Book Group & Me
Posted October 9, 2009on:
One of the images permanently lodged in my brain is of leaving Maggie in Kansas City for her first job out of college. Let’s just say that she didn’t want us to go. And I didn’t want to leave her there.
We were sitting in Latteland in Kansas City, a coffee shop near where she lived. As the time for our leaving approached, Maggie and I avoided eye contact. Dick got up to go to the bathroom and when he returned, Maggie and I were both sobbing.
I didn’t cry like that when we took her to college or took her brother, Michael, to college. It didn’t seem as permanent as taking Maggie to Kansas City. Of course, going somewhere for a first job didn’t necessarily mean permanency, but it sure felt that way.
It was not easy that first year for Maggie in Kansas City, but then she began developing family. She re-met Mike, who she first knew as an eighth grader one weekend at a youth group event in Minneapolis. Even before she married Mike in 2008, she was enveloped into his wonderful family.
In the meantime, she was making friends, equally wonderful folks who became like family, as they proved Wednesday night. They went to Maggie’s house, where she was the hostess for a home jewelry party. It was one of those events where you invite your friends, provide snacks and wine and then they order stuff – but only if they want it.
Maggie was puzzled when many of the women – members of her book club – handed her pink bags as they arrived. She took the bags and put them down at first, not sure what she was supposed to do with them.
Soon she realized they were for her and discovered inside those bags were hats and scarves for me plus cards for her and some for me. I have never met most of these women, but they had reached out to me via my wonderful daughter. And they had reached out to Maggie via me.
They have also organized to walk for Pinky Pie in the American Cancer Society’s 2009 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Kansas City event on October 24. They set up a Pinky Pie team at http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?team_id=568792&fr_id=19873&pg=team
Maggie told me she was just overwhelmed in such a beautiful way. At that moment she was enveloped in love and support – as her group of friends and family have given her since my diagnosis and even before. I don’t know how to thank these women except to tell a story that I once heard from a friend who used to live in La Crosse.
There was an old man, who had spent his life as a migrant worker, picking whatever crop needed harvesting. He clearly had slowed down and was endanger of being thrown off a farm where he was picking peas.
Another worker came up and nudged the older man. “These are for you,” he said, handing him a hat full of peas.
“But how will I ever repay you?” the older man asked.
“You don’t. Just pick a hat of peas for someone else.”
How incredible is it that the story was about a hat of peas when I’m writing about the kindness of so many women towards me – and towards my daughter in the form of hats and scarves.
Thank you to all of you in the book group and elsewhere who have been so supportive to my family and me. Clearly, I can’t possibly pay back these women or the many others who have called, brought meals, sent pink items.
But let me assure you, I will fill many hats in my life and pass them on.
And, let me add, it really was OK leaving Maggie in Latteland back in 2003.