This one got me. Right in the heart and in the gut. Sure, I’m the one who created the Wish List, so I knew what I was adding and I know what items the clinic needs and wants, so when this brightly colored little ball showed up today, it was really no surprise. Something about it, though, gave me pause and made me cry.
I do all of the Amazon box unpacking myself. I unpack every item, read every gift message out loud to Kate and I talk to her about every gift in each box. I talk about the things she loved playing with, the new things she would’ve loved to have and the things she would have thought were “boooooooring” (i.e., anything Star Wars.) I get so many wonderful offers from friends & volunteers to help unbox, pack up and organize these treasures, but
I choose to do it myself because it has become a very special time for me, and I feel like Katie is sitting right there with me, ooohing and aaaahing over every single prize with me.
When I opened up the box with this particular item, I pulled it out and smiled at the memories of Kate as a little baby…the age she would’ve been while playing with something like this. And it hits me in the gut. In the heart. This colorful, rattle-y little ball will go to a BABY. It will be a gift for a child so young, he or she won’t be able to talk yet. He or she won’t have any idea what is happening to them. He or she will not be able to voice when they are scared, feeling icky or needing an extra snuggle. His or her parents will no doubt be exhausted, fearful and full of worry over their precious child. And THAT is when the tears started to flow. I remembered it all. I remembered those days with such a flash of fury and in an instant I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for my daughter’s beautiful, giving heart that this toy drive even came to be.
Some of my closest friends from the clinic had babies diagnosed at the age when a toy like this would’ve been age-appropriate. Some of my closest bereaved mom friends lost their babies….little ones who never even got to see their first birthday.
This toy drive is my heart. It is knowing that, because of YOU, we are able to do the same for a child that my little black bag of tricks did for Kate during all of those hard years. I know that because of YOU, the kids who DON’T have access to their own cell phones or tablets will still be able to snuggle up and watch a movie at the clinic on portable DVD players and maybe a child whose family is torn between paying their medical bills or their rent might get a sweet surprise they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford.
I am so grateful. I am so moved by the generosity of others and I want you to know that each and every item that comes through my front door is lovingly and knowingly packed up for these children. This event is as close to Kate as they come and I consider it an honor and a privilege to share it.
For them. Because of her. With help from you.