“It takes a village.” That statement takes on a new meaning when looking back at pivotal people in our lives. Today is a chance to spotlight a few of them who are mentioned in my Stumble to Rise book. No, I didn’t change their names. That would make sense if I needed to “protect the innocent” but instead they deserve a big shout-out for the role they played at a pivotal time.
Okay here’s the disclaimer: there are certain people who play starring roles in my life and therefore my book so I am not including them on this list. My husband, my son, my parents, my sisters and other close family all play constant parts throughout the book and are mentioned regularly — a couple even have their own chapters. My list is a way to name-drop a few who may be mentioned only once in my book but have played a part nonetheless.
- Tish — I wish she was still alive to see her name in my book. From the age of 3 throughout most of my elementary school years, my parents employed her services to keep the house running smoothly while they oversaw the family businesses. This excerpt is from the chapter about how vanity unfortunately, prevented me from using the necessary mobility devices to safely maneuver without stumbling…“Her two goals each day were to keep every inch of our house tidy and to primp me like her personal baby doll. She kept my hair in finger-curled ringlet pigtails and dressed me to the nines in hand-made color-coordinated two-piece outfits. In a <em>Brady Bunch</em> analogy, she was Alice and I was a Cindy clone. The plaid polyester pants with coordinating button-up smocks were my favorite. My older sisters didn’t receive her doting attention. They wore unmatched clothes, got dirty and did their own thing. I joined them on the weekends when my parents were running the show but Monday through Friday I was kept unsoiled and well-groomed. Naturally, they attribute her “Gina-obsession” with my lifelong attention to my appearance.”
- Mrs. Gregory — Later in the book when I begin to focus on my love of writing, she comes to mind… “Years before, unlike most of my classmates, I thrived on writing essays. And yes, I was the nerd who took great pleasure in diagramming sentences. My elementary school English teacher, Mrs. Gregory, could attest to that.”
- Tracy — She was the first friend I made the fateful day my parents dropped me off at college that freshman year…That same “first day” was when I connected with my lifelong love, Scott. Tracy was there for the first moments of our story… “While getting to know my new friend, Tracy, I saw this guy sitting at a table across the large food court. I knew him, which now meant I knew two people here. I’d met him at the college preview weekend a couple months earlier. Since June, I had been spiritedly enjoying my last summer before college but I hadn’t forgotten my time at Preview with the handsome guy at the other table.”
- Stephanie — When I had a full-time corporate job in Chicago, her phone call changed my future. “I was invited to a candle party by a former staffing company friend named Stephanie. This was the kind of home gathering where friends come together with a glass of wine, some appetizers and scrumptious desserts while socializing and shopping. I reluctantly showed up on a rainy, cold weeknight after she called at the last minute and begged me to attend…” Who knew what would follow?
- Andrea — She’s been my constant BFF since freshman year — the only wonderful result of any algebra class in history! … “I only knew one person in St.Louis. My longtime best friend in the world, Andrea, was nearby. My dream of making my mark on the direct sales world, however, looked rather bleak. I was barely contributing to our household income with my fledgling business, and I began to question my objective. I was personifying the idea of “failing forward” on a daily basis.”
- Christina — She made the perfect suggestion…”As we prepared to meet her (our son’s birth Mom) we racked our brains to settle on a meaningful present we could present to her that would adequately express our gratitude for the gift that she was giving us. What would a 19 year-old-girl treasure? My friend Christina, had two teenage daughters and knew that anything in that Tiffany blue packaging would guarantee a positive reaction. We settled on a Tiffany bracelet and she was ecstatic. She seemed to be as excited to receive the bracelet as we were to be handed her biological first-born son. I suppose it was a win-win for all involved.”
You never know how every person and every interaction could be making an impact. To the aforementioned peeps who have positively impacted me, I say thank you! It’s yet another reason to treat everyone with kindness. You never know in what book your name might appear!