Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reisterstown, Maryland
Monday, September 27, 2010 8:01 PM, CDT
Life is going at a pretty fast pace, which is good, for the most part, but makes it hard sometimes to fit the things I really want and need to do into a sixteen hour period. I try to prioritize and make plans for my day only to let go of the steering wheel many times because I am not the driver and my day tends to go better when I admit that I am not! I have to work hard at not letting myself feel too guilty when I can't answer emails in a timely manner or I fail to accomplish simple tasks like putting laundry away.
This morning I had the best of intentions to spend my morning pecking away on the keyboard to share our incredible experience from last week of getting to meet Natasha Bedingfield, and I will, eventually. I even called my mom to let her know I would not be answering the phone for awhile so I could attend to this desirable task. I was five minutes from getting in the shower when the telephone rang. The little screen on the phone identified the caller as someone so dear to me, someone that I haven't been able to speak to for sometime, that I knew I needed to drop everything to answer this call, so I did. Without going into details, it was one of those phone calls that could be considered long overdue, but after the fact, and actually during the conversation, as it was emotional, I realized why timing is so important. God's timing and not my own. I am having a good, strong day and was prepared to talk about some painful issues with this person. The phone call did my heart such good and I hope it did my dear friend some good, too. Our story will require a whole chapter of a book, probably. This relationship is already a part of my life that has benefited me in so many ways and continues to cement my faith in God. I think this person knows that, too! God brought us together for a reason, as He has done time and time again for me!
So, with all that being said, this journal entry will not be completed in the time frame I had hoped, but the most important thing is that it will get done!
I sit here and try to find a starting point to explain how last week became the most amazing whirlwind of events I think I've ever had the privilege of experiencing in my life.
I guess it's best to start at the very beginning with Sicily's love of the song, “Pocketful of Sunshine.” I explained in my last writing how much she loved it and how it has helped us all on her cancer journey and continues to help us during our grief process. My sister-in-law, Sicily's beloved Aunt Bett, called me sometime in mid-August to tell me she had just heard on a Wichita, Kansas radio station, B98, that Natasha would be coming to perform in September, along with a list of several other talented artists, as part of a “Pink” concert to benefit breast cancer. Although my heart is deeply passionate about bringing as much awareness and attention as possible to the underfunded and lesser known plight of pediatric cancer, I pride myself in supporting other forms of cancer research, as well, as I have many special people in my life that have in the past and are currently battling breast cancer, and these people themselves have been advocates on behalf of my daughter and her disease. I will admit, and I feel I justly have the right to say this, that it does sting a bit and hurt that so much attention is given to breast cancer awareness during the month of September, which is “Childhood Cancer Awareness Month,” when the month allocated to breast cancer is October. If I could change our month, I would...to April or May...during the season of spring, but I wouldn't even know how to go about that. I don't know who made the decision in the first place as I don't think it was very well thought out! So, with that being said, I decided to buy a ticket to this concert. Mainly, of course, so I could hear Natasha sing “the song.” My decision was not immediate as I had to check with Patrick about his schedule for work. Sure enough, he had a board meeting that day but convinced me that he could handle everything with the kids and that I needed to go. So I had Bett get me a ticket.
Fast forward to last week. It was already turning out to be a difficult week for my emotions and I struggled trying to find some level of excitement about attending the upcoming concert. I was looking forward to it, but at the same time the blues were so heavy upon me that they did indeed weigh me down and damper my normal enthusiasm. Sometimes the thought of being away from my family drives me to want to turn down invitations and hunker down. That can be detrimental so therefore I force myself out the door.
Thursday morning began as any usual weekday does in our household with Corinthian and Isabella getting up early and getting themselves ready for school. I hadn't packed anything for my one night stay away from home, and just figured I would throw things in a bag later that morning as I hadn't planned to leave until around 1:00. As was their normal routine, the two older kids left the house and headed to the bus stop on time. They never seem to run late. Elias usually doesn't wake up until about half an hour after they leave. I typically make myself some breakfast, but that morning I began to ice some sugar cookies to look like soccer balls so Elias could take them to his class in honor of his ninth birthday on Saturday. I was a little startled when Corinthian and Isabella came walking back into the house a short time later. My first inclination was that they had missed the bus, which is something they've never done before. So with a surprised look on my face I asked them, “Did you guys miss the bus?” With a grin filled with excitement Corinthian responded with, “No...school has been canceled!” I know it is still early in the morning and I may not be completely awake, but I don't recall hearing a weather forecast for snow, ice or any other reason to cancel school. Corinthian reported that the bus driver had met them at their stop to let them know that school was canceled due to a water main break within the city of Broken Arrow. She then gave them a ride back home. As soon as he was finished sharing the story, the news anchor on a local Tulsa station reiterated the situation. I felt a slight bit of panic as I hated the thought of leaving the kids home alone during the day with Patrick out of town as well, but calmed myself quickly thinking that I could call a neighbor and ask them to be available in case of an emergency. With Isabella being an insulin dependent diabetic, I still carry a heavy load of worry where she is concerned!
