Thursday, February 28, 2013

One of those nights.

I'm having one of those nights where it just hurts.

We are big readers in my family.  My two year old is completely in love with books and it's wonderful.  Every night before bed, I let him pick out a book or two, we get into his tiny toddler bed, snuggle up and read.  It's the best part of my entire day.

Tonight, he picked out this book:

I've had that book hidden since Christmas, so I don't know how it resurfaced.  It's not that I'm opposed to reading Christmas stories in February.  Or that I'm sick of looking at snow in real life and therefor have no desire to read about it (even though I am).  It's because I was given this book just prior to 12/14.  And I read it for the first time to my son after 12/14.  I read it to him before I skimmed the book.  I had no idea what to expect from it.  And the very last page destroyed me right in front of my baby.  So, tonight, while I was a bit more mentally prepared, I was still torn up.  And being the therapeutic tool that you are, you all get to share this with me tonight. 

"And that's when I got it.  That's when I knew. 
The one thing that was missing from Christmas was you.
And so then, my darling, wherever you roam,
may you always be safe...may you always come home.
For as long as the world still spins and still hums,
wherever you are, and no matter what comes,
the best part of Christmas will always be...
you beneath my Christmas tree."

Monday, February 25, 2013

Race Reflections: Victoria Soto

I was a mess on Saturday.  I diligently layout everything that I need for a run the night before so that I can avoid any early morning fiasco's, because there is nothing I hate more than showing up late and having to panic and rush.  My planning failed me this weekend in a big way.

I wake up, get dressed, fed my son, kiss my husband and I'm heading out the door when my husband says, "Wait.  Aren't you running for Victoria Soto today?" 

I reply back, "Yes, see?" And point to the writing on the front of my shirt that says, "Victoria Soto".

To which he replies, "Then why does it say 'Mary Sherlock' on the back?"


Apparently, the printer that created the t-shirts mixed up the names on the back of Victoria and Mary's shirts.  So while it said "Victoria Soto" on the front, it said "Mary Sherlock" on the back....and vice versa.

Cue panic.

It's 7:30 in the morning and I'm running around my house looking for duck tape to cover up Mary's name and write Victoria's over top.  But of course we have no duct tape.  I run next door to the neighbors house. Forget the cup of sugar!  Get me some duct tape!  But they aren't awake yet.  Run home, run around in circles for a bit and then realize that there is a hardware store on my way. 

Get in the car. Stop.  Get duct tape.  Realize that the gas tank is on empty.  Get gas.  Continue on my way.  Pull into the YMCA in Stratford at 9:45.  Race is at 10.  Phew.  Not ideal, but 15 minutes is enough time to check in and pull myself together.

"Wait a second.  Why is no one else here?"

Go to the front desk.  Am told that while it's the YMCA Sweetheart Run, the race itself is actually at a park 5 minutes away.  GAHHH!

Run back to my car, go the exact speed limit down the road to the actual race location.  Make it JUST in time to check in, pin my number on and line up at the starting line.


Not the way I like to do things, but it got down. HA!

One thing that I need to note about this race, before I get to the serious stuff is that while I was running seven different people ran by me (I swear, I'm not that slow), patted me on the shoulder as they past, pointed to my shirt and then gave me a thumbs up.  I swear, I'm going to make it through one race without tearing up.  One day. 

So, anyways...On to more important matters.  Remembering Victoria.

One of the first reactions that I remember hearing from a friend after the shooting, was that they were struck immensely by not only the death of students that were so young, but of the youth of the teachers as well and how that was entirely other brand of heart break. 

The heroism in that youth was nothing short of astounding.  I would love to say that I would have thought as quickly as Victoria did (hiding her students in closets, standing between the gunman and her children), but who knows.  So young, yet so incredibly brave. 

In my family, both immediate and extended, the profession of "teacher" is the most common.  My mother, my brother (just down the road from Sandy Hook at Newtown High), countless cousins, aunts.  It's an honorable profession.  One that doesn't get enough credit or recognition as far as I'm concerned.  What Victoria did that day, went so far above and beyond the call of duty.  Her actions speak to the world in a voice loud and clear that these teachers that we trust our children to everyday are more than just people that guide our children in academia.  They do more than just show our children how to read and write.  They are surrogate parents to our children when we can't be there.  They treat those children like their own and protect them for us when we can't be there.  They are heroes.  Everyday.  Thankfully, cases like Sandy Hook are rare.  And Victoria's brand of heroism is not needed every day.  But every day the men and women of the teaching profession are protecting our children in other ways.  Shielding them from a school yard bully.  Taking them aside when they are struggling to learn a new concept.  Guiding them to being well rounded, productive members of our society.  We owe them so much.  I am in awe of what they do every day.  I don't think that you can go home a single day as a teacher and not feel proud of what it is that you do. 

I think of anyone that I have ever heard interviewed about a major success that they have achieved.  One of the first questions anyone asks them is, "Do you have someone that sticks out in your mind as someone that helped you achieve this amazing goal?"  And I would be willing to bet, 9 times out of 10, that person mentions a teacher that they had once.

