Sunday, September 13, 2015

At the Zoo

Canada Running Series, as an organization has been a friend to me and from that relationship I have been blessed with several other individual friendships. It is true and not just lip service when I say, as the years have passed I have been made to feel like family.
Jenna of CRS and I at Party Site

I have the best imaginable relationship with CRS. It's like being a second cousin who lives far away. Second cousins (especially ones who live out of town) are removed from the day to day activities and stresses that the nuclear family navigates. The core of the family collaborates, negotiates, plans and hosts events. The extended family (if kept in good graces), gets invited to the celebrations and delights in the execution of all the planning.


As a second cousin to the CRS family, I am invited to community runs, expos and races; all celebrations of our ability to run. When I arrive at an event, I am received with a warm embrace and words of welcome and sometimes a kiss on the cheek but happily no cheek pinching. I get to enjoy all of the hard work and planning as an insider, but without the stress of being responsible for the details. When I bring a 'date' with me to any of the functions, my CRS family welcomes them with as much warmth and hospitality. The events are wonderful because I get a chance to see all my other second cousins who are as equally regarded by our nuclear family, as I am.
With Ian of CRS and my date Laurie

To thank my CRS family, last year I volunteered at one of the races they organize, the Zoo Run, and this year I did the same. The Toronto Zoo is the site of this 5 and 10k race, which also boasts a 1k 'Cub Run' which, incidentally is only for the kids and is not meant as a 1k time trial for adults wishing to test their legs...and no, the ankle biters can not be considered as hurdles for cross training purposes...I asked. Volunteering at this race is my way of leaving a hostess gift for my benefactors. This is how I can contribute to the party. Imagine me as the relative offering to refill your drink on behalf of the hostess...in this case, the drink would be in the form of Oasis Juice <shameless plug>. I have no big responsibility to the success of the celebration, yet pitching in is always a great way to say 'I care about you and your success and your guests' comfort.'


I have always been vocal about the fondness and gratitude I have for Jenna and Alan, in particular, as they gave me a life preserver when I needed it most. They threw me a lifeline and pulled me in and invited me to belong. They gave me something to do that felt meaningful while I worked to add sober days to my life. None of us exists in isolation. Our being is made up of many puzzle pieces. Who we are is impacted by those with whom we keep company. I am better because I surround myself with people who want me to succeed, who want me to continue to enjoy the benefits a sober life has brought me. I have been tempted to drink at times and what kills the desire for me, is taking a moment to reflect on everyone around me who would be impacted if I put that bottle to my lips. I think about my husband and kids. I think about my Dad, my in-laws, my Grandma, my Aunt...and I think about my extended family at CRS. This is all the time I seem to need to remind myself  that I am trying really hard to keep from being the outcast of family.

Thank you to everyone at CRS for supporting me, whether you realize you have done it or not.
With April and Melanie of CRS

Laurie and I at our volunteer station





















Volunteers

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