Today I'm excited because we got to pick the font for my book last night. OK, so yeah, maybe that seems kind of a little thing to get happy about, but it's big to me. One of the handful of people to whom I'm dedicating my book (due out in June!) is this week's Climate Changer, my Godmother Sue.
Unlike the font in my book and whom I get to dedicate it to, in life, there's a lot of stuff we don't get to choose. Who your Godparent will be is one of those decisions that we must rely on someone else to make for us. In my case, it was my mom who picked her best friend, Sue, for me. In fact, Sue picked my mom for her daughter just two months later, so it was a win-win for these two friends. And, as time would pass, and months would turn into years, and years into decades, mom choosing Sue for me would turn out to be an amazing gift that keeps on giving.
From my earliest memory, happiness and joy come along with Sue wherever she goes. If I get quiet enough, I can hear her contagious laughter. So from little on, I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be like her. You may be thinking that I was lucky to have a second mom like that so close by, but here's the weird thing ... I was raised in Wisconsin and Sue lived miles and miles away, first in Massachusetts, then in Ohio, and finally in PA.
During my formative years, I knew Sue through her infrequent visits to WI, kind of, but primarily through letters. Then, at the end of my eighth grade year, she gave me an unbelievable Confirmation present, a visit to their home on the East coast. For a girl who'd not really left the small town of Wayside
much at all, that was huge. They drove to Wisconsin for a visit, then I got to ride back to their home with them in their station wagon and spend a week away from my chores and responsibilities on the farm. I cannot begin to explain how homesick I was. What should have been a fun and carefree time was really hard and challenging, but Sue turned a tough situation into an opportunity for growth and, in hindsight, it was a chance for an awkward Midwest farmer's daughter, a girl Sue loved unconditionally and without reservation, to mature and become more independent.
|Just look at her radiant smile!|
The climate of a room changes for good when Sue enters. Loving kindness enshrouds her and I know exactly why mom picked her to be my second mom. But don't be misled; Sue will have a tough talk with me if need be. She didn't just promise to be there with me only through the good times. She has helped parent me through the dark times as well. And she's not afraid to tell me how the cow ate the cabbage, when she needs to, as delicately as she can, of course. Sue is a warm demander, compassionate and courageous, caring and forgiving.
And, in every interaction, Sue makes me laugh.
It has been 53 years since Sue promised her best friend to help raise me should the need ever arise and she has stuck to that verbal contract more times than I can count. Sue is always just a phone call or an email or text away,
cheering me on,
laughing with me,
praying for me.
I've been blessed to see Sue and her husband Clay just a handful of times in the last few years. Most recently, they came to take me to lunch in DC last October when I was there for the Character Education Partnership Forum. They also attended the Forum in the fall of '09 to be there when we accepted our National School of Character award. In '08, they attended my keynote in New Jersey and we spent a lovely weekend together. And I feel certain that they'll come to the Forum again this fall when I give the opening keynote address. And I can't wait to see them again! In case you missed the story from their Golden Anniversary celebrating 50 years of wedded bliss, go read the heartwarming account about That Doll next.
Thank you, Sue (and Clay!), for being a second mom,
a character role model,
and a Climate Changer in my life.