Dear Orange Rhino Community,
I had the honor of being interviewed for a newspaper article recently. I don’t know when the article will publish, but I know this. I loved telling my story about The Orange Rhino Challenge. I loved the chance to stop and realize how much not yelling has really benefited me in so many ways beyond my parenting. And I loved sharing about the incredible Orange Rhino community.
Talking about The Orange Rhino Challenge always gets me going – in a really good way. One of my favorite questions that got me all fired up because the answer still shocks me is: have you ever wanted to just scream your head off and quit? And if so, what happened?
My short answer? Oh yes, of course! Lots of times. It is hard work not yelling especially on the really hard days but miraculously every single time, truly every single time I hit my breaking point, someone surprised me with the most perfect, supportive gesture at the most perfect time. It’s surreal. There is a quote that goes something like “when you have a dream and believe in it, people conspire to make it happen.” I have proved this quote true to be true and that is what I have loved so much about The Orange Rhino Challenge. It is moms and dads, mostly strangers, helping each other to make dreams of being a better parent happen. It’s just been an amazing, very touching journey.
My long answer? It turns out the real quote by Paulo Coelho goes:
“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize this dream.”
Yes. Yes, yes, yes! There have been many times when I wanted to just quit, but you all didn’t let me. Knowingly, or unknowingly, you all conspired to not let me quit when I wanted to.
I remember clear as yesterday the time I was driving up the hill around the corner from my house. I was talking to my mom, no bawling to my mom, saying “I just don’t think I can do this. It is so hard and exhausting and I just want to quit. I love writing but it stresses me out too because I feel so vulnerable after I share some of more personal stuff. Why did I make this promise? If I quit I’ll just let myself down and more so my boys so I can’t quit but oh I want to so badly. Mom….what am I supposed to do?” She of course said that I can do anything I put my mind to, that I couldn’t quit and to just give it one more day.
I came home to a surprise package from an Orange Rhino. The most beautiful note was inside as was this adorable Carter’s Orange Rhino sweatshirt. I mean really, Carter’s had orange rhinos on their clothes when I had my challenge going? What are the chances? I felt the world was sending me a message: don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. You’re onto something. Believe in yourself. Be an Orange Rhino!
And then there was the time when I was so overwhelmed with my to-do list that I couldn’t get a grip and I just wanted to scream at my kids. And voila! a college-ruled note pad showed up at my door in honor of one of my posts. My spirit lifted and I finally started chipping away at my list and the stress on my shoulder. I survived another day without yelling.
And I could go on and on about the most beautiful, gracious, thoughtful emails I have received from all of you thanking me for sharing. What you don’t realize is that every single one of those emails LITERALLY came when I was at my weakest. It was uncanny, really. I would be minutes away from writing my “this is my last post, I have had enough” post and one of you would send me a message that gave me strength and hope and I kept going. So really, I should be thanking you, not vice versa! And I should be thanking you for every time you read something I wrote, shared something, commented or even just liked my page. Your interest kept me up, reminded me that I was not alone, and pushed me through the day.
As does this little keychain. I’ll never forget the day I was so exhausted I dropped to the floor in tears and later on one of you messaged me about this awesome key chain. It was the only orange rhino and you said I must get it. Again, what are the chances of there being an orange rhino out there? Or even a friend finding an orange rhino butter dish to give to me? And what are the chances that the year I launch my blog orange would be the “it” color and everywhere I went I would see orange? And what are the chances that there would be a huge 10′ rhino statue where we went away for Mother’s Day? I mean really. Rhinos became cool this year. Coincidence?
Some people say you see what you want to see. That you can call all this perfect timing and perfect placement a coincidence. But it’s not. It’s a conspiracy, a really powerful and awesome one. This year I have felt the world, all of you, conspiring to help me and well shoot, I am sitting here writing this with tears in my eyes.
I have changed this past year. I have grown up. I have opened up. I have found me again. I have found a more loving, patient and understanding relationship with my kids and I just feel really blessed to have had so much love and support. I am so grateful that I had a dream and the universe did indeed conspire to make it happen!
I have 6 days left on my Orange Rhino Challenge. My son asked me today what I was going to do to celebrate. He said I should bring a bunch of animals to our yard and paint them orange… and…(more importantly) that I should thank everyone.
The thing is, saying thank you just doesn’t even seem strong enough, but it’s a start.
The Orange Rhino