This time last year I was a weary, sad, angry, mess of a momma much of the time. I felt alone, but would also cut off people who tried to get too close. I wanted to know that others were going through the same experiences I was, but I was afraid of looking into the mirror of my future.
Around the beginning of August I heard of an event called the Buddy Walk, and I kind of wanted to do it... but I wasn't sure I was ready to make Down Syndrome that much of a reality in our lives. The day came and went, and I didn't give it too much thought.
But now here we are, one year later, and let me tell you... Down Syndrome is very much a reality in our lives. I'm still a mess, but more in the normal way that I'll probably just always be a mess.
And once again it's time to start thinking about the Buddy Walk, and this time I am IN and I am EXCITED. We're not just walking in this Buddy Walk--we're forming a team. And it's going to be great! Guess what our team is called, friends... Roo's Crew!
I am so looking forward to being part of this event, taking my kids there, having some fun. And here is the absolute BEST PART to me--the thing that brings me joy and warms my heart more than I can ever tell you... I have been telling people about this walk, and multiple people have said that they are interested in doing it too. These are not people with DS or whose children have DS... these are our friends and family who want to join Roo's Crew just because they love us! Seriously, you have no idea how much that means to me. Even if it doesn't work out for any of them to come, the fact that they so sincerely have showed interest in being part of our team makes me feel incredibly blessed.
In the meantime, we've been trying to decide the best way to raise money for our team. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but since I feel like I just sent letters to everyone I know asking for support for my Mozambique mission, I feel a little funny to do it again. So instead of a big letter-writing campaign, I've just been telling people about the walk and I am having a Tastefully Simple fundraiser party! I think the Tastefully Simple party will be a great thing--20% of the show's total will go to our Buddy Walk, and everyone who orders will get their yummy TS stuff! It's a win-win! :-) And other people have just offered donations to our team just from hearing about the walk. God is so good.
I have learned a huge amount about fundraising this year. Between Mozambique and this Buddy Walk, I have realized that raising money is so not about the money at all. Every single time I got a check for the Mozambique mission, it brought tears to my eyes. Every time someone shows interest in walking in or donating to the Buddy Walk, my heart swells. Over the years I have gotten many letters from friends and acquaintences who were raising money for one thing or another, but never did I really understand that a donation wasn't just about helping them meet a goal--it is truly a way to show love and support for a person. I couldn't believe how spiritually and emotionally blessed I felt by a physical gift.
I feel like I need to give a little disclaimer here, though... I also got support from friends (for Mozambique) who didn't or weren't able to provide financially. Many provided lots & lots of prayer, some sent cards or letters, some even brought food to my family while I was gone. Every single one of those things made me feel incredibly blessed, and I don't mean to downplay those things by talking so much about the money. My point is simply that I never understood that giving the money was also a way of actually showing love far more than it was about raising funds.
Anyway, all that to say... we've come a long way in the last year. And I am so thankful for every single person who has been on the journey with us. And I am excited to see Roo's Crew come together for the Buddy Walk next month!