This morning was my first March of Dimes walk. And wouldn't you know it - Cold (in the 50's) and raining, in Arizona, in April! My wonderful sister in law, Natalie, came to town to join me in the walk. We got matching tee shirts last night and got ready to walk in honor of Nolan and in memory of Eli and Owen.
Woke up this morning to pouring down rain so I had to nix the plan to have Nolan join us in his stroller. Felt sadness about that. I really wanted this to be something we would do together but keeping him healthy was more important, so........ he stayed home with grandma and Natalie and I braved the elements; walking shoes on our feet, matching tees, rain jackets, scarfs, 1 pr of gloves to share and 1 umbrella.
I was feeling pretty good despite the late night and early morning. We even had enough time for a drive through starbucks.
We got there and wandered around the booths for a bit then I saw it. There it was. The same isolette that Nolan and Eli were in while in the NICU. At first I smiled and suddenly, out of nowhere I felt tears stinging my eyes and there was no way in the world I could stop crying. It surprised me, this sadness, it took my breath away. I wasn't surprised I was sad but that it hit me in 1.5 seconds. One of my babies graduated from that isolette to an open air crib in the NICU and then, the big graduation, out of the NICU to home. One of them did not. Neither did my nephew.
And then, of course, next to the booth with the isolette was the booth with the Angel Garden. They had foam flowers and pens available so that we could write on a flower in memory of our angels. I picked a flower and pen for Eli. Natalie picked one for Owen and we planted their flowers in that Angel Garden. I was crying so openly that a kind woman I don't know came behind me and sweetly, kindly squeezed my shoulder in sympathy. As I looked up I saw she had tears in her eyes too. She was there to plant a flower for an angel she knew. Natalie was right there crying with me. It meant so much to me that she was there and that I wasn't doing this alone.
We walked, we talked, we danced and sang. We cried. We took pictures for strangers and they took pictures for us. And when we finished the walk it was warmer and drier. There were some lone walkers, some couples, some families and some large groups. Many had matching shirts, some had balloons, signs or matching hats. Some walked in honor, some in memory and I even saw some who walked for both reasons, like Natalie and I.
I am so glad I did this and am so thankful to those who donated to both Natalie and I. I will be there next year too.
But tonight, right now, I am going to go to sleep listening to Nolan's breathing and holding Eli's teddy bear.