She leaned against the elevator wall, feeling a little sleepy from her afternoon of spa treatments. Lavender still wafted from her skin and she inhaled deeply. The elevator chime broke her daydream and she headed down the hallway. She was looking down into her purse when she caught the rose petal out of the corner of her eye. She stopped cold. In front of her lay a path of petals, leading to their door. She could hear Clarke scratching at the door on the other side, anxiously awaiting her arrival. She smiled. It was Valentine’s Day, and Adam was certainly a sweetheart. She opened the door to find her apartment bursting with flowers and candlelight, and smiling and somewhat smug Adam waiting in the living room. Clarke jumped at her feet, and she bent down to scoop him up. Her eyes met Adam’s, and she started to tear up. “I have something to show you on Tumblr that I found!” he said as he motioned her over. Her heart skipped a beat – she loved Tumblr. She joined him at the computer screen and watched as he scrolled thru no ordinary page. This was them, tumbling by, in pictures, words, stories. She squeezed him tight. “This is a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift. Thank you!” He smiled. “Oh, this is no the gift….this is” and he handed her a small box. She teared up again. Clarke jumped into her lap, eager to investigate the big red bow. She opened the box to find a beautiful locket, from one other favorite stores. “Is there something inside?” she asked. He nodded, adjusting slightly in his seat. She opened the locket and a tiny strip of paper popped out. She saw the question mark first and gasped. ‘Will you marry me?’ spelled out in Adam’s neat and precise handwriting. She looked at him and found him holding another gift….a sparkling ring.
“We just got engaged!” he blurted out to the bartender. “Wow! Congrats! These drinks are on the house then.” the bartender responded. David smiled broadly and returned to Kyle’s side triumphantly, drinks in hand. She looked at him quizzically. “What’s that look for? I don’t know your looks yet.” she asked. “Our drinks were free!” he explained. Again, she was skeptical. She took a sip. “Why?” she decided to probe further. He slid his hand around the small of her back and they started dancing again. “Oh, I told him we just got engaged” he answered, sheepishly. She stopped dancing for a moment, trying to decide how she felt about this turn of events. Here was a guy who she had just met hours ago, asked out on sorority date night at the suggestion of a friend. Sure, they had absolutely hit it off at the Reds game, and now they were dancing in this bar, just the two of them, having ditched the sorority group. She studied his face, which was slowly falling out of the confident expression it has once held, and slipping into worry. She took another drink. “Sounds about right.” she lobbed back at him. She raised an eyebrow. He smiled, grabbed her hand, and they danced on.
I love shooting the toasts. Love it! There’s so much unguarded emotion there. It’s a rare time when you are told exactly how much you are loved, in front of hundreds of people who also love you. How can you not react to that? And the fact that my clients are so focused on listening and being present means they aren’t paying any attention to me. So I can duck and hide and find a hundred different angles until I find the one that expresses perfectly how that moment feels. Oh, I love shooting the toasts.
I used to write all about our personal lives here on the blog. Then one day in 2012 everything changed, and much of our real life wasn’t something I wanted to write about. I wanted, I needed, to focus on everything else. So there was less day-to-day randomness on the blog, and more curated content. I might still find the strength to one day write it all down and share our story – (it’s not a secret, just so loooong). But I digress, and I tell you this to explain what I’m saying next. It boils down to one statement for now.
In the past four years, my life has been saved at least four times, in whole or in part, by a blood transfusion. Our youngest child’s life also has also been saved by two of those transfusions.
I’ve tried to type those sentences a dozen times without tearing up. I can’t. I lack the words to accurately describe what this means. But someone, somewhere, donated blood and because of that I am still here. My daughter is here.
I’ve respected and taken that for granted in the last four years. Time makes those feelings more crystalline. I recently saw the Blood Center of Wisconsin post a picture of a nearly empty cooler of O negative blood. And it hit home. They were going to reach into that cooler and come up empty.
So, today I’m going to my first regularly scheduled blood donation appointment. Because the only way to say thank you is to pay it forward.
I’m hoping that because I said something about it – you will consider making an appointment too.