For everyone who knows me well, I couldn’t go close to a month without writing a blog titled “Celine Dion.” There have been so many topics I have thought about throughout the past few weeks, but sharing my memories about Celine are truly some of the fondest memories I have with my mom.
We are currently less than 20km away from Ottawa. Many have asked how I feel. Physically, the running is starting to take a toll on my body. Although my body is almost programmed to run 20km/day now, it has become a mental game throughout the past two weeks. My feet are getting sore and I change my shoes often because it gives me something different to look forward to. On my toughest days, I think about when my mom was sick. During her chemo treatments, she was very sick. She would lie on the couch and often would refuse to eat. When she finally felt hungry, she would crave foods that she normally would never eat. I will never forget the time she asked me for a banana cream pie. During her toughest days I always wanted to make her happy. I used to panic and get frantic if I couldn’t find her exactly what she wanted. When I would find the foods she wanted to eat, I felt like I was truly “on top of the world,” only to find out a few minutes later that she couldn’t eat it because it tasted like metal. Everything tasted like a chemical. I often felt defeated when my mom wouldn’t eat. She tried and tried but some days were just so hard for her. I think about these times often on my toughest runs. I truly have nothing to complain about. I still have the ability to run and make a difference. A little bit of pain is nothing compared to the pain someone with chemotherapy goes through. They are the true heroes.
I might have listened to Celine Dion a few times on our run to Ottawa. Many wonder why I am such a “Super Fan” of Celine Dion. It is fitting that I write about her today because she has taught me a lot about a lot about how to treat others.
I will always remember the first time I heard Celine Dion sing. I was watching the tv show “Life Goes On” with my mom. We watched tv together often. It was our thing to do before it was time for me to go to bed. There was a song at the end of an episode that I liked. I asked my mom if she would take me to the music store to buy her tape. Off we went and before I knew it I was also going to my first concert. I truly know how much my mom loved me. There we were sitting up in the stands at CNE Grandstand, anxiously waiting for Celine Dion to come on stage before Ray Charles. I truly was the youngest person in the audience, but it didn’t matter. My mom was so excited and happy for me. As both of my parents were always there to support my brother and my interests, I couldn’t have asked for a better person to bring me to my first Celine concert. Over the next few decades, I went to a small handful of concerts (ok, for those that know me, a handful is quite a few……often going two nights in a row when she was in Toronto). I will never forget the day my dad came home to give me one of the best surprises of my life. He not only handed me 4 tickets to see Celine at the Molson Amphitheatre, but he also told me that we would all be going backstage with the opportunity to meet her. You could just imagine how excited I was. Myself, my friend Kim, and our moms headed into Toronto (me in my new outfit lol) for the opportunity to meet Celine Dion. I had my gift, card, and new outfit all ready. I remember sitting nervously through the concert. I was worried about what I would say to Celine Dion. My mom always had a calming feeling about her. She kept reassuring me that everything would be ok and that I would know what to say when the moment came. I also think deep down that I did amuse her with how nervous I was:) After the concert, we all went backstage and patiently waited. We stood in line and before I knew it, I was right in front of Celine Dion. I completely froze and could barely speak. Although I was mad at myself for not saying what I wanted to, Celine exuded the same calm that my mom did. She stood there and waited for me to try to finish what I wanted to say. For someone so famous, she was so humble and took the time for me.
Fast forward a few years later……….don’t worry, my Celine blog is almost over:) I found out that Celine was coming to a grand opening at one of her restaurants for a photo/autograph session. I told my dad that I was going to sleep in my car so I could be first in line to meet her. My dad was not going to let me sleep alone all night in my car. It was not my dad’s turn to take me to one of my Celine Dion events. Without hesitation, he drove and slept with me in front of her Nickels Restaurant. We woke up the next morning and were first in line to meet her (we might not have needed to sleep in our car). The owner recognized us from the night before and gave my dad and I a table right beside where Celine was going to be sitting. I write about Celine in my blog because her music has been instrumental in the good and sad times in my life and as a human, she has taught me a valuable lesson about how to treat others. When Celine arrived at her restaurant, we were told that you could either have a picture or an autograph from her (they wanted to have as many fans meet her as they could). That morning, Celine found out that my dad and I slept in our car to meet her. When I walked up to see her for the second time (this time not as nervous as I was the first time), she stopped the line and told security that I could have extra time with her. I had the time to speak to Celine, pose for a picture, and she also signed the picture of the first time her and I met. I am forever grateful that Celine took the time for me that day. She taught me that no matter how busy we are in our daily lives, we should never be too busy to tell those we love how much they really mean to us. At school, I make sure I take time for my students, even though I don’t like to travel, I make sure I visit my family in Texas, even though we don’t speak every day, I make sure I message my friends something funny to let them know I am thinking about them, and even though my dad and I are like an episode of The Odd Couple, I make sure I tell him I love him at the end of every phone call or before I go to sleep. It has taken me a while to learn this lesson, but I am grateful that the two women (my mom and Celine) I have looked up to have always taken the time for me.
As we make our way to Parliament Hill on Monday, I won’t complain about the sore feet, but instead I will be grateful for the opportunity to run and for the reminder about how precious life really is. I will take the time to “be in the moment” and to thank my family and friends for all of their love and support.