Saturday February 18, 2017

I am writing this morning from Omaha, Nebraska in the shadows of the Centurylink Center where later today, Erin's volleyball team will start play. This is a three day tournament called Pres Fest with hundreds of teams from a dozen states. I'm looking forward to it!

Dan is home babysitting the pets. After several weeks in a row of traveling and staying in hotels, the 5 hour trip to Omaha wasn't on the top of his wish list. It's OK, he knows I was ready to get out of Roch and I am enjoying having a hotel room to myself. I don't remember the last time that happened... I think my cousin's wedding a couple of years ago...

But, while I like my alone time, I've been thinking a lot this week about relationships and the people in my life...

Tuesday, was Valentine's Day, and while Dan had to hit the road that morning, he left me a sweet Valentine's card. It's good to be loved. I played tennis with my group of close friends and oh, did we laugh. Our "Tuesday Tennis" group is always just what the doctor ordered.

Wednesday was a day spent at work, collaborating a bunch of moving parts and producing quality work. It's a really healthy, fun working environment. Almost a year into being a full time employee, I am really getting to know the people and... bonus... I really like them.

Thursday night my women's volleyball team finished up our season. Over a beer afterward, we talked about kids, husbands, work, school, college... six 40-something women have a lot to say!

As I was driving 5 hours in my car by myself yesterday (Erin was on the bus with her team) I was thinking about how big my world is now. So much bigger than before Shannon got sick. Is it because we shared our story about Shannon and continue to be "out there" in her memory? Is it because I'm more open? Does it just naturally come with age?

It's probably a combination of all of the above...

I do know that Shannon led us down a path where we realized more fully that the human connections we make are everything. At my volleyball game this week, a woman on the other team stopped me after the game and asked "Are you Shannon's mom?" She worked in radiation oncology and was a part of Shannon's treatment team sometimes. She told me "Shannon was a great kid." Dead or alive, that's what a mama wants to hear.

The Tuesday tennis group are the women who showed up when I needed it most after Shannon's passing. The helped me back to some sense of normal and they continue to let me talk about both of my girls.

Even my volleyball team has a Shannon element to it. Their kids were friends and teammates of Shannon. They all knew her, or knew of her through their children.

I've been thinking a lot about how Shannon continues to shape me, and I've been thinking about how Shannon will affect Erin as she goes forward in life. Erin will make hundreds of new connections in the coming years as she finishes high school and goes off to college. How will she carry Shannon with her and share her those who never knew her? That is not for me to decide - it's up to Erin - but I still find myself thinking about it.

Lots of deep thoughts for a Saturday morning in Omaha... grateful for the time and space to think them.