The night before the March for Babies we had a rare Los Angeles rain storm. I was worried it would still be raining the morning of the march, but luckily the skies cleared and while it was “California cold,” it wasn’t anything a few extra layers couldn’t handle.
I was so thrilled with our March For Maddie team – we beat last year’s team in fundraising!
Annie had a lot of questions about the walk this year. She didn’t quite understand why we were walking for Maddie if she wasn’t going to be there. “Are we going to the past?” I did my best to explain but I don’t think I gave her a satisfactory answer…probably because there really isn’t one. Luckily for Annie, a bunch of her friends were there, so all strangeness was forgotten as soon as they arrived.
James was happy to meet a bunch of people before the walk, and then he napped for the duration of the march. LUCKY.
Annie and her friends are all too big for strollers, so walking with them was slow-going. They were good about walking at first:
But eventually, Annie got tired. I had the foresight to bring along a wagon, but I probably should have anticipated multiple girls wanting turns.
She even had a friend willing to pick her up:
The walk is always a very emotional experience. Seeing Maddie’s face on shirts and the jumbotron is so bittersweet. It means so much to us to see her remembered by so many, but I’d give anything for her to be just another former preemie running around in the crowd. I remember during our very first March for Babies in 2008, I’d see teams walking in memory of their babies and I felt so lucky. Now we are one of those teams. I feel incredibly lucky we had Maddie for seventeen months, but it’s still hard to see the preemies that made it when ours didn’t. I spotted a few wearing shirts that identified their gestational ages as similar to Maddie’s, which was tough. It just…it sucks.
After the walks every year, I am physically and emotionally exhausted, but this year I thought about all of you who marched, donated and joined us in spirit. I know how difficult it is to part with hard-earned money and hard-earned sleep. It’s impossible to imagine how much more trying this all would be without the love we receive. I know I say that a lot, but it’s really true. At the walk, your love boosted my spirits and comforted me when I was ready to crumple. Thank you, so much, for supporting our team and the March of Dimes.