A few weeks ago, I celebrated a birthday. I was overwhelmed with kindness from all directions…family, friends, even strangers who have become part of my life through this blog.
Several of my closest friends planned to take me out to dinner. The first time it was scheduled, my daughter became ill and we had to cancel. The second time it was scheduled, there was an unexpected ice storm and again, we had to cancel.
I was convinced that this birthday celebration was just not meant to be. When I suggested we just skip it this year, my friends immediately scheduled a third date for the celebration.
When we finally all sat down at the table, I had a lump in my throat. There are no words to explain how good it feels to look at the faces of those who don’t give up on you.
I insisted we have a picture, but it was not what you would call your “typical” birthday party picture.
Given these women are loving supporters of both Rachel and of “The Hands Free Revolution,” they didn’t question why I asked them to put their hands together for a picture. They all happily placed their hands in the middle of the table excited to be “Hands Free Rock Stars” in an upcoming blog post.
As I went to take the picture, I found myself getting a little emotional. When I looked at these hands, I thought of not only the hands physically present, but also the hands spiritually present. I thought of every hand of every loving soul that at some point made an impact in my life.
You will hear me speak of angels on this Hands Free journey. I can honestly say I would not be a Hands Free Mama typing these words right now if it weren’t for the angels in my life.
I would not be where I am today without The Angels Who Hold Me Up.
There are people in my past who have held me up in a major way.
There are people in my past who have held me up in small, but incredibly meaningful ways.
There are people currently in my life that hold me up each and every single day.
Whether it was then or now, I am grateful. So today, in honor of Valentine's Day, I am making a list because I feel that it is important to show what “The Angel Impact” looks like.
It might surprise some to learn that incredibly grand gestures and elaborate gifts are not required to touch someone else’s life. It is quite the opposite, actually.
The Angel Impact is seeing a need and then doing whatever it takes to fill that need, regardless of the inconvenience or effort it may cause to provide for someone.
The Angel Impact is taking time to let someone know he or she matters, whether it is through words, actions, beliefs, prayers or presence.
The Angel Impact involves those unforgettable moments in life where you can’t believe someone would do (or say) such a thing for you.
“The Angel Impact” in my life looks like this:
You love my daughters like they are your own.
You are my role model.
You put your hands on my trembling shoulders, held back your tears and said, “You will be just fine.”
You told me you have kept every single note I have written you, and you read them when you are sad.
You see my imperfections, yet you love me even more.
You are the woman I aspire to be.
You are my forever friend since kindergarten, never once letting me down in thirty-four years.
You and I hit a rough patch, but we survived and grew closer.
You took care of my children when they had never been left with anyone besides my family.
You barely knew me, but yet you introduced me to every person you knew so that I would feel included and welcome.
You saw my potential before I did.
You loved my daughter as a person, not simply as a student.
You found me after twenty years and showed me that time and distance cannot alter certain connections between two people.
You are real and allow me to be real.
You are a safe haven for my disappointments, dreams, and frustrations.
You loved me like a daughter.
You loved me like a sister.
You showed me the true meaning of strength and have lived gracefully in honor of your daughter’s legacy.
You never judge me; you only accept me.
You rescued me by holding my colicky baby for hours and hours.
You came into my life at the precise moment that my heart needed you.
You offered me a job.
You listened as I cried in sorrow.
You listened as I cried in frustration.
You believed in me.
You forgave me.
You helped me collect 500 toothbrushes for children who brushed their teeth with twigs.
You showed me what it means to slow down and live in the moment.
You prayed for me.
You shopped with me for hours until we found six great outfits that a postpartum body could feel good in.
You are the greatest source of encouragement my heart has ever known.
You knew I could run 6.2 miles before I did.
You offered to go with me to see the surgeon.
You said this many times, “If anyone should have a blog, it is you.”
You held me when my grandma died.
You left my good-bye party without saying good-bye because you loved me that much.
You opened the doors to God.
You sobbed with me when I told you I had to move away.
You make every effort to be a part of my daughters’ lives despite distance.
Your smile outside the door of a new mother's group was my first sign of hope in months of darkness.
You drove two hours to bring me a homemade coconut birthday cake.
You not only understood my daughter’s sensitivity, but you celebrated it.
You have become my family.
You breathed life back into my lifeless daughter and then sat with me in the emergency room until we knew she was OK.
You helped me send truckloads of lovingly filled shoeboxes to children who have never received a gift.
You drove for hours and hours just to see me.
You opened your classroom and your heart to my students with behavior disorders.
You wrote a note about me that I want to be read at my funeral.
You looked into my tearful eyes and told me not to give up.
You read my blog.
You shared my blog.
You inspire my writing through honest and heartfelt comments.
You took my hand.
You wrapped your arms around me.
You wrapped your arms around me.
You held me up when I couldn’t stand on my own.
You saved me.
You healed me.
You are my angel.
And now it is your turn. As you read through “The Angel Impact” list, I am certain you thought of your own list.
Who holds you up?
Let them know today. Do not wait. Do it now.
And one last thought: Keep surrounding yourself with those who hold you up. Life is too short to be spent with the ones who hold you down.
Who holds you up? This is your chance to let them know. Click the “share” button below and send this message to an angel who held you up. Who knows? Maybe someone will send it to you. You never know what action you do (or did) in someone’s life will create, “The Angel Impact.”