My Miami Adventures with Maureen

Last weekend, I went to Miami with some friends for a little getaway. The trip was inspired by my childhood best friend's mom, Maureen. Maureen is a 77 year-old, elegant, graceful, raw, and a hilarious woman. I love her deeply and am incredibly grateful for her mark on my life. Her wit, humor and charm draw you in, and most are captivated by the stories of her life, which she shares openly.

Maureen has been to other parts of Florida before but always wanted to see Miami. Since her husband, Tom's passing 10 years ago, she hasn't wanted to travel much. It was something they often did together, and she lost her desire to after he died. So when she asked her daughter, Kelly, if we would take her, we booked the trip before she could change her mind.

In total, there were 7 of us, and we all arrived at different times. Maureen and I flew down together. I was looking forward to having her all to myself for the day. Once all together, we ate, we drank (not Maureen), we laughed...I mean, we belly laughed the entire time! This weekend she danced on a rooftop bar, charmed the pants off of the man at the concierge desk, she took pictures with strangers in elevators and with a bachelorette party full of women wearing colored wigs, she hugged the manager of the hotel who said she lost her mom and swore Maureen reminded her of mom. The people in Miami were just as taken by her as we are. Who could blame them? She so full of life and has an uncanny ability to provide a lens on things that can only provoke spontaneous laughter!!! I'm sure most who know her intimately would agree.

"You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream" ~ C.S. Lewis

When I got home and reflected on my weekend, Maureen was the main character in my story of joy and happiness. Don't get me wrong, my friends are my family. I love spending time with them, but Maureen is a special kind of lady. She owns her authenticity in a way that I really admire. Maureen exudes grace while never betraying her audacious side. The craziest thing is, she doesn't hide anything and the more you know her, the more you love her! I've known this woman for over 42 years now, and she has taught me many a lesson along the way. But this weekend she taught me by showing me that you're never too old to have fun, dream another dream, do something crazy or change the direction of your life. But what I admire the most about her is the way she finds joy and happiness in every matter what's going on in her life. Honestly, after spending this time with her, I want to be just like her when I grow up!

Thanks Maureen...for leading by example!!!

Bernice Donato, CPC, ELI-MP, CTDS

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