Sunday, October 20, 2013

Our Friday Surprise!

Wow!  I have so much to tell you!

First, let me start with the BIG news from Friday night.

Guess where we are going...

No, I have no idea when we're going.  But, we will definitely figure it out.  And before I go any further - if you know my kids - shhhhh, they don't know yet.

A few weeks ago, Lynda (man, that woman knows no bounds!) called and said that she wanted to meet with Tom and I both to go over some We Heart Harlie things.  Okay, no prob! We scheduled it for this past Friday night.

Well, Friday proved to be a CRAZY day (will have to make that another post).  And in the midst of it, Tom called to tell me that he was invited to a soft opening of a new restaurant.  Considering his business (Tom is a kitchen designer) he really had to go.  I couldn't go with him (no nursing for the night and we had our meeting with Lynda that night).  He took our friend Mike with him instead.  So, late-ish in the afternoon I called Lynda and said that Tom had this thing to go to.  I know it sounds so crappy - we did commit to Lynda first.  But, given that he's 100% commission, he really had to take advantage of the opportunity to see if it would lead to anything.  Of course, she understood.  I told her he probably wouldn't be very late.  And she was coming over after the kids were in bed.  So, we could go over stuff that he didn't need to hear until he got home.

Lynda came over and we chatted for a bit.  She was texting a bit.  I didn't think anything of it.  Then Tom knocked on the door (Mike drove and Tom didn't have his keys).  Then less than a minute later, there was another knock on the door.  It was Mike.  Somehow it came out that Lynda sent him a text and told him to come in for a drink.  Which I did think was a little odd.  Didn't we have business to discuss?  Then just a minute or so later, there was another knock on the door.  And in walked Les and Sally.  What?

Don't get me wrong - we LOVE visitors!  So it was a pleasant surprise.  But, I couldn't help but wonder what was going on.  Plus, when we were all in the same room, I could tell something was up.  They all looked like the cat that swallowed the canary.  So, I said, "What is going on?"

Then Les got out a piece of paper and said he wanted to read it to us.

Here is what he said...

The idea for this really started with your trip to Boston, where some of us realized just how many people out there want to help make good things happen in your lives, to balance out the not so good stuff.  It is very apparent that a wide circle of your friends are not just passionate about We Heart Harlie, but are equally fervent about the Holtons as a family, including Murphy and Cooper as well.  And you two.  About four weeks ago an inspiration started a conversation, I will get to the what later, to see if we could create something miraculous, something everyone could relate to, something people would support and get behind.  And because of those factors, it has grown to be far bigger than we thought possible.

We reached out to our community, the cyclists and runners, the Daisy troop, the friends, to ask for help in creating a miracle, and the response has been frankly overwhelming.  It has been both humbling and inspiring.  We recognize that the support is because of Harlie; this kind of community spirit stems from a desire to change her life for the better.  However the thrust of this was wider, and because of the tangible nature of our objective our community rallied and then some.

So what have we done?  Over the last few weeks there has been a fund raising effort that has not only reached and exceeded our wildest dreams; it has set the stage for your family to have something that every family dreams about, the chance to make the memories that  bind father to son, sister to brother, and all of you to each other.  We started out thinking we might be able to provide the bare bones, but we now have enough to make it the trip of a lifetime, first class all the way, with no impediments to your full enjoyment of the experience.

In the box is an envelope, and in that envelope is a check, written out for you guys to have enough for an all expenses paid, seven day, Disney Orlando vacation.

The amount is not important, rest assured we have done our research and you will have on park accommodations, meals, character experiences, the works.  And that is for six of you should you want to take a nurse for Harlie.  Fly or drive, and Celeste will work with you on schedule and such (details, details) making sure there is flexibility built in to accommodate any change in plans.

Christy, Tom, we ask that you accept this gift through us from all of your friends and neighbors who desperately want to help, need to help, bring about miracles in your life for you and the kids.  We were able to raise so much because everyone could relate, they have been there as a kid, or taken their kids there, and want you guys to have that magical feeling, too.

So now you know, and might want to take a moment just to absorb this.  Reflect on how much love brought this about.

P.S. Tom, if I see you on a new road bike in the spring I will hunt you down!

~Les Carter

Isn't that just wonderful?  So beautiful, Les!  I've read it like ten times since then.  And it makes me cry each time.  Lynda got it all on video.  I'm working on trying to put it in my blog.  So, I'll share that when I get it.

This is what was in the box (which was wrapped in Mickey Mouse ears wrapping paper):

Pretty awesome!  Thank you to Celeste (who will be helping us plan this magical trip) for the box contents and to Glen Young, who provided the Mickey ears.  He said we had to have them.  Good call, Glen!

