Constance’s father and I’ve split the speaking responsibilities for the dedications. I’m going to speak at Cherry and he’s going to speak at Aspiritech.
The last time we spoke at the same event, we had won the Volunteer of the Year Award at Aspiritech’s annual gala. On that occasion, I had mistakenly believed that all I’d have to say was “thank you.” However, on the day of the event, it became clear that I was going to have to give a speech. I asked Constance’s dad if I could speak first because he’s a toastmaster while I’m a leaky spaz. However, that didn’t happen. What did happen was my wool leggings tore on the way there. As the local Walgreens was out of black leggings, I ended up in pantyhose. My dress was far too short for pantyhose so I was left feeling self-conscious. I wept off all my makeup before giving an incoherent, rambling speech into black silence and a microphone. It was terrible. Later, I was told they decided to have Constance’s father speak first because he’d made the initial volunteer contact with Aspiritech. This annoyed me because I was the one who had completed the volunteer form for him before completing my own. Also, he’s an exceptionally polished speaker who has to stop for applause and shoutouts. Therefore, there was a stark difference between our speeches. His aggressively perfect speech irritated only one petty person: me.
I am comforted that we’ll be speaking at different venues, albeit on the same day.
I decided to ask my friend Deb to help me give my remarks at the dedication. When I met Deb, she had been reading a piece of contemporary feminist literature in the parents’ room of Cherry Preschool. I had pompously interrupted her by pointing out that I’d already read the book, my thoughts on its theme, and that my undergraduate minor was women’s studies. Deb had been far too gracious to point out that she was a doctor doing a fellowship at Northwestern or that she’d written a book on gender conformity. Instead, she had simply smiled.
Deb’s twins had been Constance’s friends. They had invited her to their parties. When I needed a video of Constance playing with a dog for her application to Autism Service Dogs of America, Deb and her husband had arranged for the play date at their house with a borrowed dog. Deb is someone I greatly admire who knows how remarkable Cherry is. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get through everything I need to say. However, if I can’t this time, at least I will be wearing appropriate attire and have Deb on hand to help. Bring on the pear-shaped tears and panic attack.