But then the thing kept kicking around my head. I became increasingly aware of the JDRF and all the work they do to help families like ours and I began to consider it. I looked on line and saw pictures of happy people. No one was sobbing or mourning. In fact, it looked like a really good time. So I committed just us to the walk.
I was nervous over how Grace would handle the idea of the walk. Sometimes she really pushes back against any dialogue concerning diabetes. I was relieved when she was really receptive to the idea and eager to do some fundraising. So we began to take baby steps and started having fun with it. When I mentioned it to people, they eagerly volunteered to be a part of our team. And things grew from there. It gave Grace and I something to look forward to. We talked about t-shirts, fundraising plans, and a pretzel sale. It gave Grace the chance to talk to her classmates for a whole 45 minutes about what life with diabetes is like. The Walk got us thinking a different way about diabetes and, while I'm sure Grace couldn't articulate this, it was empowering.
I had heard from a number of families that your first walk can be overwhelming--"be prepared" was their mantra. I was prepared for an emotional day but it never really turned into that. Tom had a moment when he needed to take a breadth but then the day moved on and all was ok. I was blown away by just how many people were there. We were surrounded by a sea of teams in t-shirts all anxious to do something to help a family going through this.
Grace seemed to have a really good time. She embraced the walk as she held hands with her best friend since she was two. Hand-in-hand they walked followed by Team Grace on a beautiful fall day. She smiled her beautiful smile--especially when her Pops called her "princess." She laughed her silly laugh at her goofy cousins, pointed to awesome t-shirts, and soaked in the love Team Grace had to offer. It wasn't sad to me at all. It was beautiful.
I thought about how many times I had been on that very part of West River Drive for a race and how it hurt, always hurt, at that point in the race-begging to be done hurt-- and how different this "race" was. It hurts but in such a different way. I'm begging to be done but there is no finish. The Walk made me anxious to get back to racing with this new perspective. Diabetes has taken me to a different place in my life where words like "stamina" and "endurance" have taken on a whole new meaning. But when I looked around at our support team, I think it really hit me that we are not alone. Not only were we surrounded by thousands of people who had somehow been touched by this disease but also by our family and friends who have had our backs the whole time. Thanks to everyone who made the day so very special and who continue to support us. Team Grace is taking it to the next level in 2012-stay tuned!