It is 5 o’clock in the morning, my typical wakeup time. Not because I set an alarm but because my body is my alarm and through a series of events over the last few months, that internal alarm has decided between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. is when I should get up. While I feel like I am dragging by 9 at night, I actually love getting up so early. The house is quiet and I can get so much done.
Most mornings, my third son will wake up earlier than his brothers, sit by me in the big recliner and put his head on my shoulder. He is 10. I know that these moments won’t last forever so I soak them up. Contemplating all of this got me thinking about Thanksgiving and what I am thankful for. But I wanted to get beyond the basic family, house, community.
We all crave relationships (which seems so weird coming from me who loves to eat alone at a restaurant while reading a book). And since this is a real estate column, I wanted to write about people who have made a difference in my life that I would not have met or reconnected with had it not been for my career. So in no particular order, here are three people I am thankful for that represent more than just our relationship.
n Mr. and Mrs. Parker. Their house was the first house that I ever listed. I sold their house in the spring of 2005 and we have exchanged Christmas letters every year since then. They have watched my boys grow up via these Christmas letters and I have watched the changes in their life as well.
Mrs. Parker has become a dear friend and her card is my favorite card to open every year. You never know when you meet someone what role they will play in your life. I am so thankful that through a random set of circumstances (which was Hal Franks pulling me into his office to tell me that he received a call about listing someone’s house and he wanted me to take care of it), Mr. and Mrs. Parker were placed into mine.
n Christy McCune. Have you ever met someone who feels like your best friend as soon as you meet them? This would be Christy. You know her as the managing editor of the Gazette. I know her as my sounding board, proof reader and friend. As my sounding board, I can always bounce ideas off of her. For example, when I had the idea of comparing buying a house to having a hysterectomy, I questioned whether that would be reader appropriate. Since I tend to have no filter and tend to share too much information, I asked Christy what she thought. In typical Christy fashion, she replied with a kind heart and in a way that made me giggle that this was a no go. Or the time I was trying to come up with the correct word for dead deer head on the wall. She giggled with me via text and we finally came up with the word we were looking for. I love getting emails from her as they always brighten my day. She isn’t just my talented editor, she is my dear friend.
*Mike and Susan McMullen. Eight years ago, I received a call from Cathy, a referral from my dad who was interested in selling her home. After I listed the house, Mike McMullen, one of my teachers in high school, called me to take a look at the home. It is funny to see how relationships change as they go from student/teacher to friend over time. For example, until that phone call, he was always Mr. McMullen, a very nice teacher who happened to be the only teacher who ever gave me a detention in my entire high school career (I was tardy for his class because I was talking in the hallway with my boyfriend. Late = Detention. A very fair policy by the way). After that phone call, he became my friend.
And then there is his wife, Susan. I love that woman. I went to see them very soon after my youngest son Gavin was born. Like fresh out of the womb soon. I was a hot mess. And I don’t mean hot like beautiful. I mean like Gavin wouldn’t sleep so as a result, Andy and I didn’t sleep great either. While we were visiting the McMullens, Gavin decided that it would be a good time to pee all over his blanket. I was completely embarrassed. Susan was as calm as a cucumber. I don’t remember anything about that visit other than she made me feel loved. She assured me that everything was fine and she took the pee blanket and washed it for me. She went above and beyond and took what was an embarrassing moment to me and showed me what friendship means. Just like so many others, she started out as a client and turned into a friend. For that, I am grateful.
Having said that though, she didn’t do all of that because she was helping her friend. She did it because she is an amazingly kind woman who always thinks of others. Susan sent me a card telling me how much she enjoys reading my column and I have it posted on my bulletin board to this day because it means so much to me. I am forever grateful that the teacher who gave me my one and only detention and his wife are now simply known to me as my friends.
So why did I pick these particular examples? I picked the Parkers because they taught me early on in my career that what we do matters. I was able to make a positive impact on their life by helping them sell a home they dearly loved and they taught me that clients can become friends. At one point in my career, I noticed that almost all of my dear friends at that time had been clients I had not known before our real estate experience. In fact, out of the agents currently working at Ryder Realty, the only one of my agents that I didn’t sell a house to before they were licensed was Mindy Oswald, and she is my cousin. The relationships that I have been blessed with due to my job over the years is just an added bonus that I wasn’t expecting but I am grateful for.
Christy brightens my day, every time she communicates to me. I picked her because she is the perfect example of how kindness matters. Her choice to be kind to me gives me confidence that I can handle this writing thing and if I can’t, she has my back. My relationship with her is one of those God bonus things. He didn’t just place her in my life to help me professionally (although she does!) but I’m pretty sure one day he was sitting up in heaven looking down and thought I am going to bless Esta today with a special friendship just because I love her. And that, my friends, is pretty cool.
The McMullens represent how we were placed on this earth to make an impact on other people’s lives through not only kindness and friendship but mentorship. Yes, Susan showed kindness in how she handled the pee blanket but it was also sort of a mentoring relationship too — an experienced mother who had been there done that helping a mom who had done that but was still thick in the middle of it too. By sending the card, she showed friendship and kindness for sure. But she also validated what I was doing by encouraging me that I was doing a good job, like any mentor would do. For her, I am grateful.
While there have certainly been frustrating times in my career as with any career, I have been blessed with many amazing clients who have left a positive mark on my life.
Now let’s talk about you, my amazing readers. When I started writing for the Gazette, I knew that I had been told as a kid that I was a good writer, and I knew that I had a lot of experiences to write about. Yet I really didn’t know what to expect or how long it would last. Would my writing help someone? Or would the Gazette office receive letters about how the real estate column should go away? I’m grateful that didn’t happen. I love doing this! It is a childhood dream come true and you all have been so supportive. I save every note that I receive from you, not just the one from Susan. I love getting your emails and text messages asking me questions or commenting with your thoughts and ideas on my column. I have learned so much from all of you. Thank you for responding to me with notes, texts and emails. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life. You all are the best and I am forever grateful for you all. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!