It’s funny really. She probably doesn’t remember the moment she became a mentor to me. Truthfully- I didn’t know it in that moment either. I was just grateful. The kind of grateful that stings your eyes and makes you slow down on your run so you don’t face plant through your tears.
And actually- she doesn’t really know that I consider her a mentor. I’ve never thanked her or given her a coffee cup with “#1 Mentor” on the side, or quite frankly even told her.
But one day- when my baby was actually a baby we were working out together (and she was crushing me because that is what she does) and I was so deep in the mama guilt trenches. My kids were fussy- they didn’t want to be there. But i needed it so I bribed someone with snacks and the iPad and someone else was stuck in the stroller NOT having it. When it was her turn to run she just took the stroller without a word and pushed my fussy baby down the rocky sidewalk. It slowed her down and she probably didn’t PR the workout because of it- but every single round she (and Paige! who also gets a special place in my heart) took my stroller and ran. When she finished her workout (ahead of me!) she took him out of the stroller, walked over to my girls, and played with them so I could completely zone out and finish my workout.
That wasn’t the only time it happened- but it was the first. I didn’t know her story. Her husband. Her kids. Her job. But I knew she saw me and the things I didn’t even know to ask for.
So I’ve watched her and I’ve learned from her. I’ve accidentally vomited words all over her at the gym and every single time she says, “It’s hard- and people say you’ll miss it, and you will. But they will get older and you will breathe again. And the big ages are fun, too”. I cannot tell you how tightly I’ve held onto that on the hard days.
Or the way I have envied her Olympic weightlifting skills- and her grown up friendships where they leave kids at home and go do things as adults. She gave me hope then and she continues to give me hope now.
Thankfully we are at a place where i can crack “jokes” about my jealousy of her life. And I can set goals that are pretty general and all sound a lot like “Be Like Laurie” Because she’s at the next stage. Her kids are nearing the end of school instead of just beginning. She’s slightly older, a little fitter, and a lot wiser.
But she sees people when they need a little hope and she gives it. She has survived raising a gaggle of tiny humans and is still doing all the things I’m afraid I need to give up so I can “mom”.
Last week I had the opportunity to spend a gloriously crisp fall night with her gaggle of rather tall humans at Lawrence Plantation taking fall portraits and laughing and they still give me hope! Because they really enjoy each other. Sometimes I worry I’m doing this all wrong and by high school my kids will shut me out of their life and my chance with them is done. But it’s not and nights like this one remind me of that.
I could gush all over these portraits but I don’t need to. This is one of those sessions that truly speaks for itself.
Laurie and Kelly- thank you so much for inviting me in. Your family is so special and you have no idea the impact you have on those of us a step behind simply because you are doing life well.