The day dawned cold and cloudy and snowy. We got up and were out of the house in almost record time. I had places to be and I couldn't be late! I was about to be a medal bearer and become a part of Canadian history.
Ok - maybe I exaggerate. But it isn't everyday that a gal gets to join the ranks of only 7000 other Canadians! I wanted to make the most of every moment!
I was to be at the Kingsland Community Centre by 9:15 am. We pulled in shortly after 9 and I was so excited to see the Rick Hansen Relay shuttle parked out front :) PHOTO OP!
The first bit at the Centre was a whirlwind of checking in and getting my uniform, which was unfortunately slightly too small. They said they had had some trouble with them fitting small and a lot of people requesting larger sizes on site instead. So, the medium pants, which would have fit me great had they fit true to size, were tight and short. The jacket fit fairly well, though was tight across the hips. Ah well - I decided to make it work. After all - the experience was more important than the uniform. I was a bit concerned though, about how the sudden colder temperatures that hit for today would be with the summer-weight suit being too small to have too many layers under (didn't end up being an issue).
Soon, the Relay staff has us sitting in a circle to learn more about the Relay and the Foundation. My girls were pretty good through the first part - they were even rewarded with some lapel pins from the staff.
They started to get restless about halfway through the discussion so hubby took them to the car to watch cartoons until I was done.
As they talked about the accessible world that Rick Hansen inspired, I came to realize exactly how much more this has affected me and I never really thought about it - despite being so involved in this. Thinking back, I can remember trying to kill days in the city with a giant double stroller filled with twins. Automatic doors - yes, please. That elevator from the heated parkade - thank you! Wheelchair ramps. Large bathroom stalls that could accommodate a stroller so I wouldn't need to leave my daughters alone in a mall bathroom. I've been a heavy user of accessible features EVERYWHERE for almost 3 years. Most moms have.
As much as I have been inspired by Rick Hansen over the years - I'm not sure I really APPRECIATED the impact as it related to me until today.
Soon, we were all sharing our Difference Maker stories. Some of the people there were in places that had been reserved for several companies associated with the relay. There were also kids who are leaders in their schools, a girl with Spina Bifida who plays so many sports, community volunteers - in many ways I felt so not worthy (though I know that I have made many contributions over the years)
Before we knew it, the almost 2 hours had sped by and it was time to learn the Medal Bearer Dance. Oh, how I wish I was kidding. I'm glad I watched a ton of YouTube videos last night so I could be prepared for this. The Relay staff taught us a choreographed routine to Katy Perry's Fireworks. Don't worry - there's a video in the Ed of Day post that is yet to come...you'll get to see it.
Then it was onto the shuttle. We were mere minutes away from carrying a medal that had already passed through the hands of 5000 medal bearers across Canada!
Stay tuned for part two!