Prince Charming Isn’t Just In Fairytales

The shimmery gray dress nipped at her ankles, skirting the tops of her feet with a sassiness.  It had been an easy find, unique and affordable.   It brought out her inner Roman goddess, accentuating all of her attributes and masking the flaws.  

A company Christmas party.    What could and should be expected?   What was the protocol?  Who was there to impress?  It didn’t matter because this night allowed her to step inside of her comfort zone, to be someone that she wasn’t during the 9-5 monotony of Corporate America.   This was her night to be herself.  

Company Christmas parties…what was the protocol?   Bring a date or go solo?   In the end, she talked her roommate into coming along.   They agreed on a few hours at the buttoned up Corporate America shindig before heading out to a much more laid back, casual atmosphere of a friend’s Christmas party.  

Her clear acrylic heels adorned with rhinestones clicked on the staircase as she made her way to the next party.   The shoes elevated her normal 6 foot frame allowing her to look out above the masses.  She was at ease, all pretenses of being someone else released its hold upon her and exited through the closing door after gently taking a bow.   She smiled as she was relieved of her shackles of dissimilation and could be with her friends, her chosen family, her village.  

The drinks flowed, the music caressed her soul, and the card games stripped her of any monetary satisfaction, but she was content.   Her body melted into the sofa as she engaged in friendly banter among her co-partiers.   The evening was quickly becoming a propitiation to what had been a mentally taxing week, and just when she thought the night could not become more blissful, the door across the room opened.  

A trio of males, past the age of being called boys, but still exuding a slight level of immatuturity that prevented them from being referred to as men, entered the apartment.   They were all strangers to her, not one face exuding any sense of familiarity and just when she decided that the three were too mundane to warrant anymore of her curiosity, the third one came into view.  

He was tall, dark, and handsome.  Every fairytale cliché of Prince Charming was wrapped up into him.   Tragic love stories were written about him, with tortured hearts and damsels in distress.   It was at that moment in time, with the opening of that door, that her life would change forever.  From that point forward in life, each step, each decision would be made with a new perspective.  

Did he see her?   Could he sense the quivers in her belly, the skipping of her heart beat?   Could he possibly notice her, one girl in a sea of beautiful women?  

She should look away, she thought to herself.   How mortifying would it be if he caught her staring, but she couldn’t tear herself away from watching him glide into the room, a smile spreading across his face as he met each person.   He was tall, black hair, with a slight little cleft in his chin.   He was broad shouldered, muscles clearly seen beneath the sleeves of his shirt.   He was the exact opposite of the skinny, non-athletic nerdy types she’d always been attracted to.   He couldn’t possibly be interested in her.  

Finally she decided it was time to look away, to not be quite so obvious, but it was a little too late.  He’d seen her and shock of all shocks, he was walking over to her.  

He introduced himself and she reciprocated.   He took a seat alongside her on the couch and the conversations never seemed to lull.   There was always something to talk about, something funny to be told, and there was no place else either one of them could imagine being at that very moment in time.     

As the night waned, many of the partiers, her roommate included, decided to go elsewhere.   She uncrossed her legs and begin to rise, in doing so she lost one of her shoes.   At that moment, he knelt down and while grabbing the shoe, he cupped one hand behind her shin and slid the shoe back onto her foot.  

“It looks like Cinderella lost her glass slipper,” he said with a smile and that is how the greatest love story came to fruition in 2003.

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Cheers to New Beginnings

One of my newest endeavors that has taken me away from this blog, is actually one of my most favorite past times.   I thought today, of all days, would be a great day to fill you in on this adventure.  For those of you who may be unaware to the significance of the day, today marks the 10th anniversary of my brother’s passing after fighting leukemia for 3 years. 

A year ago today, as I sat in my rotary meeting, I listened to a speaker discuss a new park that was (and is) under construction in Greenville.  It is to be called the Cancer Survivor’s Park, and it’s to be a place of rejuvenation, a place of learning, and a place of healing for everyone who has experienced some form of cancer directly or indirectly.  

As I sat in that meeting, I learned that I was considered a survivor of cancer because I am a survivor of my brother.   The executive director, Kay Roper, spoke so eloquently and passionately about this park, what it meant to her and what it would mean to the community.   Within moments, I had a lump in my throat and tears at the brim.  

I’d spent a good year and a half before meeting Kay, trying to find a place for me outside of being Davey and Henry’s mom.   I looked for something that would be an old semblance of myself, the creative, hard-working, career oriented individual I always thought I would be.   I knew what I was looking for was volunteer work as I didn’t have the band width to handle a full time job and still be the mom my boys had grown accustomed to.   Problem was, as I’ve always said, it couldn’t be just any volunteer work.   If it was going to take time away from my boys then it HAD to be something more worthwhile than padding the bottom line of corporate America.  AND it had to be something I could passionately feel good about.  

As with most things in my life, there is always Divine Intervention.   Even when I think the Lord doesn’t hear me, He is always listening.   When He brought Kay into my life on the 9th anniversary of my brother’s death, I knew this is where I was supposed to be and that my patience and faith in Him had finally paid off, as it always does. 

When I started volunteering with the Cancer Survivors Park Alliance, I was intimidated.   As I’d told my husband on countless occasions, I felt like our children were sucking me of any brain cells I had.   My mind, that part of me I once coveted which perhaps wasn’t the smartest in the world, wasn’t feeling challenged anymore.  The wheels were always turning but I wasn’t learning something new.   For a while, and even now, it’s felt like the boys had drained me of any intellect I’d had and I hadn’t been able to replenish that.  

I joined the Communications Committee and listened to all of these people who were still in the working world, mostly in marketing and advertising, and I was in awe, enamored, and as I said before, intimidated.   What could I contribute?   I worried that the Lord had answered my prayer, but perhaps I had prayed incorrectly.   Again, I just needed to have patience and faith in Him.

A couple of months ago, the opportunity arose for me to help out with a series that had become stagnant.   There just were not enough people to get the series going again, to coordinate, organize, and even help write and edit.   I didn’t hesitate.  I immediately spoke up during that month’s meeting and said I would “own” the series, and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.

It is known as the Sunday Survivor Series, and is a bi-weekly story published on the park’s website every Sunday evening.    The stories feature someone within our local community who has been impacted by cancer, either directly or indirectly.  In most cases, the interviewees are survivors of some form of cancer, with the occasional relative of someone who has passed mixed into the shuffle of stories. 

As an introduction of me joining the team, I was photographed with my boys and the creator of the series interviewed me.   When I was being interviewed, I was amazed at how raw the emotions still were, nearly 10 years later.   I found I could still feel Brian’s last hug, his last tug of my ponytail, his voice as he spoke to me, and even the raspy sound of his last breaths as he squeezed my hand.   As I went through that interview, I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy that I would be able to help so many others tell their stories, that I will be able to offer that compassionate touch, that vessel for emotions and stories to eventually unfold.  

So, here’s the link to the stories.  Our newest one is out and what a wonderful young man and inspiration he is.   The second story is mine.    

http://www.cancersurvivorspark.org/survivor-series.php

Please take a moment to read it and then take a moment to read some of the other stories.   Follow the Facebook page for the Cancer Survivors Park.  Sign up for email notifications so you’ll always know when a new story is out.   You may get to read some of my words there, even when they can’t always be here on this blog, and you may find an additional person who needs your prayers.  

God Bless all of you for following me, for encouraging me, and for giving me your love in some way.   I’m hoping 2017 will be full of great new adventures and insightful words to share with you all.