Summer Moments 2013 (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

This week, Mama Kat asked us to list our top 6 summer moments so far. I have eight. Good rule follower, aren’t I?!

First, I have to thank Gini Dietrich and Spin Sucks for featuring me as a Follow Friday selection. The Spin Sucks community has made this non-industry person feel very welcome; they have taught me a lot about communications and public relations, and they have made me laugh! I am grateful. That was May 31; a happy omen for the summer that lay ahead.

Second, there was “the bridge.” When I visited Savannah for my niece’s graduation in June, I ran the Talmadge Bridge. I really hope I can go back to run it officially in December for the Savannah River Bridge Run (double pump of course!). It would be fun to do it with permission and a little traffic control.

talmadge bridge

Third, there was “family picture time at the beach.” Props to my sister in law Brenda for putting this all together. I know over the years to come, we will look back at these photos of our extended family and be glad we dealt with getting everyone to coordinate, hauling everyone over the sand dunes, and the “hunt for the Heineken shirt” in order to capture this moment in time.

beer shirts

Fourth, my conversation with my brother in law Jamie. I’ll bet that even after all these years (26 to be exact) of us knowing one another, there isn’t a single picture of us together. At most family gatherings, he is busy boiling peanuts or convincing the grill to do what he needs it to do. But we had a great conversation by the pool. It wasn’t profound; it won’t change the world, but it was a rare opportunity to share a little bit about each other’s views of the world and the fact that some of the things that people perceive as “a waste of time” are in reality the complete opposite.

Fifth, I am so excited to have gotten involved with “I Run for Michael,” which pairs runners with kids with special needs. I run for “G,” who has a mitochondrial disorder. If I could bottle the compassion, enthusiasm, and candor that are exchanged hourly on the Facebook page, I would! I am happy to run for you, “G,” and to be a part of your family’s journey.

IR 4 Gareth Cropped

Sixth, there was a moment (a fleeting one) when I first met up with Tenley after her three-week absence at dance intensive (at the University of Alabama) when the hug had that intensity that we have with our kids when they are little and really, really need us. In a weekend where she said one sentence that will go down in my parenting annals as pretty much the most painful thing I’ve heard to date, I have to remind myself of those “I need you” moments. (And, as an aside, we both fell a little bit in love with that campus — one that has never been on my radar screen.)

Seventh, to close things out – I woke up on a routine Saturday morning to learn that someone had written a song about me (well, about me and three other incredible people). Oh, Chuck Kent, you made my summer.

Eighth. I have been fortunate to be able to go to Yoga & Meditation at Journeys in Yoga twice this summer. Not only has the yoga been great, but the meditations, centered around the July theme of “identity,” have been good for my spirit. Who knew writing could help you figure out who you really are?

What have been the highlights of your summer?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Conquering Things

It has been a weekend for conquering things (and celebrating the conquering of things):

As my trip to Savannah approached, I was searching for a running route. Madeline of Food, Fitness, and Family, who I first met as an “Elf For Health” partner, lives in the vicinity but suggested that Victoria of Victoria Runs would be the best person to ask. Now that the weekend (and the run) have come and gone, I better understand why Victoria’s first question was, “Do you want to include the Talmadge Bridge?” I now understand why that question wasn’t as innocuous a question as “do you want to run on streets or trails?” The Talmadge Bridge changes up everything about a “Saturday long run”:

bridge(Oh, and by the way Victoria gave me a great coffee shop recommendation too, so a shoutout to Gallery Espresso is in order (the “Welcome Runners” image below is from their door).

gallery espresso door

Then there’s my friend Matt “Luau” Wilson, who ran 100 miles in 27 hours and 57 minutes in the TARC 100. This must set an all-time record for the number of continuous Charity Miles run. It’s one very big thing to accomplish the running of 100 miles. it’s an even bigger thing to do it for your child and for all families for whom autism is part of their world (Matt ran his miles for Autism Speaks). Way to go, Matt. I am proud beyond words to call you friend.

luau tarc(Oh, and by the way Matt has a great spouse too, who had quite a weekend of her own as Matt slogged through the mud, so a shoutout to Jess is in order).

Lastly, my niece Jessica graduated from South University with her Pharm.D. (that’s why I was in Savannah). It has been academically grueling, and the years she committed to an accelerated program have had their share of life’s ups and downs, but she has persevered with intellect, persistence, class, and grace. Jessica, I love you and am forever elated to be your family member.

jess grad(Oh, and by the way Jessica has a great set of parents, too, who have done their share of sacrificing, loving, and nurturing along the way so a shoutout to Mary and Jamie is in order.)

A big bridge, a hundred miles, and a doctorate. Conquered!


Nine New Numbers

I can rattle mine off without concentrating at all. My husband’s too. (Admittedly, I still have to look my children’s up.) Social Security Numbers. They pave the way for tasks that need to be accomplished in our lives – some big tasks (mortgage applications), some small tasks (looking up a grade). Without social security numbers, our lives would be infinitely more complicated.

“Infinitely complicated” is a term that has characterized Benjaman Kyle’s life since he was woke up, naked, without identification, and lacking all memory outside a Burger King near Savannah, Georgia, in 2004. His retrograde amnesia has prevented any recollection of his past. Authorities and medical experts are stumped.

“Benjaman Kyle”

I am writing this post to ask your help. If 25,000 people sign a petition to the White House, the administration will be required to review a request to issue Benjaman a new social security number. (So far he has not been issued one, on the assumption that he had one before and “it’s just not done” to issue one anew.)

You can sign the petition by clicking this link (it’s quick, I promise!).

Without a number, Benjaman can’t get hired or stay in a shelter.* There’s very little he can do. He’s trapped in a loophole that nobody anticipated. Only political intervention will allow Benjaman to work and have a place to stay. But nobody is speaking for him or his rights. Do we leave him here? He needs a new number, for a new life.

Again, help pave the way by clicking here and signing the petition.

You can watch Benjaman’s story through this award-winning documentary by John Wikstrom here:

As of tonight, the Benjaman needs 17,162 more signatures to get to 25,000 by 12/25/12 for his issue to be considered by the Obama Administration.

It’s a holiday gift you can give a stranger that is cost-free to you but will add immeasurable value to one man’s quality of life.

Other Resources:




*Benjaman is currently employed by a business that agreed to employ him despite his lack of an SSN, and he lives in someone’s shed (as opposed to the park behind the police department) through the generosity of a fellow citizen. But the SSN issue still begs for resolution.