First off, I guess apologizing that it has taken an entire TWO weeks to get this post out. It was a whirlwind week, and it took me this long to get myself back together since the event.
If you happened to be there, there probably isn't much possibility that I can get away without mentioning what a mess I was, through the entire event. I was quite literally prone to tears the entire 24 hours prior to the breakfast, right on through the actual event. I was fortunate enough that my best friend in the entire world was able to make the event. She moved to Arizona 3 years ago and the timing was impeccable that her annual summer trip home to see family fell around the same time as the event. "Around" the same time means she was scheduled to fly out back home to AZ a couple of days before the breakfast - and changed her ticket and stayed. Quite possibly one of the best things she's ever done for me....and that's saying something, because over the 32 years we've been best friends, she's done a Hell of a lot. I love you SO much Dee...thank you again, for every single thing you've ever done to make my life better- including just love me, and mine.
So. The night before the breakfast I had my best friend and some other friends over to hang out, reminisce and cut loose a bit. To say I was tightly strung was an understatement. We had a bbq with a pork loin, flank steak and some chicken and other goodies. We then occupied the kids with movies and hanging out, and we ourselves cut loose and had a mini party. It has been SO long since I've cut loose and just relaxed and enjoyed my surroundings and the people I was with. I don't think I'd even realized how much stress, conflict and pain I'm carrying around until that night. We lubricated the evening with rum and cokes and 'tater chips. Hung out on my deck ( which is the major reason behind me being so excited when we came and viewed this house - the deck and it's infinite entertaining possibilities - yet we havent used in that way), played some cards, talked about old times, talked about the future and after Zac was wiped out and called it a night, continued to drink and talk. I can comfortably say that I am glad he missed what I will refer to as "the show". The rum and cokes combined with the stress of the impending event, FINALLY having my BFF back in my home and the fact that I apparently hold things in too long - well - initiated a major meltdown. Tears a plenty...and unfortuately for my very skinny friend, an inability to hold myself up, cry and blow my nose at the same time. Yes, Dee became my human hankie, propped me on her shoulder and just let me bawl like a baby about my child being sick. I am fairly sure that was the first time I've let the words "She's going to die" pass my lips, and actually feel it. Sadly, they passed my lips frequently, loudly and full of conviction. Keep in mind, we have a large, lovely yard...but our neighbors are fairly close - and have no idea what is going on. I am sort of afraid that may not be the case now. Nobody wants to live next to a drunken, sad, mother of a dying girl....trust me. I hope they forgive me, but who knows. Certainly not I, because I can't even look at them now. Anyway - we stayed up talking and trying to milk every minute together - all night. I literally did not sleep the night before the breakfast AT ALL. I just couldn't bring myself to cheat myself out of any time with the BFF. Zac wasn't happy in the morning, but I am apparently easily forgiven because he not only got over it, but worked his rear off in the kitchen for the entire breakfast. Except when he came out and hugged me and watched the video presentation I put together for the event. You can watch the video HERE, on the Team Brittany page I'm creating. Its down at the bottom, on the left. Supporting Brittany was only one aspect of the benefit. Bringing awareness AxD and what it does to families was my other goal. I hope through the video and meeting my daughter, we were able to do that. I want you to all know that my family is deeply effected by this disease. My kids don't regularly show a lot of emotion on the issue - it's a pretty private thing. However I think watching the video with all of you around made things that much more real...and forced some issues to the top of a few hearts. From the girls crying openly, to Jake hiding his face in his arms on a tabletop while he cried, it was a super emotional day. We all went home, ate pizza and took a nap to recharge. =)
|The giant card everyone signed =)|
|Bret and Brian|
|Rylie, Emily, Hallie and Kaylee|
|Brittany and Hannah, my niece|
|Me and the BFF|
|Auntie Dee and Brit|
|My kiddo and I|
|I wish you all knew how much the support you all showed meant.|
|Every girl loves getting flowers|
|Even more friends!|
|As much as I don't enjoy the "puffy, cried all night and didnt sleep" look...this is going to always be a favorite of mine.|
|Card making station|
|Laurie- the lady in glasses, has been every single one of my kids preschool teacher....and a part of my family .|
|This is her family <3|
|Guests, sending their love...|
|Abby and Brittany. Abby and her sister Maddy worked their tails off for Team Brittany...|
|Auntie Dee making a card for her girl|
|I full admit that I am crying. And that I have snot on my sleeve.|
|People I didnt expect to see came to show support- Bonnie O'Shea|
|Abby...one of Hiedi's daughters. You'll hear about Hiedi below...|
|Myself and Hiedi....more tears|
|Kaylee and Kelsey|
|Neuris,Kaylee and Betsy|
|Team Brittany - Shirts courtesy of FORTEZ SPORTS|
|He claims I am the glue that keeps the family together...but he is my rock.|
|Team Brittany, at it's best!|
Ahhh. More tears - just adding pics. Tears covering the pain of illness, pain covering the feeling of not being my childs mom, but her care giver. Pain of knowing she will be leaving my grandbabies far far earlier than she should. Pain of waiting. But....mostly, tears for not feeling alone in dealing with it. Overwhelming love and support cause tears, too. And they are painful, and cleansing.There were a few people that were missing, that I wish could have been there. Ultimately, they were because they are never further than my heart. Thank you ALL so much for coming, or sending a donation in your place, buying Team Brittany merchandise....for anything you've done or will do in the future to help and support Team Brittany. You have my undying gratitude.
Now...the big one.
Thank you so much Hiedi, for everything you've done and are still trying to do to help make this time easier on us. You mean SO much to me. Your whole family does. Thank you for bringing them all into our lives. Anthony, Maddy, Abby, your brother, your mom - meeting them all and sitting back, being overwhelmed with support breaks my heart in the best possible way. Your family worked like mules to make that fundraiser happen and to keep it running smoothly- and it didn't feel like it was out of pity or because you called in some favors. We felt nothing but genuine love and kindness...you're all amazing and we love you all for it. I feel like my family has grown exponentially. I can't wait until we can all sit down together and just BE. =)
Owen would be so proud of you - all of you. He came from such a beautiful family. Thank you for honoring my daughter in his name. TEAM Owen is an amazing organization, and you will continue to do so much good.