Up until yesterday Cheyenne had been fairly nonplussed as to all the excitement around Extreme Makeover. All she was focused on was how her mother’s involvement in the project was impacting her life (typical 11 year old “It’s all about me…” tunnel vision). Not that Cheyenne isn’t a fan of the show or mesmerized with the whole notion of Extreme being in town and the families that will be assisted – the show’s presence here and the whole community good deed message registers with her altruistic nature in a big way. Alas, the precipitating efforts of the event – all the leadership team meetings and hours spent organizing NDSU’s effort managing check-in (all before any of the real Extreme buzz started) – quickly grew old.
I thought that her attitude would shift after her first short visit to the check-in site on Wednesday as everyone seems to catch the Extreme bug once exposed to all the hustle and bustle of the project. Yeah – not so much. She was more concerned with getting home so that she could get her homework done.
But yesterday, when her brother picked her up from school and brought her to the check-in site so that I could stay and assist with an afternoon VIP event check-in, her attitude changed a bit. The change occurred somewhere between – “UGGGH….MOM- HOW LONG ARE WE GOING TO BE HERE? I HAVE HOMEWORK!” – and “OH MY GAWD I CAN’T WAIT TO TELL MY FRIENDS THAT I WAS AT THE CHECK-IN SITE AND I MET PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY WORK WITH EXTREME MAKEOVER!”
I think it had something to do with the shirt. When I asked her if she wanted my blue Extreme shirt and she rapidly offered an enthusiastic “YES!” I knew the times were a-changin’ (to quote my pal Bob Dylan). The next thing you know she wanted to help and wanted to come back other days – she had caught Extreme fever.
She could barely contain her excitement that she got to wear the Extreme shirt I gave her to school today. Of course, the shirt is a size large (which those of you who have worked know is the smallest size we have) and is the equivalent of a tent on her – but my little fashionista didn’t seem to mind. She couldn’t wait to get to school and share all her Extreme check-in site experiences with her friends.
I have been many places and given Cheyenne many t-shirts and souvenirs from those places. I never have gotten her one of those shirts that say, “My mom went to Washington and all I got was this shirt.” Although I must admit that often that is what it feels like – I travel to places to speak at conferences or do emergency management projects and she gets a shirt (and it is just that – just another shirt her mom bought while out and about doing work). It kinda’ feels the same way with the Extreme shirt – it would seem once again that all she got was the shirt; but not this time – this time she got the fever that goes with the shirt. Extreme Makeover has that effect on folks – it generates an energy and enthusiasm that spreads across the community like a pandemic (pardon the all too obvious emergency management analogy – sometimes I can’t help myself).
So, Cheyenne has the fever and a shirt that actually means more to her than the many other shirts I have gotten her over the years…and for today I may just walk on water for being the one who gave it to her (albeit, I am no Mrs. Bestge).
Day four hundred and fifty-nine of the new forty – obla di obla da