I cut my grass today. Sometimes when I cut my grass I get sentimental. And when I get sentimental sometimes I write.
When I was pregnant with my oldest son and then my oldest daughter, I was a gestational diabetic. For a girl who loved sweets--cookies, pies, brownies and most especially Chocolate Fudge Pop tarts drenched in melted butter (don't judge until you've tried it)--it sucked. Like put me in front of Disneyworld and tell me I can't go in, but I can people watch kind of sucked.
So I stopped eating everything I loved. It would've been nice while carrying around a nine and a half pound parasite, to have a cheat day. But I loved those parasites and so I abstained.
A few agonizingly long months later, a doctor laid a baby in my arms. And for a few minutes I forgot how badly I wanted a Friendly's Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Sundae. All I could see was beautiful, healthy baby. And that was enough. Until Husband came in the room with the sundae and then it was pure bliss.
After one of those babies--I can't remember which--someone other than husband recognized the efforts I'd made. It was a lady from church. A mom herself. A mom who'd paid attention when I talked. I don't recall if she visited me in the hospital, or gave the gift to husband to give to me. All I remember, to this day, is that it came in a bag with tissue paper and ribbons. I thought it would be a blanket or sleeper for the baby. But when I opened it, it was a box of Chocolate Fudge Pop-Tarts. To this day it's one of the most thoughtful gifts I've ever received. It probably wasn't much to her, but it was everything to me. A hug and pat on the back, saying, "You did it. Now enjoy."
I still love her for that. She's a Debbie.
This week my husband took our two sons and a friend on a fifty-two mile hike along the Appalachian Trail. He does this every year with any boys from church who he can talk into going. Unfortunately, he couldn't take off work one of the days and the two oldest boys agreed to camp the night alone and hike the next day so that Husband and our youngest son could come home for twenty-four hours.
Together, they had hiked twenty-five miles. Almost half-way done.
Oldest Son decided that he wanted to get up early the next day--their alone day--and try to finish the rest of the hike. His friend wasn't so sure but eventually caved. Twenty-seven miles in one day, up and down the Blue Ridge Mountains. Vistas and valleys and swollen creeks to cross. Throughout the day I got text updates. I cheered them on as they went. The friend told me at one point that he was dying. I kept thinking about the miles they were covering, the up and down, inevitable chafing and aching feet and knees. I prayed that they would be okay. That they would be safe and protected. Mother prayers shooting up to heaven throughout the day.
And then I finally got the word: WE'RE DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
Twenty-seven grueling miles in fourteen hours. Can you say you've done that? I can't.
But that's not what this post is about. It's about Debbie.
The boys had hiked eleven miles when they came upon a woman with her car parked along the trail. She was unloading food. Son said there was so much food--waters, soda, gatorade, ice, apples, celery, grapes, carrots, a variety of chips and popcorn, dog food and treats for hikers with pets. Chocolate bars, pretzels, muffins. And that was only what she'd unpacked so far. She waved the boys over and told them they could eat whatever and however much they wanted. When they asked her why, she said it was something she liked to do. She drove an hour and a half every other weekend to lay out a spread on the Appalachian Trail for any hikers coming through. Just because she wanted to.
When Son told me this, my eyes got a little leaky and my throat closed up. I wanted to hug this woman. I wonder if she knew there was a mom at home praying for these boys to have everything they need, to be watched over and cared for. God wasn't there. But He was.
Bless you Debbie, whoever you are.
Because of her generosity, the boys didn't need to eat the food in their packs, so they gave it to other through-hikers; people hiking the entire AT from Georgia to Maine. A trek that takes between five and seven months. Only twenty percent of those who start, finish. They happily took the food. It meant one less trip off the trail to get food. More time made up in their journey. It meant kindness, love and charity.
It meant the boys got to be Debbies too.