Tuesday, March 1, 2016

"The days are long but the years are short"

I remember reading a quote somewhere that said, “The days are long but the years are short.” As a busy mom of four, this quote really resonated with me. This past fall was no exception as my husband and I sent our oldest off to college, another son started high school and the baby of the family boarded the bus to Kindergarten.  To say we were overwhelmed would be an understatement.  It truly seems like yesterday that I was forever stuck in the sleep deprived trenches of parenthood.  Those days seemed to have lasted forever. So how can it be that our life is now so different than the life we used to know?? Well, That’s how life is. We don’t realize on a daily basis, but it moves so quickly. 
Recently, I went to Jenny and Rick’s for our first Sal’s Pals meeting of the year.  It promised to be like so many other meetings where we tackle obstacles, bounce ideas off each other and brainstorm new avenues to ensure a successful event.  However, there was a different feel this time, an uneasiness you could say.  There we were, gathered in their living room planning our 14th dinner/auction when Jenny and Rick asked us to go around the room and state why, we personally, felt like we should continue on.  This made me think back to how I became involved with Sal’s Pals.
Jenny and I were and were working together at St. Lukes Hospital and we were both anticipating the birth of our second child.  Each of us was expecting a boy and dreaming of who they would be and what they would become.  I delivered, Ryan, a healthy baby boy on March 3rd 2001 and was filled with excitement when Sal was born on August 4th.  My excitement was quickly replaced with confusion and fear when Jenny called to inform me that Sal was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis.  Having a son just a few months older, really made my heart ache for Jenny and Rick. I couldn’t comprehend how anyone could move forward after learning their beautiful baby had an incurable disease.  I quickly realized that I didn’t know my dear friend as well as I thought.
Jenny and Rick didn’t shake their fists at God, instead, they made the decision to be a part of finding a cure.  They built our team, Sal’s Pals, out of a determined group of family and friends and devoted their lives to educating themselves about this horrific disease.  They made the complicated medical terms their second language that they use them like professionals to educate the team they’ve built. We may not fully understand what all these terms mean, but we do fully understand how they affect Sal’s world and Sal IS their world.  So they fight. We fight together. It’s not an easy fight either. Raising money to find a cure for your child’s disease is not taken lightly. Jenny and Rick and so many members have made this their full time job, on top of their full time jobs not to mention the families that they are raising.  Dinners that feed hundreds of people, wine tastings, golf outings, casino bus trips, just to name a few, all need planned year after year. The daunting tasks of collecting donations, organizing volunteers, setting up and tearing down can really make for long days.  Days that probably seem to never end.  I could see it in their eyes, that night of the meeting, all these years in, that they’re tired.  Everyone’s tired. But Jenny and Rick shifted the focus of the meeting to Sal’s future and our mission statement and we were motivated as a team to continue on clinging to hope, prayers and miracles.
Sal is a handsome, hilarious, smart and witty young man. He is healthy despite the disease that lingers underneath.  He too fights alongside his parents and the team that is named after him. How can it be that it’s been 14 years??? 14 years since we learned of Sal’s diagnosis, over a million dollars raised and millions of laughs and memories that have been shared with our team. A team that is lead by two warriors who have taught the world what it is to love and to fight. The future is bright for Sal and the thousands of others with CF because of people like Jenny and Rick, who patiently and relentlessly give of themselves to find a cure. Though it can be exhausting, monotonous and at times uninspiring, they press on. Because, not unlike child rearing, the daunting days quickly reveal the beautiful years that have been dedicated to a miracle. 

Until there's a cure,
Angie O