When we moved from Glendale to Camarillo, California in 1976 it was to a cul-de-sac in a newly built housing track named Rancho Thomas. It was there that I met The Great Irish Encourager. Her name is Patty Taylor. Our parents became fast friends with the Taylors and before I knew it we called them Aunt Patty and Uncle Bob. We spent summer days playing with their daughter Robin and their older daughter, Tracy was our babysitter. We were close as family and that was fine with me. They were such warm, fun-loving people and I thought it cool that Aunt Patty played tennis, drove a BMW, loved the color purple and listened to the Bee Gees. Not to mention she always bought her two daughters the coolest chemindefer jeans.
When Lucas, my first son, was in the hospital she touched my heart deeper than anyone had in a long time. So many friends and family members sent cards when Lucas was diagnosed with heart problems. The amount of get-well wishes and prayers were overwhelming. I learned that when someone you love is really, really sick and it looks like they might not recover fully, life takes on a sort of awkward stance. Cards slow down, not because no one cares, but because they just don’t know what to say anymore… But, I have learned that sometimes nothing is the best thing to say and that sending a card is always a good idea. Patty, The Great Irish Encourager taught me this. She did not curb her outward hope or encouragement of Lucas’s healing that first year of his life. During this tough time I was living with my grandparents for six long months because they lived fifteen minutes from UCLA. A, dare I call it, "fun part" of my day was to return from UCLA to my grandparents home, where my Little Ma’s would leave my mail on the long dinner table with the white doily table cloth covered by the thick clear plastic (the same place that I ate greasy lamb chops and spaghetti weekly as a child was now the mail throne). At least three times a week sat a card from Patty. They were the mushy thick kind of cards that you buy from Hallmark that speak to you in just the right place at the perfect time. It was like Valentine’s Day every week! She included inspirational mini-cards inside that I still have. My favorite, I still carry in my wallet, by Helen Keller, says “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” When I returned weary from a sad day in the ICU, there were Patty’s cards. Over, and over this happened…for months! And it was not like she just signed her name. She loves words (like me) and was gushing over what a wonderful job I was doing with Lucas and how much she loved me and how God loved Baby Lucas… and on and on she went like a cheerleader dousing me in sweet encouraging words and loving support. I so appreciated her endless reaching out at a time that I wanted to curl up and die. She taught me a lesson about loving others through the pain and now I try to copy her example.... Know what else about Patty Taylor? Remember when I went on that unicycle audition a couple months ago? She said that I was gonna make it big! Okay, so I didn’t (not yet, but I collect hope, remember?), but knowing that she believed in me was uplifting. No, priceless. It is true that everyone needs to know someone believes in them (besides their Mother!). And who reads my blog and comments on it regularly? Patty.
This woman has a busy life, health issues, many friends and a brood of beautiful, successful children and grandchildren, but she has never backed down in keeping hope alive in me. Dreams are free, right? She gets it. Interestingly, her young life was difficult, however a sort of fairy tale unfolded. She married her childhood sweetheart and they make the best match, because Bob, like Patty, is generous, down-to-Earth, God loving, humble, sincere and fun to be around. Patty is uniquely beautiful (even her feet), a devoted prayer warrior and a gifted writer. This lady is true to the bone and without her on my team I would surely droop..
Are you thinking, “UnicycleRose, why are you telling me this?”
The answer is that Patty Lu Taylor’s birthday is tomorrow, May 13! I won’t say how old, cuz she will always be forty to me! Besides she looks nothing close to her age with her perfectly coifed hair and huge smile. Yes, my own Great Irish Encourager celebrates another year and I had to honor this amazing Wife, Mother, Nana and Friend with the truth that she is nothing short of awesome.
Cheers to You, PattyLu!
Thanks for the abundant love, truth and hope you share all year long! I love you!
Riding a unicycle is like life. To be successful and enjoy the ride, they both require tremendous balance and focus. I sit up tall, shoulders back and imagine I am holding one of my young boys under each arm. My best-friend-techie-husband’s hand on my seat (hubba, hubba) to guide me, and my two wiener dogs running alongside, looking like double Dumbos. As I train to ride Blanche, my unicycle, in a half-marathon, I think how good God is as the breeze blows my brown hair, a big smile on my face. Come along for a thrilling one-wheel ride while I do my best to maintain balance... but keep an open mind, there is always something new to learn!