Union Athletic Department, like the entirety of my Union family, has wrapped my boys and me up and has been one of the life boats we have floated within for days.
Beginning with a delicious meal the week of Taylor's funeral which fed my entire extended family, the athletic department has been a dynamic support system for us. They delivered two large coolers of soft drinks and bottled water and were back to refill them. They sent cards, texts, messages of love, loss and support.
Even before we needed this lifeboat though, Union Athletics has been a pivotal player in the life of our family. From offering exciting intramural opportunities to my children while they were in grade school to facilitating world class high school athletic programs, Union Athletics has never failed us. I think we take for granted the systems and opportunities our local schools systems create for our children in the name of "what's good for kids." Our children spent a good ten years involved in intramural activities; our memories of those events are rich and this thank you is way overdue.
However, that was only the beginning as both Taylor and Wade have thrived while involved in high school athletics. In addition to the sports in which my children participate, I have to mention the overall program. When the kids were young and Joey and I were both working for Union, many family events centered around a football game or a basketball game or another sporting event at Union High School. A centerpiece for the four of us, the athletic program at Union models excellence and the act of chasing excellence at every turn. As a parent, I cannot ask for more; as an educator, I am so thankful to be a part of this team.
This Tuesday the Union coaches were the souls standing in the gap for me. After a hundred days without Taylor, there are moments of peace and acceptance and moments of dark fear and bleak disappointment. It was in one of those moments that Emily Barkley, Union's Athletic Director, invited me to her office and presented me with the bracelet pictured above. The gift is from every coach in the program. It is inscribed with the words I used in my posts about Tay - with a hashtag on Facebook #Golighttheworld. It also has her nickname "TWITCH" inscribed on the side. To say that I love this bracelet fails to create the word picture of what happened in my heart when I saw those words coming from my Union family. She loved Union so and loved cheering for every team, loved being there for every championship.
The gift was timely for a variety of reasons, the most notable being - I had just written that I wanted the next one hundred days of my life to be more worthy of the light Taylor shared with us in the twenty years she spent on this earth. The bracelet will be a close, precious reminder of who this child's mother should strive to be. It will represent to me a team to which I belong and a family of coaches and educators who invest tremendously in the lives of the kids they serve. My words are failing me as I try to convey how personal this gift is, how touched I am that someone noticed this phrase I associate with my girl, how loved we feel.
#Golighttheworld stems from a verse; Matthew 5:14 - 15
"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house."
Thank you, Union coaches, for being the light this week.
Thank you falls short - but you each are my one good thing.