Marie woke up with a smile on her face. “Mid-thirties. I like that,” she whispered to herself.
It was still dark out. The sun would rise while on her early morning three and-a-half mile run. She gets up so early most mornings, especially lately, because there is much to do. This is the case all the time in the business she’s in, but more so lately.
The last seven weeks or so has seen a flurry of planning and fussing over what details are possibly being overlooked. There are no second chances to get this right.
It’s funny how a fiftieth wedding anniversary sometimes seems like a well-kept secret; an undisclosed piece of classified information that no one is supposed to know. Funny because such a notable milestone can be known by applying some pretty simple math. Still, it can sneak up on the family and loved ones of those whose golden anniversary approaches. Such was the case with Marie’s family.
A couple months ago, in a casual phone conversation with an aunt, Marie had asked if there are any family get-togethers or celebrations of note in the near future that she might not yet be aware of and that, accordingly, should be in her calendar.
Her aunt chuckled and said, “I’m glad you asked. I had coffee at Mom and Dad’s on Saturday morning. For some reason I happened to notice something I’ve overlooked about a million times: their wedding date right in the middle of that framed photo montage you and Lisa put together for their twenty-fifth. Marie, that was twenty-five years ago. That means your grandparents’ fiftieth anniversary is coming up in two months!”
Of course, Marie had seen that montage countless times over the years as well, and with it being mentioned in conversation, along with the date and the day the gift was given, she was now instantly back in that moment in time when she was sixteen years old. She smiled at that Marie, the Marie that was just beginning to drive and, in the words of one of her favorite Rascal Flatts’ songs, she smiled about the broken road that led her to where her life is today.
So, with this phone call, thus began the planning for a momentous family milestone. Marie and her aunt met within a few days to start organizing and delegating between themselves what seemed like a mountain of details in creating a happy and memorable 50th wedding anniversary party.
They quickly booked a nice location for the big day. Within about an hour Marie had created a Facebook event announcement containing the outline of the occasion (with more information to be announced) and she went about inviting those of her family and friends who know the couple… and who are also on Facebook. Unfortunately, there were only seven that she could find… at least among her Facebook friends. Maybe her aunt had more that could be added later, but that was a start.
With all this – and the many other details of life constantly vying for her attention – running is still an important part of her busy schedule. She’s committed to three days a week.
It is rare that Marie is ever too busy to run, for during this part of her morning routine she is able to sort of “get into the flow” of the day ahead. She prays. She plans. She thinks of people she needs to touch base with. She thinks about who and what she’s grateful for. She feels herself putting the demands of the insurance brokerage she owns and runs into a balanced perspective against the things in her life that are truly are important.
Not that her clients and their needs are not important. But, thanks to a combination of things her dad taught her over the years and learning from mistakes made in the course of not following her father’s pattern for facing life’s obstacles, she’s starting to get good at going with the flow and keeping her many priorities in the right order.
Grabbing her running shoes and heading down the hall, Marie mutters, “Six staggered client appointments in a row, starting at 8 o’clock… ugh.”
Then reasoning with herself in the mirror: “…but if I grumble at Matty for getting me started so doggone early every day this week, she’ll just remind me that I’m trying to stuff five days of work into four so I can head to the anniversary earlier on Friday. So, here’s to road trips!” toasting an imaginary Champagne glass with her reflection.
Matty, short for Mattison, is Marie’s assistant. Marie took a chance in hiring her. Matty had no insurance industry experience to offer and her references were all on the other side of the country where she grew up and, to Marie, not worth the follow up. On the strength of the interview, Marie trusted her intuition in hiring Matty and now she was glad she had done it. Of the six assistants Marie has had in the last eight years, Mattison Nichols was proving to be the best ever.
Matty has been especially helpful to Marie, personally, as Marie has endeavored to run the brokerage while planning this anniversary celebration on the east side of the state. Now, the golden anniversary is in just a few days.
To be continued…