Victoria Soto.  Every child that you selflessly hid away and put yourself between will have you to thank for being able to live out the rest of their lives.  They will speak of you to their children when they grow up.  You will be revered by those children's parents for all of eternity.  And a grateful town and nation will never forget you for sparing us the pain of what could have been so many more innocent lives lost.

Forever loved.  Forever in your debt.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Race Announcement: Ana Marquez-Greene

I will be running the ShamRock and Roll in New Haven, CT on Sunday March 3rd for Ana.  It seemed suitable, given Ana's deep love of music.

My race for Victoria Soto is on schedule for this coming Saturday.  It will be the Stratford, CT Sweet Heart Run.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Race Reflections: Daniel Barden

It didn't look good (again) for my race for Daniel this past weekend.  Back in early February, I had to pass over my original race for him because I had gotten sick.  Then, this past Friday, snow storm Nemo/Charlotte decided to drop a flurry or two on our heads.  When I woke up to three feet of snow on my stoop Saturday morning, I thought for sure that Daniel's race would have to rescheduled yet again.  But luckily, Daniel pulled a few strings for me and the race went on, as planned, and so he and I were able to stretch our legs together. 

It was, surprisingly, a very beautiful day.  The sun was shining and it hit a high of 26 degrees.  That may seems like nothing, but when your first two races are in the teens, you'll take what you can get with a smile.  February in Connecticut is not always kind.

More people showed up than I anticipated really.  For just having a major snow storm, I figured most people would stay in their forced hibernation for the remainder of the weekend.  And maybe I could win first place by default.  But, that didn't happen :)

I've done a lot of thinking about Daniel.  His family has reached out to me via twitter and have been generous enough to add my race information onto their personal facebook page, WWDD:  What Would Daniel Do?  They seem like such amazing people.  They share personal family photos on Daniel's facebook page and the images break my heart.  They seem to have shared this amazing bond and the love seeps out from every photo.

I think that just about everyone is familiar with the school picture that the media has used to share Daniel with the world.  And I think it's that photo that tears at my heart the most.  As if we needed another reminder of how young, sweet and innocent the children that we lost were, there is Daniel.  With his baby teeth missing.  Grinning ear to ear.  And the toothless grin gets me every time.  A promise of something to come.  A new chapter in his life.  A milestone to pass.  It's simple....the act of losing teeth.  It's something that we all have done.  But we don't really remember it because it happened so long ago.  And that's what brings me back to having a heavy heart.  Daniel was such a little boy.  With so much promise and every right to experience teeth growing back in.  Every right to tell people a million more times how much he loved them and to hear how much they loved him back.  He earned that right and it makes me so mad that it was taken away so cruelly. 

Daniel.  The image of your amazing smile lives on forever in my heart.  I will not soon forget it.  I carried it with me when I ran for you on Sunday.  I carry it with me always.  It is my extreme hope that every single person that I ran in close proximity to on Sunday read your name on the back of my shirt, repeated it over in their minds, and thought of you that day.  You deserve to be remembered.  They all do.  And that is what this project is all about. 

I hope you were smiling that grin on Sunday, Daniel.  I hope I made you proud.


Here is Daniel Barden.  The third angel that I have now run for.

Full photo album of the race available on Facebook at the page 26 in 2013 for Sandy Hook.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

February is not my month.

Between my illness last week and the impending snow storm, February is going to put me behind my schedule pretty decently.  I was suppose to race this Saturday at the YMCA Sweet Heart run in Stratford.  But with the snow coming, the race director needed to move that race to Sunday to give the roads some time to clear.  Only problem is, I have a race scheduled for Sunday as well, which means that I can't make it to the date they are rescheduling for. 

So, my race for Victoria Soto will regrettably be pushed to another day, to be announced when I figure out when that will be.  But, as long as the weather doesn't continue to dump snow into Sunday morning,  I should be able to get my run in for Daniel and that will be good.

Hopefully the next time you hear from me I'll have race number three under my belt.

Please stay safe and warm in this crazy weather we are about to get.  Think good thoughts for an early spring!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Race Announcement: Daniel Barden, Take Two

Since I could not run for Daniel this past weekend, my new race date for him will be Sunday, February 10th in Danbury, CT for the Big Chili 5k.

Looks like this weekend will be another double header!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Disappointing Weekend: Update

I'm sure that some of you are waiting for your weekly photo(s) of my race.  Unfortunately, I have none to offer you this week.  You see, I have a toddler in daycare, and with that comes a vast array of germs and slime that we are constantly on the defensive from and on Friday night I lost that battle.  I came down with the worst stomach bug of my life and that carried me through my entire weekend. 

So, it was with great sadness that I had to postpone my race for Daniel.  I will reschedule as soon as possible and I will announce that course date as soon as I have it. 

My deepest apologies again to the Barden Family who so graciously reached out to offer their support to my cause and then so kindly understood when I had to tell them that Daniel's race would have to wait for another day.  All my love to them.

My race this weekend for Victoria Soto still stands for Sunday February 9th out of Stratford, CT.