Monday, September 29, 2008
Advantages to being unreasonable
Crazy week! I went to bed last night again thinking about how much I love my job. That’s right! The weekend was amazing. So, remember how I cry…yeah, huge bawl-baby. Rachel and I went to Salem Heights Elementary School, where we had a Signing Time story time. We met with teachers, principal and students who greeted us with the most gracious smiles and attention. The children were absolutely fantastic. I was so impressed by how polite they were. They also shocked me by knowing almost all the signs Rachel taught them. So, instead of teaching them, it was more like a refresher course…you know, just to practice. For me too…since I work at a sign language company and am still learning how to sign ;) I guess I am just really good at verbally communicating…all my close friends can attest to that ;) and I am sure that is why they hired me.
After we spoke with the kindergartners, we were escorted to Salem Heights Church, where they had the most incredible set-up for Rachel. About 300 kids came into the auditorium that was set up for bands and the like. The sound system was incredible and Rachel was amazing. Of course during Caterpillar Dreams, I cried my eyes out.
I was chatting with one of the adults who told me how there are so many people who need to understand that sign language can be for everyone, not just children who are deaf. I mean, we were in Salem in the first place for the Willamette Valley Down Syndrome Association who sponsored this year’s Buddy Walk. We were in Salem because someone saw the vision of what sign language can do to break down communication barriers for children of all abilities.
I am always impressed and touched by stories of people who have benefited from sign language as a means to truly understand their children or students. I spoke with a lady who told me that her daughter, though not born deaf, was born with developmental delays and who really only communicates using sign language. Of course everything is case by case, but she rarely verbalizes making it hard for her mom and dad to truly know what she wants or needs. Some schools feel that the deaf and hard of hearing programs are the only programs that should use sign language, however, after seeing this little girl and meeting her, I know it is more than just that.
As we drove away from the Elementary School and church, we saw the sign outside school that said ‘Welcome Rachel Coleman.’ We missed taking a pic of it, so circled around so we could get a shot.
So…what does Rachel Coleman do in between outreach shows…well, allow me to let you in on a little secret. It involves stopping at some swanky stores to buy sweat patches. That’s right, Rachel sweats…but shh, don’t tell the kids. We don’t want to ruin their romantic notions of this Signing Star. I really don’t even know if they are called sweat patches, but they must do their job, because I never see Rachel sweat (when she is performing). After this summer it might not be a bad idea for me to invest in some. Seriously. And spanx…just saying.
Probably a good problem to have but I had to buy new pants because the pair I was wearing kept falling off. That’s right, I am skinnier. Let’s blame it on the fact that I hadn’t had anything to eat the whole trip and had to force Rachel to eat. KIDDING, but we did find it hard to eat….showbiz, you know. I actually just finished up my Body for Life program. Loved it. Very satisfied with my ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures. Planning on doing it again in November!
So, after buying pants that won’t fall off my skinny little waist ;) hah, we realized that we had 30 minutes to find, or rather, get lost on the way to the other church where Rachel was performing as part of the WVDSA fundraiser. Again…bawled like a baby. Oh, I love it! Everyone was so AWESOME with us. I felt like a princess, as I am sure Rachel did too. It was remarkable to walk into a room, where instead of shaking hands, they totally hugged. Oh…seriously, it was my kind of place.
I am convinced that when people ask for what they want, when they want it…that things happen. Opportunities present themselves in ways that could never have been seen coming. Today, for example opened me up to all those possibilities that had not presented themselves before. After doing PR for others who are very strict on their schedules, I always found it hard to make room for additional or other possibilities. Call me un-spontaneous…ir-spontaneous…whatever the opposite is…but that is generally me. I like having a plan…I am a planner. It is part of my job – making itineraries, scheduling interviews, meeting deadlines, getting approval for all my work prior to letting the public see it…stuff like that. So…over the weekend, I practiced being unreasonable!
Rachel has a best friend who called first thing on Saturday to tell her that she was having a baby. Rachel has become her birth coach and hoped and prayed that this baby would not peak until she was back from both of our trips (remember how we were scheduled to go to Denver?) So, Saturday morning, Rachel woke up to a call from her friend saying that she wasn’t too comfortable in her tummy area and she hurt a little, but not a lot…and that her water broke. Rachel kept saying over and over, “Whose water breaks? That is only something that happens in movies. I can’t believe this…I have to be there.” Rachel sprung into action. I started looking at flights that she could take where she could leave earlier than planned. I called Cory, my contact with the WVDSA to throw around some possibilities of going on earlier rather than later.
I never in my right mind would ask someone who is paying us to be there change their plans on behalf of us, when we would just get there at 7 that night anyway, but I threw out the possibility. With a little back and forth…the WVDSA totally understood and let Rachel perform earlier so we could book it from Salem to Portland. After running around our hotel room (which was totally like our own little apartment) like chickens with our heads cut-off, we managed to – pack all of our things, booked Rachel’s travel plans, decided to eat the Canolli’s at the walk and share, blogged about our hit in the Salem Journal that had a spread from yesterday (thank you Nacho and Sara), called Denver to confirm plans for the next morning, ironed shirts, did hair/makeup, sorted out what items were for the raffle, made separate piles for what to take to the event and what to leave in the car, flirted with the front desk man and the official Signing Time online boyfriend, bandaged my toe (it has since bled for two weeks…due to Salsa classes and boys who are learning) and made it out the door in 45 minutes.
The Buddy Walk was awesome! Again, we met families and others who were so incredibly amazing at making EVERYTHING possible for their children, and in turn for us. I am not going to tell you how long it took us to get to Portland, because I know some of you are related to cops. Fact is, Rachel got on her flight to go deliver a baby in Salt Lake and was going to meet up with me first thing on Sunday morning (at 6:30 a.m.) to do a morning show interview in Denver. The baby didn’t come…Rachel couldn’t find a flight…so DROVE with her husband all the way to Denver to do the show. She believes in this cause and knows that she needed to be there for those families who needed to hear her message. So, she drove 8 hours…and walked right in to the expo in Denver, gave a phenomenal presentation and then got on an airplane. Her friend’s baby was born at 6:34 p.m. last night.
I am so grateful for people who make it possible to do extraordinary things. Whether or not it is for me, my family, my employer, children – everyone who has ever had to change their plans after months of organization in order to have an unforeseeable outcome. Seriously. It is pretty incredible.