Well, the 4th annual Swim for Melissa and Miracle Bash is in the history books. And again, it was a smashing success!
I can't give you official results yet because we still have money coming in and expenses to be paid. But we feel pretty comfortable saying that we will raise around $140,000. I could not be happier!
It was just a great weekend! We moved the Miracle Bash to the Davidson Center this year and I have had so many positive remarks. The food was delicious (so everyone said - I never had a chance to eat) and the place is so big that you have plenty of room to move around. I think we have finally found our home :)
Swim for Melissa was awesome, too. We had a great turnout and our swimmers worked really hard to raise money. My family came to cheer on our team, Melissa's Angels, and then they swam in the water. Well, Ann Catherine did. Lily was completely overwhelmed by all of the noise and people and Chris ending up having to take her home early. (She also tried to hang with her cousins and sister all week, which meant NO NAP all week, and the poor thing was worn completely out!).
As I do each year, I had my moments this year. At Swim for Melissa, I was sitting watching AC and her friends splash around in the pool when the DJ came over the loud speaker and said he was dedicating a song to Melissa. It was the Phil Collins song "You'll Be in My Heart." Oh, boy. My friend, Lesli, who lost her two sons in the NICU came over to me and put her arm around me and we just sobbed together. I had never really thought of the words to that song, but it hit me hard. At that particular moment, I missed Melissa so badly that I felt my heart was literally breaking in two. I just wanted the sky to open and for God to send her to me, if only for a few moments. I can't explain how badly I ached for my little girl. At the same time, I know she was with me on Saturday. I always feel her presence so strongly at that event. Every year for the past four years, God has given us the most beautiful weather for our event. It's as if Melissa is sitting next to him and just soaking up all that we are doing. Man, I miss her.
One thing I have realized is that a lot of parents explain to their kids why they are swimming. They tell them about Melissa and the NICU and the premature babies they are helping. It really has an impact on some kids. A little girl named Jordan asked a volunteer if she could talk to me and ask me some questions. After she swam, she sat down next to me and said:
Jordan: Did your daughter die?
Me: Yes, she did.
Me: Well, she was born very early and very tiny. She was just too sick and she passed away.
Jordan: Do you miss her?
Me: Yes. I miss her every day.
Jordan: I bet that makes you really sad.
Me: It does make me really sad sometimes. But do you know what? I am also very proud of her. Because I look at what we are doing today and what you are doing to help tiny babies, and we wouldn't be able to do this if it wasn't for Melissa.
I then changed the subject and asked her how many laps she had swam. Eventually, she hugged me and then left to get her prizes. It was just the sweetest conversation. She was so concerned about Melissa - who she was, what happened to her. It touched me so much. Many adults are afraid to talk about Melissa to me and here was this little girl who wasn't afraid to ask me questions and speak Melissa's name. It was just so meaningful to me. I think Jordan walked away truly understanding what that day meant. It wasn't about jumping in the water and having fun with friends, although that's important. It was about helping precious babies who enter the world very sick, by no fault of their own. It was about helping their precious mommies and daddies who are scared and heartsick. It was about teaching our kids that there is something so much bigger than themselves.
Thanks to those of you who were part of it - whether you were there Saturday or gave a donation. Thank you for giving us another successful event. We are so grateful for and humbled by your support.
Every day of my life I am proud to be Melissa's mother, but no more than on this particular day. I know she was there Saturday, cheering us on. And what a view she had!
That's it for now. I'm off to get some sleep. I will post pictures tomorrow!