The air around us began to carry a hint of excitement, as kids are always excited about a free day out of school, but this was something else, something different. The excitement and anticipation of something big thickened as the phone rang and I picked it up to hear Bett's voice, which also carried a higher level of excitement. I quickly explained the situation with the kids and she confessed that she was already aware of it as Isabella had wasted no time emailing her Godmother the news. She continued to ask if all three kids were out of school and I replied that the entire school district had been canceled. The next thing out of Bett's mouth was, “You're never going to believe this!” She began to explain that B98 radio in Wichita was going to give us four tickets to the concert as well as organize a meet and greet with Natasha. How I managed not to drop the phone, I don't know. She said someone from the radio station would be calling me soon with the details. This is when shock began to take over. By now, the kids were beginning to swarm around me inquisitively as to find out why I kept repeating, “You are kidding me! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” My mind was having a hard time comprehending what this meant. Soon, my cell phone rang and it was Brett, from B98, and after asking me how I was doing, he calmed me by saying, “Don't worry, you're not on the radio right now.” I said, “Okay,” as I exhaled. He began to explain a little about what he knew of Sicily and asked me to explain the relevance of Natasha and the song. I started out okay, but as usual with me, my emotions took over and though my tears were invisible to the person on the other end of the phone, there was no mistaking their presence. Besides, it was just him and I talking, right? ; ) He expressed that B98 would like to have us as their guests for the evening. I said we would be honored, as I graciously and humbly excepted! He said someone from the station would be in contact with me to go over the details. As we hung up the phone, shock had moved up the express line to total disbelief! I couldn't believe it! Feeling a level of excitement and happiness I hadn't experienced in such a long time, I called my other sister-in-law, Valerie, who was also an enthusiastic ticket holder, to share the news. She picked up the phone and started yelling, “You're on the radio!!!” I sat on my end of the phone in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and listened to myself crying on the radio in Wichita and the surrounding south central part of Kansas. Yes, you can say it was something else. I found myself laughing a laugh I didn't know I still had in me.
This is when the palm sized snowball began to roll down the hill and created an avalanche of major proportions. I received a call from the radio station saying that a local hotel had contacted them to ask if we had a place to stay for the night. They gave me the name of the contact person at the Holiday Inn Express, so I called her. A sweet woman explained that she had been running a little late to work when she heard me on the radio sharing Sicily's story. She said if she had been early or on time, she would have missed our story completely. She admitted that it had affected her to the point of tears and it took her a few minutes to compose herself before she called the radio station with her offer. I once again graciously accepted her generous offer for us to stay at the Holiday Inn Express. When I think about all of this, my love of mankind and awe over humanity just grows taller than the tallest mountain top.
I was on and off the phone the rest of the morning setting up times and accepting generous offers. Tree Top Nursery in Wichita donated a garden statue to us that closely resembles Sicily when she was little with ponytails and pink ribbons donning her hair, in addition to a Willow Tree angel holding a red heart. It is titled, “With Love.” Both, along with meal vouchers to Freddy's Frozen Custard for our dinner, were delivered to the hotel by a dear friend I have known for years, Brenda, and her precious daughter. Brenda lives in Wichita and heard me on the radio and called me shortly after. When she found out we were having logistical issues trying to figure out how to pick up our dinner vouchers from the radio station in time to be able to use them before the concert, she offered to pick them up for us. Brenda and her family have always been great friends to us and time and distance haven't changed any of that! When I first learned I was pregnant with Sicily six years ago, I was in a bit of a panic as I had very few baby items left after selling them in a garage sale before we moved. I mainly had just the crib. Brenda swooped in and loaned us many needed and useful things and saved us from having to start all over again. She swooped in once again on Thursday! She has been an amazing friend!