In order for me to share the best of my 3Day with all of you, I have once again, broken it down into several parts. Here is the first installment of The Real Housewives of the 3Day:
Arriving at the stage, I was greeted by other flag bearers. They then separated us into groups, with me being placed in the Survivor Circle. It was here that I met Dina, a young survivor from Andover. Dina was the captain of Second Wind, another small team that raised a lot of money. The funny thing is that I had heard of Dina because she and Patty had a mutual friend. The eight of us women chatted and shared our 3Day experiences. There were only 2 of these women who had never walked before. After practicing with our flags, we were finished and were told we could be on our way. On my way out, I gave a quick wave to Dylan and Alexa who were at Crew Day for Youth Corp.
As I got onto the Pike, I gave Kaitlyn a call to let her know that I was stuck in traffic. I was on my way to pick her up, so that she could take the party bus with us to Opening Ceremonies. Mind you, Kaitlyn lives in Waltham, about 20 minutes from Framingham, but she agreed to get up at 3:00AM, so she could be part of the team. What a good sport!
I arrived at Kaitlyn's house, she said goodbye to her family, and we were on our way. After we arrived home, we grabbed a quick salad, made sure that we had packed everything, relaxed for a few, and then went to bed a little later than we had expected--10:30. Much too late when you are getting up before dawn.
Of course, I didn't sleep well. Do you ever when you have some big event happening? 3AM, came much too quickly. We threw our clothes on, and were just putting our sneakers on when Patty pulled into the driveway. We grabbed our gear and were off to Cheryl's where the party bus was meeting us.
As we walked over to Farm Pond, we stopped in at the tent which held the Opening Ceremonies flag. It was a long piece of rope with hundreds of small strips hanging off of it, almost like miniature banners. It was here that we waited as Patty wrote her mom's name down, and we wrote the names of those who are meaningful to us. From there, we took a few photos and waited for our journey to begin.
Right before I had to go behind the stage for Opening Ceremonies, my friend Gail showed up. Gail has seen me through all stages of my life in recent years. During the 3Day she became affectionately known as the "macaroon lady" because she makes the best chocolate chip macaroons, and was kind enough to make some for the team. Her parents reside in Framingham, and she decided to come over to see me, Theresa, and Gretchen off. It meant the world to me to have her there.
While I was waiting back stage, who comes up with a pink swim noodle decorated with TWP all over it, but Tracy! Seeing her there brought back all the memories of last year, the torrential rain, and all. It was bittersweet. I was thrilled that she was there, but so sad that she was not walking. We spent a few minutes chatting, and then it was time for the Ceremonies to begin.
Being a flag bearer was indescribable, as was most of the walk this year. I was given the "love" flag to carry and couldn't have been happier. As I walked across the stage, and up to the Survivor Circle, I looked to my left, and there were all of my teammates, most of them with tears streaming down their faces. Wow! The feeling of admiration I have for these nine women just washed over me. As I stood in the circle looking down at them, I just wanted to scream, "Thank you! You have made me a better person, and have made the world a better place!" I know it sounds corny and cliche, but to me it was so true. When I walked off the stage, I headed onto the street to wait for my team. Once again, there was Tracy waiting to cheer me on--a true friend.
I was thrilled when I saw my team dancing along the path leading up to where I was. We immediately hugged and were on our way--3 days, 60 miles.
When we first started this journey, we made a conscious decision to walk as a team--no woman left behind. We knew that this would often be challenging for us, but it was so important. That was what made this year so powerful to me. It is so rare to have 10 women get along so well, and support each other in every way possible. That is exactly what we did.