Today our family had the great privilege of being the Grand Marshal of this year's Christmas parade. Nomination letters were written in to our city's Chamber of Commerce, nominating Mabel and our family for this awesome honor.
I'm still feeling extremely weepy and am not sure if I have the exact right words to describe today.
Today was overwhelming for Daniel and I. Today as we showed up with our children and waited for the parade to begin we were surrounded by people who love us and that alone made the day perfect. But then the parade began.
By the time that the parade got going Mabel was completely overstimulated. We had held her for far too long and with the moving truck and the loud noises, it was all too much. She cried hard and had real tears the entire route. I feel awful that no one got to see her beautiful smile, rather a bundle of fur on my lap. But it didn't matter to you all...
You all are amazing.
This town, our friends, the people who have fallen in love with our one of a kind little girl.
You have all done the unthinkable and swallowed us up with a remarkable amount of love and support. The streets were lined with what seemed like hundreds of you and as we approached and you stood to clap, the tears fell. Jeni and I cried and my husband choked back the tears.
You all love us in a way that pulls us through this journey and now you are a grand part of it. Today was so special for us because of you.
I come here day after day and I say it time and time again but I literally have the greatest friends. What I know for sure to be true and what was confirmed to me today is that if you love people the right way, through the hard stuff and in the bad times; if you go to bat for them and stand beside them-they will always turn around and do the same for you. They will endure hardship with you, walk miles for you, do your dishes for you, stand at a grave with you. They will pour over your children as if they are their own and they will never back down because they know that you would do the same for them.
And I know that they know I would because they still show up. Every single time.
There were a few specific points during the parade that I looked to my left or to my right and I saw you all out there. Lindsay, Jen, Adam, Ashley, Elizabeth, Danielle and so many more of you. You were scattered and clumped and waving and crying. You were there for us; for our Mabel and you love her like she deserves to be loved. You have always done that for me and you have given her life great purpose. You have continually lit the fire under me to keep up this fight for our daughter. The fight to have her name known not only in our small town of Illinois, but throughout the world. You are part of her story.
Don't you ever forget it.
I want to say an extra special thank you to Carolyn who worked so hard to make today possible and special. Carolyn's dad passed away early this morning after a long, hard battle of illness and I would have loved to do nothing more than love on her today. Instead she came and held our girl close to her and sang as I know her heart ached with a grief that is unexplainable. I watched her smile and I thanked God that Mabel is able to bring joy in the midst of pain. Please pray for my friend as she endures the next couple of days.
Another special thank you to my friends behind the scenes. Rache and Ash, thank you for loving me boldly like you do. I loved knowing you were in the literal drivers seat on our special day.
You are my rocks.
I want to say a huge thank you to the Chamber of Commerce. Thank you for accepting our nominations and allowing us the privilege of representing our town. I know that this was a unique circumstance for the city and we are unbelievably humbled and appreciative.
Thank you for allowing us to share the name of our daughter, raise awareness for rare disease and thank you for your support. Our community has given us an outpouring of love and kindness that never goes unnoticed. and we are beyond grateful.
To Stevie and Abie, thank you.
Thank you for loving us so unconditionally and for sometimes doing the dirty work. I know that I can always count on you both but I never take that for granted. I appreciate you far more than I could ever express in words but please know, with all I am, I love you both. I feel blessed every day that God brought you into our lives and that He chose you to be such an intimate part in our story. There are many days that I know we couldn't survive with either of you and you faithfully show up for us.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
If you are reading this, thank you.
Thank you for coming here and for exploring our lives. Thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable in everything that I do. You have allowed me the security to continue writing our story and to do so without fear or reserve. This place is my refuge and knowing that you are reading gives purpose to my writing and ultimately to our lives. Especially to Mabel's life.
You prove that she is worth knowing and worth loving.
If you were on the sidelines today, clapping and loving us from the crowd: thank you. Thank you for backing us and for stepping in the gap. Sometimes it is knowing that we have your support that allows us to get up every day with the courage to keep fighting for Mabel and all the things that we believe she deserves. We know she is special to you and we want to share her with you.
We know that many of you traveled to see her. We know that you daily pray for our little girl and that you wrap us up in your thoughts constantly. I could sob at the idea that there are so many of you who care that deeply for Mabel and yet I know it's true. She is incredibly special and today, once again, I was reminded that I am not bias. You all think so too.
Our little parade princess is still crying tonight.
Today was just too much for her and I get that. It was quite overwhelming for us as well. I hope I have expressed vividly enough just how special we feel tonight.
We love you all.
Happy Parade Day!