The Shamrock Shuffle, held on or around St. Patrick’s Day has become a primary fundraiser for Shayna’s scholarship fund. This is the third year we have participated in the event as a charity. Shayna’s Girl Scout troop participated one year where they ran part of the event as part of an award they were working on.
Our families have stepped up big time to participate in the event. It’s not a race, or even a day, it’s a weekend. We have a pasta party the night before. This year we had about 20 people at the pasta party. Tywana’s sister, her husband, and her three boys spend the night. This year they came in on Friday. Between them, a fiancé, Kayla, and Gabe (Kayla’s boyfriend) we had 11 people spend the night on Friday. That number went up by one on Saturday when our nephew Wesley drove in from college to join the party.
Race day was predicted to be iffy precipitation, snow, sleet, rain, or some God-awful mix. Thursday and Friday were beautiful. Sunday was predicted to be sunny and warmer. Fortunately, by the time we have to leave the house for the race, the forecast has been changed and the rain won’t be coming until long after the race is over.
Tywana I love having the family in. For me, the house is so quiet with both girls gone now. Whenever we have company staying overnight, it reminds me of the days when I was a kid and my aunts and uncles would come to town. There are people sleeping all over the house. Some on futons, on four different couches. But, it’s a great time, never too crowded, never too loud. And, just like when I was a kid, I hate it when it’s time for everyone to go home. It seems since Shayna’s passing especially that we value this time together. We have always appreciated it, always had a great family bond. But, with the kids growing up, the times are become more scarce and more precious.
We bundle up for the race since it’s about 30º and overcast. The kids run it. Some of us fast walk it. And, some of us have a leisurely stroll. After it’s over, we take the family over to the high school, across the street, to see the memorial the volleyball team had put in for Shayna, Victorian and Lauren. All three girls memorialized for as long as the school is there. Tywana tells the family the story of how the memorial came to be. I’m so proud of my girl Shayna for making such an impact in a school she only attended for two years (never even making it to main campus high school) and with the varsity volleyball coach even though she was only ever on the freshman team. Shayna didn’t have the opportunity to become world famous. But, my philosophy has always been to bloom where you are planted. That girl sure did, in a way that still amazes me almost three years later.
Sunday morning comes and it’s time for goodbyes. Wesley heads out early to get back to study. Shell, Rod, and the boys get into their two cars to make the drive back to West Virginia. Kayla and Gabe hit the road for Toledo. It’s the two of us again.
I know Shayna enjoys this weekend as much as we do. Probably more. She loves the banner we had made with her picture and name. She loves us telling stories about her. She loves the way she still brings the Shayna Six (her friends who decided to name their group after her after she passed) together. They wore Shayna Shining Stars T-shirts and did the race together. Tywana and I knew from Day 1 that Shayna would have a big impact on the world. We never dreamed it would be in the way it has been.
As I sit and reflect on the weekend and on my life now, I would give it all up in an instant to have Shayna back. People are talking about next year’s walk and wanting to participate. God only knows where we’ll all be in a year. But, if we’re here, we’ll do it again. Any excuse to get together, celebrate family, and remember Shayna is a good excuse.