Thanksgiving serves as a bookend for me to an amazing month of being grateful, fearful, hopeful and humbled by the richness of life.
Meeting Amazing Experts
I went to the International Bullying Prevention Association conference in San Diego. I heard fantastic presentationsfrom social scientists, advocates, psychologists, students, educators and researchers. We all gathered in San Diego for one reason: making sure children feel connected and valued.
Up Close and Personal to Tragedy
Then I travelled up to Malibu to meet with wonderful moms at a nurturing pre-school which instills a love of learning and an appreciation of nature as young as 3 years old. As I walked into the presentation at 8:30 a.m., I was met by distraught moms who told me of the horrible shooting at the club in the neighboring Thousand Oaks. It was fresh news. I, along with them, was stunned and heartbroken. It’s the unthinkable, especially as you look into the sweet faces of their sweet sons and daughters. Parents lost their precious ones at the Borderline Bar & Grill.
That morning, I met such interested – and interesting — parents. They added so much to the discussion of bullying prevention, leadership, online safety and self-care. These are moms that care deeply about doing the best job possible for their kids. They were open hearted and kind with each other. Who knew as we sat together on Thursday morning that less than 24 hours later, we would all be evacuated, trying to step one ahead of the devastating fires.
I had never experienced a fire emergency. It moves fast. Almost too fast to get your head around it. My heart goes out to all the families who must have been so frightened as the reality of what evacuating really means. It means going as fast as possible and not looking back. The stress on parents must have been enormous. Hopefully for the moms I met, their children were not scared, their pets are ok, they all still have homes and schools, grocery stores, and parks.
Month of the Military Family
Within a week, I was at Ft. Hamilton, an Army base in Brooklyn. Once again, the moms I met were so impressive. Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know more military families and each time, I walk away humbled by what “service” really means. The constant moves mean many things. New schools. New doctors. New dentists. New child care. New jobs. Difficulty getting jobs for non-military spouses. The list goes on and on. They are a true lesson in resilience. The military kids (milkids) I met give me hope. As kids lined up to get a copy of my book signed for the parents, they asked me spontaneous questions about writing a book. They were so earnest that I just know that some of them will be writing their own and I look forward to getting their autographs.
And, as I signed books, the snow was coming down fast and furious. One week later, we were in a snow storm.
Life is rich. Thank you to all who inspired me in the past few weeks. May you be somewhere safe today and surrounded by loved ones.
I am with you all in spirit…and thank you for all you do. You are the masters of hope.