Now we just have to decide when to go, all the things we want to do while there, and how (and when) to tell the kids.  Those are the kinds of decisions I wish I could make more often!!!  What a change of pace, right?

So, any and all comments, advice, etc. are welcome!  We want to go during a less crowded time (of course).  And not hot.  Harlie has a hard time in the heat.  And my gut is telling me to go the first chance we get.  At first, I was thinking Christmas time would be AWESOME.  But, Harlie will most likely be getting a heart cath in mid-December.  More on that in another post.  And we would rather not go when she needs supplemental oxygen 24/7.  I'm thinking that would be a royal pain and would probably hinder ride enjoyment for her.  She's already limited in that area as it is.  So, it would have to be after the first of the year.  February, maybe?

Anyway, needless to say, we are blown away by this incredible gift.  Still can't believe the crazy amount of love and generosity we receive from our friends and community.  It's really quite remarkable.  It's as if we won a "friend lottery."  ;-)

There are plenty of days when I just feel sad.  And even though I don't say anything, it never fails that something good happens to make me feel better.  I'll get a nice text, phone call, comment on Facebook or my blog, or a friend will drop by the house.  I don't know how that happens, but I'm always so grateful.

Sometimes I get a little worried when I hear a lot of nice things about me.  I hope everyone knows that I am a very flawed person.  I'm spacey at times.  Those close to me might argue "most" times.  I have a very difficult time with time management.  And I forget things.  A lot of things.  And appointments.  And people.  Like Murphy.  And Cooper, too.  It's true.

Just last week I lost track of time in the library picking up something for Tom and completely forgot about being home in time for Murphy.  He rode his bike home, let himself in the garage and looked all over the house for me.  I'm not sure why the lack of my car being in the driveway wasn't a clue.  I suppose he gets that from me.  Anyway, after waiting a few minutes, he called my cell phone and when I answered he started to cry.  Thank God by that time, I was in the driveway.  But, I made my kid CRY.  He was scared and it was because I lost track of time and was on auto pilot.

Anyway, I just think you need to know that about me before we go any further in this relationship.

So, how to say thank you?  I've read on Facebook that I don't have to.  But, clearly, that's ridiculous.  No offense to all of you awesome people who said that.

So far, since fundraising for our sweet girl began, we have used the money for her medical or educational needs.  But this... to be able to use this money for her pure enjoyment - and the enjoyment of her brothers and us as a family?  Well, that's an amazing gift.  We were in no position to be able to do this on our own.  And while she qualifies for Make a Wish, we really want her to be able to choose her own wish.  And right now, she's not able to do that.  So, we are going to wait it out.  And hope that one day she will be able to communicate her wish to us.

Luckily, because of Facebook, I was able to thank most of the people that are directly responsible for this gift.  But there were some I couldn't thank.  Like a few folks that aren't on Facebook and Girl Scout Troops 5091 and 5092.  Troop 5091 is Harlie's troop and they just sold mums for Harlie.  They raised $1,600!  Isn't that amazing?  And all of that went towards the Disney trip.  So, thank you to everyone who purchased mums and thank you to all the moms who did all that work selling and delivering!  And Troop 5092 dissolved and had money left in the bank.  Instead of dividing it between the girls, the girls wanted to give it to Harlie.  So generous and thoughtful!  Thank you sweet girls!!!

All total, this wonderful group of friends and community raised $7,350!  Can you believe it?!  And there are some extra perks that will come to be in the future.  I just can't get over it.  We are simply blown away.

Now, what I really want to say is that all of you help us - in ways you'll never know.  I know we are stronger because of your incredible support and love for us.  And our children are healthier (Harlie of course) and happier (all three of them) because of it.  And we will be forever grateful.  Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others.  And thank you for choosing us to do that.

Much love,
Christy xoxo


Kelly said...

words cannot express how thrilled I am for your family! It never fails to amaze me at how a community can come together to do some pretty fantastic things (we know this first hand). Trust me, your time together making memories as a family will be PRICELESS.

Since we just went on our Make a Wish trip to Disney in February, I have a ton of info I can share...if you want me to! One thing I will suggest is to NOT go during the President's Day holiday weekend, but otherwise, February is a great time to go. Also, definitely do a princess lunch or dinner at the have to schedule that very far in advance, but a little known fact is that Norway in Epcot has a princess lunch as well (Akershus castle or something like that)...and it is much easier to get into and the food is better as well. That's all I'll bore you with now. Enjoy planning something FUN for once!!

Betsy said...

That is so amazing. It's stories like this that make me believe that the world isn't all going to pieces. As long as there are good people who are willing to reach out and just do good things for others, I think we will be just fine! I have no advice, just would love to read about how awesome your trip was. =)

Susan said...

Our Internet has been down most of the week....Just wanted to say WOW! That is so nice! I know you will make some amazing memories on this trip!