Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On Gratitude & Trees

Grandma Marian passed away yesterday at 3:50 a.m. A few hours later we were simultaneously working out flights to Ohio for her funeral and packing up our "B" Tree paraphernalia.

As we stood on our feet over 8 hours setting up our entry at Festival of Trees, I felt a lot of emotions, but mostly, I was grateful. Really, really grateful. By the end of the evening I was tearing up pretty easily but mostly because I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

As the song says, count your blessings:

1) Bridgette survived.

2) My Grandma had a good life.

3) I can't believe the outpouring of donations to The "B" Tree - money, time, toys, handmade items, babysitting Bridgette, helping with transportation... you people are amazing. We even had a friend leave us a surprise sack of snacks at our booth.

4) The overwhelming sense of Christmas Spirit at Festival of Trees; SO many people putting in so much time to make it a success.

5) Listening to the stories of other families around us as they set up their trees. Life is so precious. And death, being part of life's experience, is precious too.

Having never done this before, I wasn't sure how coordinated our tree would look, but after several iterations on the tree-topper, I think The "B" Tree turned out lovely.

The gorgeous tree skirt, matching blanket, and walnut bench were so filled up with toys you could barely see them, but I know whoever wins the auction will enjoy them immensely. My biggest fear now is that it won't sell... but I hope it does!!!

I can't take Bridgette to see "her" tree until Saturday, December 5th. So, if anyone wants to join us, please let us know! I'd love to go with friends.

However, don't feel compelled to wait. The public viewing of the trees, gingerbread houses, small trees, wreaths, quilts, etc., is from Wednesday to Saturday.

You have to buy a ticket to get in (it's WORTH IT), but keep in mind, all proceeds go to Primary Children's Medical Center.

Festival of Trees is at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy. Our tree is on the south side of aisle "H" (as in "H" for "Hoose.")

For those who can't make it this year (but if you can ever, ever go, you should,) here are some photos.

Caption: A 9' x 7' space, Heidi, brother Jon, an empty tree, and a whole lot of boxes and bags.

Highly unposed.

Slightly more posed, but she really is working on the lovely tree-topper.

Thank you so much for coming to help, Heidi and Jon!!!
(And Heidi's unborn child who had no choice.)

The "B" Tree and The "B" Toys

At the end of the day, most people wandering down the aisles stopped to look at our tree.

One kind couple was privately chatting about how beautiful it was when I came up behind them and said, "That's my baby." The woman smiled and said it was so well-coordinated and laid out. I looked a little confused which made her look a little confused, and then she exclaimed, "Oh! That's your baby!"

Already getting lots of attention from the kids...

...because kids really like toys.

There are an equal number of trees when you pivot 180 degrees and look behind me in this shot. (Actually, at aisle "H" there are probably tons more behind me.) And the gingerbread houses! One was a stunning castle as tall as I am.

You can see a smidgen of the tree skirt here (thanks, Jennie!), & the paintings of bugs made by my young friend, Brandon.

By far the most time-consuming job for me was making these sparkly words. It all started with a significant CriCut effort (thanks, Shanna!) and ended with layer on layer of glue, spray paint, paper, fiberglass and glitter.

Look. It sparkles.

Another angle.

Yet another angle.

When I came up with the "B" words for the tree, like "Breathtaking," all I had to do was think of Bridgette. My favorite one (unpictured) is "Brave." If Bridgette's name hadn't been Bridgette, I think it would have been Brave.

You can see part of the matching blanket (thanks, Lisa & co.!) and the bench here.

Also pictured, literally, are baby Bridgette and her surgeon, Dr. Richard Black.

Ha! I write poetry. (Dr. Seuss... Dr. Hoose... same thing?)

Child's-eye view.

My sister-in-law, Julianne, down in Texas made a beautiful blue baby blanket that, sadly, didn't arrive in time for set-up day. Rest assured, the bidder will receive it, and it will be featured in a future post.

Thank you to EVERYONE who contributed in any way, large or small. It's all large to me. You've helped infuse Christmas love and joy in a way the Scrooge inside me doesn't usually experience.

At a time of sensitive feelings for my wonderful Grandma and memories of miracles surrounding my darling daughter, I couldn't have spent yesterday doing anything better.


Heidi said...

I really enjoyed helping; thanks for the opportunity! My tree at home looks so unbelievably bare now! I just might have to take a cue from Festival of Trees. :)

Tammy and Alvin said...

Wow is all I can say! My eyes were watering by the end of the post. Wonderful job! What an expression of love!

Smith Family said...

I totally have tears in my eyes! What an incredible event! Everything looks amazing!

Angela said...

This tree is beautiful in everyway.

Paul said...

It looks just BEAUTIFUL!!!! You guys did a wonderful job!! Have a good trip tomorrow Kelly - you're in our thoughts and prayers. Our love to you and your family.

Paul and Brenda

Tiffany W. said...

sounds like it was an amazing experience... everything was gorgeous. now my question is... will you come and decorate my tree for Christmas? I just decorated mine tonight... and it is looking pretty lame after seeing those photos!!

Aria said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother. You are in my thoughts and prayers, Kelly.

What a beautiful tree - it just looks awesome! I'm so glad that you all had so much support!

HeatherH said...

The tree is just beautiful! You did such an amazing job - very proud. :)

April said...

Oh your tree is stunning! I love it! What a wonderful service!