So there I was, standing on the other side of this glass...looking out over the city of Boston..This view, I have always wanted to see it and maybe I did a very long time ago, but tonight I stepped out of the box, for a very special reason. You see, I don't do elevators, but even when I'm forced to, I never go 52 stories up. It's a major problem for me and has been for many years but sometimes, for the right reasons, you have to put your big girl pants on and step out of the box...one corner at a time. I've been doing just that more and more lately. You all know I just had a big birthday and when I crossed that line I became very aware that it's now or never with a lot of things...at the end of the day I want to know that I didn't leave anything undone that I really wanted to do. So, I did this. Not easily, just ask those in the elevator with me..I was the door man, and the button pushers and I was in charge of how many got on that mechanical steel box. None of that matters though. What matters is that I did it and how I felt after and when can i go again.
My motivation was strong...my friend/sister in law was celebrating a birthday. I don't get to see her very often because she lives in New Hampshire and I live in Massachusetts and we have busy lives, both of us, with kids and grandkids. I wanted this to be special for her and also special for me. I did tell you about my birthday this year already...so going along with that theme..I took the plunge and told my heart to be still because I wanted to surprise her and that I did.
Her and I go back a long way.. she knows my history, I know hers. Those are the best kind of friends because they love you anyways...She was married to my brother, who unfortunately is not with us any longer..but is still very much a part of our lives. I am grateful that his passing never changed our relationship, in fact Wendy and I became stronger and almost more committed to keeping our families connected for these last 17 years. So when Jim and I found out that my nephew and niece were taking her to the Top of the Hub, we invited ourselves...LOL... and of course they thought that was a very good idea. That my friends is where the big girl panties come in.
To make a very long story short, I will tell you that for many years, more than I like to think about, I suffered from agoraphobia...and at one point I never left my house, other than for doctor's visits and emergencies, for 3 and a half years. Not a time I like to look back on. I did the work, and slowly I got better but like any other trama it never goes away, you just learn to manage it and I do that brilliantly for the most part, except for ELEVATORS...and 52 stories is more than I can walk. Poor Jim, I remember once I made him walk 16 flights up out of the underground in London. It was amazing that I was underground but I could not take that small box back up to street level and so we walked slowly and deliberately and I was ever so happy to see the sun at the top. So on this night...I knew as I walked towards that big nightmare that I was going to do it...for Wendy and for me. Time to hang up the fears for as often as I can and to celebrate the good times with the best people. What a night it was...we laughed as we always do when we are together...We told stories of long ago...I'm sure the kids were impressed with that. We had wine, but only one for me, I had to drive that elevator back down, then we had cake and the magic view. I stood looking out for such a long time..going in it rained the entire way until we got to the parking garage and then it stopped. A little miracle and a gift. I had been lamenting about finally going up to the top and not being able to get a view...instead I got the most gorgeous view just as the sun started going down. It doesn't matter that I had to shoot through the glass, it doesn't matter that I didn't get the sky completely lit up, I got the gift of a view and it felt so good.
So that my friends was a special night...I hope as much for Wendy as it was for me. I had forgotten the lesson of the more you do something, the easier it gets. I also won't say that the flight down those 52 floors was any easier than going up. As head elevator girl, I kept the number of passengers to a reasonable size getting on...no overloading and no one else working the panel. I was the elevator operator. When those doors finally slid open, after a long 42 seconds, I felt myself let go and breath. I also know that I could do it again if I wanted to.
Wendy is special. She always has been and I'm sure my brother was looking down and smiling, happy to know that we are still family and even more than that, we are friends. She was my motivation to take the trip. Yes it was her birthday and I was so happy to have spent it with her but it was me that got the gift...and hopefully during the night the joy was passed around to all that were at that little table spinning every so slowly above the sky line of Boston...I've got a few more corners to knock off that box...one I will do at the end of April with another special friend I will be meeting in Concord...that will be freeing also..
Happy Birthday Wendy...I love you more as each year passes. I love the way we laugh more than anything else...Yes, I think this should be a yearly event...who knows maybe next year I'll give elevator tours..that could be fun..and thank you Doug and Lori for putting up with your crazy Aunt...you are both such good keepers of us elders. A really special time was had by all.
If any of my friends here need to step out of the box that is holding you in...don't wait until your 70 to put your best foot forward...start now, right where you stand..you'll be so glad you did and along the way, enjoy the view.
"One change always leaves the way open for the establishment of others." Niccolo Machiavelli