Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why I'm absent from the Thanksgiving Table

Just when you think you know everything, life has a funny way smacking you in the face with another life lesson doesn't it?

I was sitting in the NICU with Sam feeling very sorry for myself, thinking I'd been through this before with Gavin, had learned how precious life was and to be thankful and not take anything for granted. I was more patient and appreciated every moment with my kids....lesson learned, why was this happening again?

Somewhere in that two week stay with Sam, something in my head clicked that this is not all about me. I had a very strong desire to DO something. I eventually want to work on getting a NICU family support group at Blank, but in the meantime, would try to work on anything Blank related (Blank Children's Hospital).

So I ended up getting introduced to the ladies that run the Festival of Trees and Lights.

Another lady at the informational meeting asked if I would co-chair the Children's Area with her. I hadn't wanted to be that involved, but having a hard time saying No when put on the spot, I agreed. Two weeks later she backed out, and I was stuck with the job. A little overwhelming for my first foray into volunteer work!

I recruited a fabulous team of friends to join my committee and we started meetings in June. It was a LOT of work. This week we have seen all our hard work come to fruition.

I'll back up and tell you that this event raises money for the Child Life Program, and Advocay and Outreach programs at Blank. If you've ever heard a Children's Miracle Network telethon on the radio and cried your way to work....well, Child Life is that program, except they only support one hospital in each state, so Blank has to fund the program itself. You can read more on the link above.

Yesterday was opening day for the Festival. We worked really hard Tuesday getting set up (And I will never again wonder "How long can it possibly take to fill 1500 little cups of frosting?" Answer: FOREVER!). Setting up an event reminded me of my old Des Moines Golf days managing banquets - so much fun. I believe I have a calling as an event planner, but may be a little late at this stage to change careers!

So yesterday. Everything went off without a hitch. Kids had a BLAST. Our volunteers working the event were great. And then I saw a little boy with a shaved head and a cancer awareness shirt and saw with my own eyes, why this event is so important. Child Life is there for all kids at the hospital, to help explain the procedures, distract them while they are being done, to provide daily activities so long hospital stays are more tolerable.

And Thanksgiving Day? I will be running the floor of the children's area, and will probably be missing many Thanksgiving's to come. As the chair of my committee I felt it my responsibility to give up the day. And I am lucky that my family is close and we see them often anyway. Chad is taking the boys to their first Thanksgiving in Anita! Wish him luck wrangling those two crazy guys himself!

And I hope to see you all at the runs til Sunday!

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