Each year I look at the Friends for Life Canada program and I am amazed by the wealth of knowledge and experience found in its presenters. I see names that I have read about. I see people whose work I have followed. I see an entire alphabet behind their names and I think, "Wow! How lucky am I to be heading off to see them?"
When the time comes, I pack my suitcase and I begin to panic. What the heck am I doing?
I am going to catch up with old friends and meet new ones!
Seriously though, who do I think I am to be going to this?
I am one lucky person!
I don't have a lot of letters after my name and yet I am listed as being "one of them"?
I didn't have an answer to that one. I have been blessed to have been a part of the Canadian CWD conferences since they began. My role has grown over the years and their faith in me never ceases to amaze me. I always prepare for the trip wondering when they will realize that I am just a mom. When will they stop asking me back? This weekend made me realize the answer to that question.
Jeff Hitchcock spoke a number of times throughout the conference. The thing he said that had the biggest impact on me was not when he said that my son's chance of developing kidney disease had nearly been erased because of when he developed diabetes and the tools that we now use. It was not the fact that mice had been cured of type 1 diabetes over 300 times-- I knew that Mickey was a very happy mouse for a reason.
The thing that resonated with me the most was when he too discussed the incredible panel of experts that had spoken over the weekend. He stated that he did not have a number of letters after his name. He did however have three very important letters after his name...D A D. He noted that many of the audience had the same letters and that others of us had a different three. Our letters were M O M. He then went on to say that he also had a math degree which is how he could read so many studies.
I began to think about my own letters...M-O-M. I had thought of myself as "just a Mom" but now I had a new view. I was Barb, MOM, BA. The MOM was more important than the degree I hold. They truly were the most important letters after my name. For years, I had been impressed by the incredible Moms and Dads out there. I didn't think of their other professions. I was amazed at what great parents they were first and foremost.
This new found awareness will not change some things. I will still look at each FFL Canada program in awe. I will still most likely panic and wonder if I will do justice to the tasks that Laura has entrusted me with. There will be one change though. I will no longer worry that I am "just a mom". I will now proudly realize, that like many other great parents in my life, I hold the title--Barb, MOM.