Sunday, October 24, 2010

Building Strength

waiting in my fig for the train to arrive
Yesterday was definitely a high point of the past few months.  Between a lovely brunch date with some of my girls (quinoa porridge a must-eat), cupcakes from Baked by Melissa (thank you Shan) and my team representin' at Light the Night, it was jam-packed.  In other words, I fell asleep in my clothes less than an hour after returning home.

valuable team members
The day started off with bright sunshine as I waved goodbye to Dan and Judah at the train station.  I met up with a few of my favorite NYC/NJ girls (very un-Snooki) in Center City where we cabbed to South Philly for brunch with the other Philly girls.  Delicious food (we also ordered graham cracker coated, pumpkin stuffed french toast for the table) and no high chairs at the table allowed us to catch up uninterrupted.  It was quite lovely.

After our meal, we met hung out at Amy's, met Rufus (the Pretzel dog), walked to Auntie Rae Rae's to get our Joely fix, ate tiny but scrumptious cupcakes imported from Union Square, then got changed for the Walk.

Donning our Team Mama Mia t-shirts, we met up with some other members of the team at the base of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps.  It took a while to get checked in, get t-shirts, light-up balloons (red for supporters, gold in memory of someone and white for survivors), food, as well as fraternize with NBC10 peacocks and oddly inflated giant tigers (still don't know the purpose of that one).  The weather cooperated and it was even warm enough for me to go bare headed until the sun set.  Luckily we missed the Remembrance Ceremony, as the head-shaving ceremony had us in tears right from the start. The MC seemed intent on forcing people to talk about their loved ones while choking back tears of their own.

Gonna rock this walk out.
Team Coach carrying the Captain
It seemed odd (IMHO), seeing as how everyone who was in attendance had already raised money or given some of their own, and didn't need to be moved to tears repeatedly.  I would've preferred it to be more of a pep rally, cheering on researchers, doctors, patients and survivors to find cures for blood cancers and rid the world of awful boo boos.  But I realize it is so important to also pay tribute to those who have not survived these diseases, and to know that they are part of this walk, too.  Part of my survival is due to them and we must keep their memories alive.
Team Banner (as decorated by 104/105)

I was a tiny bit disappointed (okay, a lot bit) at how few white balloons (survivors) were raised in the air.   I've been trying to rationalize it in my head by thinking that people don't want to relive the experience and want to put it behind them.  It was too good of a day to linger on this for too long.  I said to Rachel, for every white balloon, it takes a whole bunch of red ones.  And thank goodness there were a whole lot of red ones there.

Red Boathouse Row
So we walked in the dark with our light-up balloons (Judah rode) along the Schuylkill River, past boat house row (lit in red in honor of the LLS).  Judah was thrilled that it was nighttime (I think it felt so forbidden) and he was out with all of these crowds of people during what he thought was past his bedtime.

Lotsa Walkers
At some point, early in the second mile, he got out of the stroller and walked with us.  He was cheering (and leading others in cheer), "Go Mama Mia!  Go Mama Mia!  Mommy So Strong!!  Mommy So Strong!"  No matter how tired I may have been, stopping was not an option (although being pushed in the stroller wouldn't have been a bad one).

Team Mama Mia Representatives
We made it to the finish line and back to the bottom of the Art Museum steps by the light of the very bright full moon (which I enjoyed imagining was my own white survivor balloon in the sky).  A DJ was set up there playing "nice music" (according to my 3 year old) and we rocked it out for a little while (a prelude to the dance party still in the planning stage) before saying goodnight to our fellow team members and heading back to the car.  I am very grateful that so many people donated and that I had a great group of supporters there with me, marching beside me, holding my hand and even offering to carry me, as they've done for the past five months.

The biggest white balloon shining down
I remind them (and you) that tomorrow is the 2nd Triannual Team Mama Mia Appreciation Day.  I hope you, my supporters, will remember to pat yourselves on the back tomorrow (since I won't be able to get to give EVERYone the hugs they deserve) for being a blog reader, a friend, a dinner maker, a sponsor, a tshirt or ribbon wearer, a fellow walker, a card or package or email or energy or prayer sender - for being a member of the team.  We're not done yet, but we're on our way.  So to y'all I say, "Thank you."



  1. Thank You, Sweetheart! See you soon.
    Love GG

  2. Wish I could have been there!