Today was a long and emotional day. I sit here at 7 o'clock at night and almost feel that same draining, exhausted feeling I had when we would get home every night from seeing Sadie. Almost...but not quite.
It was great to donate all the infant rattles, teethers and crib toys for the NICU and PICU. We had another bag full of other various toys for different parts of the hospital too which was great. Next year, I was thinking about donating handmade blankets or maybe boxes of diapers. Just a little something different every year.
We had lunch and Sadie was more giggly and excited than I have ever seen her. I really think she knew exactly where she was and why we were there. Or maybe she could sense our joy in giving back.
After donating the toys, we visited the gift shop to buy Sadie a new CMH shirt (a white t-shirt with a sparkly pink heart in the middle). Proceeds go back to the hospital so we were happy to buy it for her.
We had lunch in the cafeteria, posed with Ronald McDonald for a few pics - then headed off to the chapel to pray for all the sick babies in the NICU and to thank God for our daughter.
As we were waiting for the valet to bring the car around, a little girl around 7 or 8 years old was waiting with her mom for a cab to bring them home after a long night of throwing up. She was bald, except for maybe four patches of scraggly hair hanging off the top of her small head. She was wearing a mask and was smiling at Sadie - who smiled back of course. Even though she had her mask on, I told her that Sadie knew she was smiling because her eyes smiled for her. They were bright and vibrant, full of heart and strength. I hope she will be better soon.
It felt like we had never left that hospital. It became so familiar to us over those weeks that we spent in the NICU. The entire experience made the past year seem like it just started yesterday - within the blink of an eye.
I'll try to post some pics from the day a little later. Thank you again to everyone who wished Sadie a happy birthday and for donating to such a wonderful cause.