don't have a choice.  I'll learn to walk a lot of places!   As much as I wanted to continue driving, I couldn't.  My eyesight had declined and it was not safe.   We would take it a day at a time. We had tried to prepare.  We had selected a home that was walking distance to elementary, junior high, grocery store, dentist, bank and the bus stop. This location and the incredible neighbors and friends around us blessed our lives immensely during this transition time.  This area and the people there represent so much love and support to me and my family.  They were on our team.

I now had an opportunity to reach out and ask for help.  Yeah, right.  This was so hard.  I had so many people willing to help.  Picking up that phone and saying - hey can I get a ride to the grocery store was so hard.  I longed to just go hop in my car and not involve others.   I learned to plan ahead. I walked a lot.  I learned flexibility.  When one of my children was in need of getting to an activity, suddenly I had the courage to call and ask for a ride.   

A group of amazing women in my neighborhood arranged a carpool to pick me up from work for the rest of that year each day.  Not only did that physically give me a lift from work - it lifted my spirits immensely.  It helped my family who simply couldn't be there for everything.  At a time when it all felt rather overwhelming, they stepped in and reminded me how support from our friends lifts us.  

Since those early days, there have been many wonderful people who have stepped in and become part of our team.  I am so grateful.  Sometimes it may even be a stranger that says - hey do you need some directions as I am standing getting oriented.  I have learned a lot about Interdependence -- we all need and help each other.  My mom tells me as a little 2 1/2 year old when she offered to help I told her, I can do it on my own!  I appreciate my spunk and determination, however, I also appreciate the growth and connections that have been formed as I've learned the value in having and being a member of a team of support.   We can't do life on our own!    
Just back from a 14 mile run in preparation for an upcoming marathon ... inspired by a team of support helping it be possible.
Although this hasn't been an easy trait to learn, resilient people reach out for help and form a team.  Experiencing such amazing people on my team has often had me reflecting and seeking how to help someone else and be a part of their team.  I've also learned the value in taking life a day at a time. 

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