Author: Amanda Geary, OD
It was the morning of First Sight’s Grand Opening, and I was waiting for the nerves and anxiety to kick in. There was so much to do, but things seemed well organized. Family had arrived from out of town, and all the marketing channels had been exhausted. We were ready for the big day, and all that was left to do was to celebrate our “official” opening. As the staff and I set up the office for the trunk show, I kept waiting for the nerves to kick in, for the stress of the event to bubble up. We continued to set up. It was a windy day, and our sign kept blowing over, the tablecloths we rented for the food and drinks were struggling to stay attached. The musician showed up and claimed his stage. The bartender showed up; we had forgotten to get ice. I kept waiting for the anxiety to kick in, and then it hit me. It wasn’t coming. Having prepared for the opening of this business for over a year and seeing about two months of patients, I realized that there was nothing to be anxious about. The fifth gear I had been operating in was starting to slow, and I realized that today was a day to take a deep breath, look around, and truly appreciate the road it took to get here and the dream that truly had come true.
The night unfolded quickly, but I was sure to savor each moment. One by one, people started trickling in, excitement compounding each time the door announced their arrival. I remember standing in front of family and friends, members of the community, current and prospective patients, and really feeling it was surreal to be who they were there for, the place they came to see. The defining moment of the night, for me, was being the new business honored by the red ribbon. It seemed like something you see in the movies, something you watch other people do, but never yourself. The Chamber of Commerce made me feel right at home, and it was while listening to the President of the Chamber, Chris, speak that I realized this was a day I would always remember. My husband and I cut the red ribbon, each of us taking a side of the scissors. I was holding my daughter, nine months old, and thinking that she won’t remember this, but I wish she would. When we finished, my two-year-old son promptly reminded me of the cupcake he was promised if he was a good listener… right on cue. I looked around, and although it felt like a window I was looking in of someone else’s life, I was proud. I could feel that the night was charged with an electric feeling, like we were on to something. I met many wonderful new people, some had heard about the event, others just stopped in because they saw a crowd or heard Seth Campbell, the musician. I made sure to introduce myself and make them feel welcome. I truly felt grateful for the support of the community. The night carried on with rounds of people coming and going, and at some point, I realized I had not captured one picture. I had not documented any of the celebration. Ultimately, I was so engrossed in the night, seeing it unfold, being present and grateful for those that were there, that I couldn’t let it slip by.
So here we are, several weeks after our Grand Opening. The office has been restored to normal, the musician packed up and onto other gigs, the chamber ready for their next celebration of a new business that has just opened. Now, I look at the red ribbon in the office, placed somewhere that I can see it daily, and I remember why we are here, what this is all about. It is about the people and the community that we serve. It is about those we have met, and those that we will meet down the road. The day may have passed, but the memory will always be one I keep close. No matter what happens next, I am grateful and proud of the people and the hard work behind it all that made our Grand Opening, so beautifully grand.