For most families the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest of the year. I’ll admit, we’re usually fairly busy then too, but nothing compares to the hectic rush of the middle of September.
Last week we participated in the Miracles and Promises Radiothon. As always, we had a blast and loved hearing everyone’s stories. We took some lollipops to share with the volunteers and then Bekah (who seems to always bring home more than she gives away) discovered that there is a room full of food there, and helped herself to a snack of oranges and ice cream.
Last Friday we did some work at home (while we listened to the rest of the radiothon) and made grape and peach applesauce, which should’ve only taken a few hours, but instead took all day because two sets of small hands kept “helping.”
Last Saturday we were up bright and early so we could go to Youngstown for the Heart Walk. Bekah’s favorite part of the Heart Walk (other than the snacks, of course) is the Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley Kid Zone.
Each year she tries out the games and activities they have set up. This year she could actually understand what she was supposed to do at most of them, and although that did not mean she actually played hopscotch correctly or used the hula hoop for anything other than a giant necklace, it was nice to see her playing with all of the other kids who were there.
That, however, was in no way close to the end of our weekend.
On Sunday we braved the rain at our house and headed to the Akron Zoo for the 8th annual Walk for Babies. By the time we arrived at the zoo, the sun was shining and the day turned out to be a beautiful one.
Every year we love seeing some of the doctors and nurses who helped keep Bekah safe. It’s also nice to see some of the families of children (I almost wrote babies here, but at almost three, they surely aren’t babies anymore!) who were in the NICU the same time Bekah was. It’s incredible to see how much they have all grown and changed over the past year.
Maybe most incredible this year was something we just happened to have the chance to see.
The other half of our Walk for Babies team was in Akron, but not at the zoo. Instead, Bekah’s trusty NICU roomie was spending her busy weekend in the hospital.
After we left the zoo we went to visit Tailyn. Her mommy said they’d be outside, and that we should meet them in the front yard under a tree. Tailyn’s nurses had decided that some fresh air wouldn’t hurt her, and that it’d probably be better than her standing at the door wanting to go outside.
As we walked through the Bowery Street parking lot, we heard a rumble in the distance. It grew louder and louder as we neared the street. Before we could cross, we were met with one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.
Hundreds of motorcycles pulled onto Bowery Street, each carrying not just a biker (or two) but also teddy bears of all shapes and sizes. I’ve seen stories about this day, but had never had the chance to actually be there in person as the bikes arrived.
As the parent of a child who spent 70 days hanging out in the NICU and another 10 in the PICU after heart surgery, I can’t even explain how touching it is to see that many motorcycles, each with someone whose love for children makes them donate not just their money (there’s a donation involved to be in the ride) and a bear (or a LOT of bears–there’s a box truck that comes full of the stuffed things that didn’t fit on the bikes), but also their time. Some of the bikers come from hours away just to participate in this ride.
We had a great visit with Tailyn. She and Bekah had some roommate fun as they spent so long waving bye to the motorcycle caravan that their arms got tired. As the last of the motorcycles rode away Bekah and Tailyn shared one last hug and Tailyn headed back inside for her medicine.
There was no better way to finish off our busiest weekend of the year than to be reminded that without Akron Children’s Hospital and these beautiful girls we wouldn’t have the chance to be this busy in the first place.