Here we go… year three. A few days away from another 5k run in the hot Atlanta sun. The time has come to step back from updating my iPod “Run” play list, begging for money and give pause to acknowledge those who have stood with me and are my team.
Babe number one is Kelly. With me since the beginning, first team member on “Babes with Brains”, Kelly was my first friend here in Atlanta. Truly a kind heart, Kelly and I share an odd connection of sorts. June 20, 2007 I was diagnosed with my brain tumor. June 20 is Kelly’s birthday. Five hours after leaving the Doctors office I picked her up to take her out for her birthday dinner. I think she must have thought I had lost my mind for wanting to still go out, but life does go on and she deserved a fun night out. It has been a privilege to call Kelly my friend and know that she is next to me on my journey. While the passing of every June 20 is a reminder of when our life changed, it is also a reminder of the good that life brings and the people who fill it. I choose now to see the date more as an anniversary of her life and our friendship rather than a date I want to run from. Kelly and I will pound out 5k together Saturday, side by side for the third year. Thank you.
Teresa is not able to join us this year for the race, but she will be there in spirit and I can only hope her speed is with us as well! Teresa runs like the wind and could probably dust an Antelope. Dear friends from our time in Charlotte, Teresa and her husband Brandon were neighbors and we miss them tremendously. Great times were had sitting around our outdoor fireplace drinking wine, eating Dibs and laughing about our San Salvadorian Mafia, “Beep-Beep” and other crazy things. While Teresa has stood firmly entrenched in supporting us, I have been standing next to her admiring her own strength in the face of adversity. The challenges that she and Brandon endured with infertility have been gut retching and heartbreaking. While I know Teresa would love to be here, I am over the moon that she is not. My dear friend and her husband welcomed home a daughter a few weeks ago. The tears of anguish spent through the adoption process have resolved into tears of joy. A blessing for them and a reminder of what is possible in the face of adversity.
Jared. Well, not quite a babe, but we welcome him nevertheless. This one goes back a long way, old school back. I was two when we became neighbors in Connecticut and our families became friends. His family took me in as the honorary third child and I became “Neibs” (neighbor) as I got older; a nickname for which I think many still identify me by. Through the years of enduring “beat downs” and intimidation (AKA character building exercises), we somehow grew up and stayed connected. The Godfather to our first born, Tucker, Jared is a quiet yet strong supporter. The first person I think of when I hear the Rolling Stones, a person who well defines the word “Loyal” and who best utilizes the word “Nice” as a singular sentence. A man of few words, his choice and the strength of each word said and written have been meaningful. I wish that he could be with us here in Atlanta this year but life, work and time do not always align the way you want them to. I will be thinking of Jared Saturday, smiling and quietly thanking him while I run. 11 months after surgery, I am grateful that he dished out such meaningful character building exercises. Without them or him, I may not have the fire inside my soul to fight like hell. Cheers to you my friend. You will be missed.