This has been one hell of a two month sprint.
My timecards show me out more than I’ve been in. My Asana dashboard consistently, insistently shows me multiple tasks overdue. I’m hit and miss on email because Slack keeps me hopping on the critical tasks that need to be addressed. I’ve even taken to saving my Google documents to my local drive because of inconsistent wireless connections in hospitals, doctor offices, and remote locations. I have one last conference trip and then conference season takes a break for several months. Oddly enough, I’m looking forward to routine and mundane — well, for a bit at least. Crowds are still a problem for me and I’m a bit anxious about next week, even though it is time well spent with one of my favorite communities. The people I’ve met in higher education are some of the strongest relationships I’ve ever had in my adult life. We may be siloed in our administrative departments, colleges, or universities, but across the country, for those of us on the front line and in the trenches of highered and the internet, members of this community are always the first to step up with help, ideas, suggestions, or just a much needed hand up. They’re good for naughty limericks, jokes, support and love. I really do love these people. Well, most of them.
I know I’ve been spotty on social media, and I’ve been terrible about updating my blog. To those of you who have been anxious for the latest news about DangerBoy, I apologize. Know that he gets a bit better with each passing day. But the last couple of months have really kept me off balance and off my game, and it’s been more of a mad scramble of survival and getting to the next marker. All sorts of things that we call life just combined to hit at the same time, and I’ve been keeping my head above water, but it means I withdraw even more from the world. So when the occasional opportunity to come up for breath presents itself, I’m trying to say yes more. Earlier this week I did just that. IN WHICH NIKKI TREAT ROBIN TO A DELICIOUS LUNCH OF HER CHOOSING showed up on my calendar and I took the opportunity to see a friendly face and break from the deluge of To Dos. We talked shop, families, and she handed me an envelope that you just knew contained a card awkwardly signed by people who don’t know what to say because what do you say to a friend who came close to losing her kid? I have absolutely no idea either. So I dropped it in my bag for later and enjoyed our thoroughly enjoyable lunch catching up. It is a gift to have friends that get you.
Last night was another night of playing catch up; this time, trying to put my presentation together. As I dug around in my bag for some project notes, I found the card and absentmindedly opened it, still thinking about my slide deck, and watched a random piece of paper flutter into my lap. It took me a minute for my mind to process that the paper was actually a check, and then I couldn’t figure out where it came from and why it was lying on my lap. People, I have to tell you, it broke me. While nothing about this experience has been easy, one of the most difficult lessons I’ve had to learn is that it is necessary to learn the arts of acceptance, humility, and gratitude. We’ve had such an outpouring of love from — quite literally — all over this world. We are so, so, so blessed. I do not feel worthy of your gifts. (Also, realize how close I am to tears again that I can’t even attach a Wayne’s World gif here. Your loss.) You have blindsided and overwhelmed me with your love. With your kindness. With your lasagna, and your stuffed peppers, and your brownies. With your lunches, and your breakfasts. With your texts, your emails, your cards, your calls, your talks, our walks, your Facebook messages, your heart lifting Snapchats, your heartfelt letters. Notes on the chalkwall of our gym. Stepping in to care for our dog so she wasn’t scared that we were MIA. Checking in, touching base, dropping everything to be with us. Your hospital visits. Your home visits. Every thought. Every prayer. Every care.
You are an embarrassment of riches. Each and every one of you.
This card was not just about not knowing what to say. This was love in action despite it. This was yet another demonstration of people who simply wanted to let us know that we matter. That you hold us in your hearts. So many people in a long line of people who were there for us, smoothing our path in so many ways. It takes my breath away that there are so many of you. I cannot comprehend how we deserve this outpouring of care. I find it hard to grasp the enormity of this very personal gift you have given us. These many gifts of overwhelming love, disguised as food and friendship and funds. So many words, and yet I can’t seem to find ones sufficient to express the enormity of my love for you all. I will just appreciate that in the aftermath of one of the worst experiences of my life, there is so much for which to be grateful.
I thank and love you all.
PS. To my highered friends who have made this latest donation of love, know that DangerBoy will be using it either to cover some of his expenses that he can’t cover while he’s not working, or it may go towards replacing his bike which was totaled in the accident. He may be worse at accepting gifts than his mother is. I guess we all have to learn to accept gifts of love, even if it requires us to collapse and think and remember and thank.