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  • Eleanor Roosevelt once instructed, "Do one thing every day that scares you," and I do. Every day, I do something that scares me.

    To be fair, almost everything scares me. Getting up in the morning feels like playing Russian roulette because I don't know what my body will do, how I feel, or what will fail. Will this be the day that I finally pass out? (I have been getting close. Someday soon would be the day.) Maybe today, I will feel great; will I appreciate it?

    Eleanor Roosevelt said to do things that scare us, but somehow, I don't think she meant gift wrapping.

    Today, I will spend seven hours wrapping gifts as part of a Target, in-store event. Somehow, I have turned into a gift wrapping/fund raising force through the help of networking and a solid track record. Today is my fourth distinct fundraising project this month, the fourth under my direction, and the third involving pretty paper, scissors and tape. (One of those three includes 13 shifts of four to five hours and the other involved coordinating 20-odd volunteers.)

    Today, I will give my time, seven hours, in exchange for a donation to a nonprofit. I even convinced someone else to wrap by my side, a lovely woman whose company I truly enjoy, so that we can wrap together, earn the donation and continue to send books to prisoners.

    The idea of gift wrapping thrills me. As a teen, I wrapped most of the gifts from my mom and stepdad, and then, in college, I spent three years wrapping at a jewelry store. A couple of years later, I wrapped as a small part of a part-time job at Barnes and Noble, which led to an idea and four seasons of holiday gift wrapping at another Barnes and Noble in exchange for donations. I have a more-than-full-time job in federal finance, but I know how to wrap. I love wrapping gifts. I just don't like standing for seven hours.

    My body hasn't been doing well lately with that whole "Russian roulette every morning" thing. The shakiness worries me. The dizziness. The tremors. The rest I can handle, but all take a toll (and leave a mark) on even the heartiest of bodies and souls. And mine aren't so hearty. I feel downright weak. I feel I might fail.

    Few people would bother to try such a thing: Seven hours of wrapping? Seriously? Why would someone do that? They wouldn't consider not making it "a failure," but I take my commitments and my obligations seriously. If I signed up, I wanted to be present and contributing for the full seven hours, so I didn't. I didn't sign up. I didn't say I could be there. I found a few people to fill in the slot and I planned to take the day off from volunteering.

    Alas, the event coordinator pushed back. She asked if I was sure I couldn't do it. She asked me again and again and again, pressuring me lightly with kind words and things like "It sure is a shame that you can't be there. We would really love to have you as part of this event!" and "Let me know if things change."

    Things aren't going to change. The MS isn't going anywhere, but I crumbled. I caved. I committed myself and am entering the whole thing somewhat blind and terrified. What is my body going to do? How do I prepare for this? I can walk 60 miles. Can I stand seven hours? Fortunately, I had both Friday and Sunday free for prep and recovery, but tonight, I have plans and yesterday, I did too much. Way too much.

    In a couple of hours, I will leave. I will spin the chamber and begin to wrap. No more bets, please.

    This might not be what Eleanor Roosevelt meant, but I am terrified and doing it anyway. Everything will be fine in the end. It has to be.
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