from friends to family…
Have you ever stopped and looked at your life, like really looked at it, only to be amazed at how lucky you are? Such a glance at one’s life may not occur daily, although perhaps it should. I had one of those moments this past Sunday.
With one eye open, I stumbled through the San Diego airport at 6am Sunday morning and was greeted by a familiar face. A southern gentleman with the drawl to match, he extended his hand in greeting as he always does and welcomed me to Gate 8 as if we were in his living room. His warm and kind essence is always a welcome addition to any environment. The gentleman was Dr. W.C. Maples. As I glanced left, another familiar face appeared with her family and staff in tow. With kindness and warmth (which is no easy task at 6am on a Sunday morning), Dr. Nancy Guethner, whom I’ve met several times, shared a few of her experiences from the last week. After a few minutes, we all spread to different corners of the waiting area as if we quietly sensed each other’s fatigue and need to decompress, and were trying to respect the need for space.
My flight back to Austin was filled with equal parts excitement and sadness. It had been a full week since seeing my own kids, and because of the time difference, timing an evening call became challenging. They were anxious to see me, and I them! The reunion was worth the wait!
On the other end of the spectrum was a feeling of sadness, because alas, I was leaving my second family behind. Anyone who has followed my writing for a while knows that some of my best friends are in Developmental Optometry, and for about a dozen of them, we have become like family. We laugh together, we cry together, we banter continuously, we bicker at each other, we hug and apologize, we love each other unconditionally, and we have each other’s back – 100% – all the time. Last May, someone in my VT family was celebrating her first birthday since recovering from cancer, and the rest of us converged on South Carolina to throw her a surprise party in celebration. The weekend long event went so well, we’ve decided to make the trip and annual event. We keep in touch in our special ways, supporting one another through life’s challenges, which most times reach far beyond our respective VT rooms.
As I settled in on Sunday evening, I spent a few minutes reflecting on my week, on the incredible experience that COVD’s Annual Meeting continues to deliver, and the amazing people that I am blessed to consider my VT family. They are wonderful people, and they make every moment of our time together memorable.
When I look at my life, like really look at it, I cannot help but be eternally grateful for the friends I’ve made on my VT journey. For my VT family, our next scheduled gathering will be in April 2015 in Las Vegas, which will be COVD’s next meeting. Between now and then, I will be missing them dearly.
Man, April sure does seem far away…