If there had to be only one Fargo, I'm glad it's here, and I'm glad I happen to live in it. Let me just tell you a little bit about my day - one day - and give you the short list from the bazillion reasons I love this place.
After this (early) morning's thunderstorm passed through, Little Man decided he was pretty emotional about everything Mommy had to accomplish today and wasn't going to let me get anymore sleep. Have I mentioned I don't get much sleep? I feel like I need to mention I haven't slept.. Little Miss came downstairs and was upset she didn't wake up before her daddy went to work. She promptly got over that, though, and moved right into telling me she was really hungry and I needed to get up and get her breakfast. Oh sweet, dear child. I asked her what she wanted and then somehow made it to the kitchen, while trying to pull the half of my hair that had affixed itself to my face, back into the ponytail that once encased it. Then...I got a shower. I won't tell you how infrequently I get to take those compared to in my past life - but just know this really excited me today. Both kiddos were cooperative and I got to take a shower. Before noon even. Big day. BIG day.
We got ourselves situated and went to our family doctor. Little Man has been having some feeding issues and I needed to make sure it was nothing concerning, and wanted the observations I had made regarding his tongue and mouth evaluated. I cannot say enough good about our family doctor. I love her, I adore her, and not just her - but the entire organization and each doctor and nurse that work with her. They are amazing, they sit down with me for however long I need them to, they know (and always remember) me and my children, they listen to my concerns, they let me cry when I need to, they don't dismiss ANYTHING I say, no matter how ridiculous it may be, and they nurture (truly, nurture) us to our best physical health. I've lived in five different states, and out of all the doctors I remember, I have never come across any as special as these. Thank God they're in Fargo, and thank God we found them. In fact, I'm going to send them a card that tells them as much. More good news - Little Man appears to be better than I originally anticipated, though we are being referred to a specialist.
We then returned home for some afternoon cuddles and to put Little Miss and Little Man down for nap. I needed to once again pump, and head to a very special ceremony. Once upon a time in the year 2012, I was privileged enough to be part of a women's leadership program put on by our local United Way & Women's Leadership Council. This program, 35 Under 35, changed my life and the lives of the 34 other women in my group. I have countless stories of how these women have supported me in the darkest days of my life, have rallied around me in support through good and bad since, and how the program itself inspired passions within me I didn't know existed. Today was a special day because Michelle was graduating from this year's 35 Under 35 program. I attended the ceremony 1.) because I love Michelle and 2.) because I love this program and everything it stands for. When I pulled in to the parking lot, I saw one of last year's alum. I caught up with her and she asked, "Did you hear what happened? Did you hear what they did to Michelle?"
I don't know about you, but I never associate those kinds of questions with good things. I'm a worrier, and when someone asks if I heard what they "did" to my friend and Harlynn's Heart partner, I immediately go to the worst, and get butterflies in my stomach. She then proceeded to tell me what they did.
One of our banks in town has a wonderful pay-it-forward program. All of their employees get money to pay-it-forward in the community. The last couple of years the employees get money, and then they get more money to give to someone else in the community so THAT person can pay it forward it to someone else. It's an awesome program, and one I've been indirectly involved with for the last few years (my husband is blessed to be one of their employees). Today, the CEO of said bank was a presenter during today's 35 Under 35 session. He gave pay-it-forward money to - how do I describe her? - one of the most compassionate United Way volunteer champions you'll ever come across, and she happens to be a fantastic president and leader of our local Dale Carnegie training. Seated next to her was the Resource Development Director for our local United Way, who also had in her possession pay-it-forward money. In a matter of minutes and with little to no discussion, the two decided to pool their funds and present them to Michelle for Harlynn's Heart. For our Little Organization That Could. For us to use for spreading hope, love, and healing to the hurting hearts of loss parents in our community. Right there as the story unfolded - in the parking lot - I started crying.
Now, because I'm an alum of the program, and because I spent (and continue to as often as they'll allow me) so much time with these two ladies, I'm lucky enough to call them friends. Let's say at the risk of me coming across as somewhat stalker-ish, we are reciprocally friends. The fact that they believe so much in the mission of Harlynn's Heart, and in Michelle and I as stewards of that mission, means more to me than I can aptly express.
When I walked into the auditorium for the ceremony, I was greeted by new friends, fellow alum, and it just felt so comfortable. I chatted it up with dear, dear women who have come to mean so much to me over the last couple of years, and it made my heart full. To be there in support of Michelle, and in support of this program, was exactly what I wanted to be doing this afternoon. Even if I was doped up on the maximum dose of Ibuprofen. (Still recovering a bit from random surgery pain...) Sitting next to me was my dear friend, fellow church mate, and 2012 35U35 alum, Katie. Last year we sat next to each other at the graduation ceremony as well. She held my hand as I cried during the speeches. This year, as apparently is our tradition, she sat next to me and held my hand as I cried during the speeches.
Since living in Fargo, we've met people who have given us whatever they could or had available to help us out in times of need. We've made friends who have sat alongside us in support during the most difficult times we've ever faced. We've developed relationships with the most genuine, concerned, good-hearted people the midwest has to offer. My family loves visiting us, because they love spending time with and getting to know our friends. Our church family is just that - family. We are taken care of in Christ's love, no matter what we face.
These are the kind of people Fargo brings to be. Genuine, loving, compassionate people. From my family doctor and her entire team, to a room full of inspiring, compassionate women. From the kids who draw pictures to leave on Harlynn's grave site, to the CEOs of major local companies. From the family I've become a part of at my church, to the stranger who hugged me after seeing the article in the newspaper about Harlynn's Heart starting. Even the very families who we long to help as Harlynn's Heart, give back to us - to me - in ways I can't express how much I appreciate. To be acknowledged as one of them, a loss mom, and not just "the woman who visited me in the hospital", is so powerful to me.
I don't even have time to talk about how this community bands together during floods or other crisis situations. Or how benefits for people in need bring together hundreds of people in support to rally around and provide for those who require it. And don't get me started on the support this area has for our NDSU Bison. This is a giving, generous, loving place. This is a community that CARES. It cares about its people. It cares about its future. It cares about little old me.
Thank God for Fargo. Thank God He led Brent and me here over eight years ago. Thank God for the people He has placed in this city, this community, and our path. The world could use a few more Fargos.