Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jenny's gift...

Jenny & me in Orlando, November 2012
 I remember reading somewhere that cousins are our first friends and, for me, this is so true.  I have always admired my cousin Jenny for being a strong person.  She lives her life fully and shares who she is with her family and her many friends, allowing them to join her in experiencing life with such zeal.

Jenny & me in NYC, March 2007
The thing is, you just don't always know the impact you have on someone unless they come right out and tell you, and how often does that happen?  So, when I received this guest post from Jenny, I was so touched.  To think that, maybe, some small part of the wonderful woman she is today is because of me?  Doubtful, I know, but still, it is nice to know that I have had a positive impact on her life, as she has had on mine.

Thank you Jenny, for giving me this beautiful gift, I love you!

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Jenny's Guest Blog:

Growing up, I was always excited to see my cousins drive into my cul-de-sac for a visit.  Not only did I get to hang out with my cool older cousins, but my cousin Chrystie always came bearing gifts…a big bag of hand me downs!  We would take the bag into my room and go through it.  I eagerly looked forward to what treasures I would be getting to add to my wardrobe!  I remember one piece in particular, it was a black knit sweater with pink specks (think 80’s!).  I loved that sweater and wore it every “free sweater/sock” day at school (think Catholic school uniforms!).

Down the road, the gifts I received from Chrystie continued.  She gave me the gift of acceptance, as she let her little cousin tag along (or spy on her) on various camping trips and outings. Even though she got annoyed, she was never unkind and taught me, through example, to be accepting of things you sometimes cannot control...like the untameable force of younger siblings and cousins!

As a young adult, Chrystie gave me one of my most special gifts.  I remember calling Chrystie to see if I could share her anniversary date with her.  She had given me a model of marriage and a loving relationship I hoped I could emulate in my own relationship.  She graciously agreed, so now I share my amazing day with this fantastic couple and I am grateful.

The gifts from Chrystie have not stopped. With her diagnosis of ALS, she hasn’t skipped a beat.  The gifts keep coming…. 

Of course, when I heard the diagnosis I was scared and sad but, talking with Chrystie, I heard strength in her voice and see, daily, the conviction and drive she has to spread the awareness of ALS.  Through this journey, she has given me the gift of appreciating now.  The moments we have in life, regardless of their nature, all contribute to us being fully present.  Appreciating what we have and valuing those we chose to spend our lives with is a gift I use and share daily.

I am so thankful for the many gifts I have received over the years from Chrystie.  Her courage is an inspiration.  I will continue to cherish those gifts and spread awareness of ALS and do my part to find a cure.

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