As many of you know, this past Sunday was a HUGE day for The Preble Road Crew because we took part in two very important charities. It was an awesome day that left all three of us feeling completely exhausted, but also excited at the fact that we got to show our support. Fear not, I took lots of pictures, but because there are so many, I decided to cut the post about that day into two posts to make it easier to read.
First, the Lupus walk.
Mom picked Zoey and I up at our house in the wee hours of the morning (and by wee, I mean eight o’clock) and our first stop was the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru because I hadn’t planned very well and apparently thought it was okay to LIVE LIKE SAVAGES because we had run out of coffee at our house the day before. Then it was off to get breakfast up the road at Burger King (seriously, Dunkin Donuts should not make breakfast sandwiches). Zoey, in her carseat in the backseat, thought it was the BEST DAY EVER because she got to eat hash browns and occasional bites from Mommy’s bacon croissant.
Then it was off to Carousel mall to register for the walk. As I’ve mentioned before, this is our fourth year walking in support of my mom, who is currently in remission from Lupus. I still remember the day she found out about her diagnosis. I remember the red marks on her skin and weight gain because of the medicine she had to take. She lost a lot of her hair and I remember going with her to a lady’s house to look at wigs that the lady makes for Lupus and Cancer victims. I remember how Lupus made her feel physically and emotionally.
Now, her hair has grown back and she’s lost the weight she gained from the steroids. She still has to wear a hat when she’s out in the sun for long periods of time and occasionally, she has what are referred to as ‘flair-ups’, which just is an easy way of saying that even though Mom is in remission, Lupus will still rear its ugly head once in a while just to let you know it’s still around.
When my mom discovered that a walk was held every year at Carousel mall to raise awareness and money for Lupus research, we jumped at the chance to go. To support Mom because I had seen what this disease had done to her and, really, is there anything more cathartic for a survivor than being around others afflicted with the same illness? So I went and I walked.
The following year when I was pregnant with Zoey, I went and I walked (okay, so I didn’t do all four laps because my stomach was HUGE and I couldn’t breath and it felt like I had two watermelons for feet).
Didn’t I look wonderful? The stickers say ‘I am walking for…’. The one on my chest says that I am walking for my Aunt Darleen. The one on my belly says that baby Zoey was walking (er, riding) for her Grandma Hoose.
And the year after that, I took Zoey with me to her first Lupus walk.
And this year, we’re back again to support my mom.
We got there kind of early, which meant we had tons of time to get registered, admire the cool purple t-shirt we got for participating and check out the raffle baskets. The people running the event had free water, coffee, milk and snacks for walkers. Zoey liked the free mini Oreos:
While we waited for the walk to begin, we were visited by a friendly bear from Build A Bear Workshop:
Zoey was okay with the bear at first–as long as he kept his distance. She just stared at him while he waved at her. When he knelt down on the floor and reached out a paw for her to touch, she turned away and put her arms out for me. I totally understand. I’ve never been a fan of people in costumes, either.
The bear’s handler (the employee that walks with the person in the bear suit to make sure they don’t run into walls and stuff) kept saying that she was worried they were going to traumatized Zoey and she’d end talking to Oprah someday about the one time at the mall with the bear… I said it was fine until Zoey reached for me and that was pretty much when we said goodbye to the bear.
But Zoey couldn’t help but turn back to watch the bear while he was walking away:
The walk consisted of four laps around the second floor of Carousel mall. I pushed Zoey in her stroller and chatted with my mom while we moved. Halfway through each lap, we were each given a ticket for an additional raffle (we both lost). Zoey did really well being in the stroller for such a long time. Around the third lap she started getting a bit antsy, so we gave her some Fruit Loops I had brought in a baggie and her sipper cup of juice and that settled her down until right around the end of the last lap.
When we got back to the food court, my mom kept an eye on all of our tickets for the raffles while I took Zoey out of her stroller (because she made it clear she had had enough of sitting in it) and followed her around while she played with the balloon I had been given when I registered that morning.
Then she saw some other little kids playing with their balloons and even though I encouraged her to play with them, she was a little shy (which just made my heart melt):
After a couple of speeches and the raffles, the event came to a close. Greg’s sister, Kim, and her daughter, Lisa, met us at the food court to take Zoey home with them while I went to the St. Baldricks event with Greg. Out in the parking lot, Mom switched Zoey’s carseat from her van to Kim’s van while I filled Lisa in on what snacks I had packed in Zoey’s diaper bag.
Then I said goodbye to my little girl, who acted like it was no big deal (and I had been stressing for a couple of days prior to the walk about her freaking out when she realized I wasn’t going with them), and Kim, Lisa and Zoey headed back into the mall while Mom and I made our way south towards Nedrow to meet Greg.
Up next: pictures from the St. Baldricks event