Words and wine swirled throughout the festive atmosphere of Chateau Rive at the Flour Mill, a Bozzi Media event facility along the beautiful banks of the raging Spokane River, during the Maryhill Winery wine and magazine release party. As I stood chatting in a large group of acquaintances, a Facebook friend floated in beside me and gushed about how much she loved reading my posts about the Love Nugget, my grandbaby.
“Whoa,” said a gentlemen I had just met. “You do not look old enough to be a grandmother.”
“Yes, I know,” I said. I shared that my 17-year old daughter—who had made me a mama for the first time—had also made me a Glamma for the first time.
“Oh, I’m sorry, how horrible,” he said. “Her life will never be what she hoped it could be.” All movement within my body seized up, and we locked eyes as I waited for good and evil to battle their way to the front of my mind. Who was going to cross the finish line of my lips first, I wondered.
I breathed in a fresh set of air to temper the heat growing in my body. “‘Horrible’ isn’t the way I would describe the life of my precious granddaughter,” I replied, feeling a sense of peace forcefully take the reins of my racing mind.
“True, babies are great, but your daughter derailed her life—and that has to be disappointing,” he said.
“I hate the thought of life being stuck on a set of rigid rails,” I replied. “Have you seen an actual train derailment?” I smiled. “Besides, any one of us who has lived any length of time can admit life hasn’t always gone the way we planned. It is what it is, and we get to choose to make the best of any give situation at any given time. Every day. We have a choice.”
As I read through a history feature on Spokane, Washington, the discussion came back to mind, reminding me that much like individuals, cities and countries experience their own storied paths. Spokane—and our country—has faced and conquered many challenges throughout the years, and will continue to do so. And, each day, we get to choose how we contribute to it all.
From the lowest spaces—in underground tunnels that once housed the buzz of activities best kept in shadowy spaces—to the grand existence of life perched 17 floors above the heart of the city in the Paulsen Penthouse—Spokane’s past is intriguing. But, like today, it was between those spaces where the flutter of life of the majority of residents lived, worked, and played in our city. We share the stories, and we share in the creation of them moving forward. Although character traits remain from bygone eras, our city, powered by the people, strives and grows for more . . . than before. Perseverance has been and will continue to be the antidote to derailment. And we can each make our own stories of perseverance—and our voices for positive change and growth in our lives and for own cities and the United States—be heard by showing up and plugging in, by “voting” with our time and money.
But, much like the gentleman’s thoughts about my daughter’s future, we have our doubters when it comes to the future success of our city, and of our country. As a friend said, “I have felt that Spokane is on the verge of popping into a world-class city. And I’ve felt that way for 15 years.” He chooses to keep eyes wide open on the future, and he believes, like so many of us, that we are closer than ever. When we choose to optimistically keep our gaze toward the future—and when we bring our individual bests to the table of progress—we will push Spokane into the world-class city she’s begging to be. It’s time to throw disdain out with the bathwater (I’ll keep the baby and my daughter, who remains full of incredible potential) and embrace this city. We can each honor our chosen cities and we can honor our country by becoming a champion for her and our fellow residents . . . and to be the change we want to see.