Monday, October 28, 2013

Gary's Ride for Bella

What a success!! There were at least 63 bikers that came and registered and rode for Bella's Camp Fund. Here are how the events of the day played out...

All 5 of us showed up at the American Legion at 9:45 am. Bella and I sat at the registration table. She was a little celebrity. It was so cute, she sat there so big and shook hands with complete strangers. She thanked them for riding. She used her manners and was on her best behavior all day long. I am so proud that she does in fact listen to the things we tell her. Manners are important and on Saturday, it showed that she knew that. We helped with the raffle ticket purchases and kind of did a meet and greet with every one that came in.

Gary walked in the door of the hall and Grayson our shy little 2 year old ran up to him and hugged his leg. Bella calls him Grandpa Gary and she calls Kathy, Grandma Kathy. It's so adorable. We are the parents that want our kids to be able to love anyone they want. It's clear that they both love Gary and Kathy. They both feel loved and special to Gary and Kathy. Many of Gary's family members were there to help too. John, Sue, Kelly and Madison were close by all day.

Some riders left the Legion at 11 and others left later. Ryan took all three kids home for naps and I stuck around. I wanted to be as involved as I possibly could. I wanted to be able to personally thank those that I encountered. It's important to me that they understand how much our family appreciates their support. Riders started returning around 1:30pm. They were meeting and mingled with each other, enjoying food and drinks. I left around 4 to come home and help load up the troops to come back.

I walked in our front door and all three kids were in the living room to greet me. Bella said "I'm ready to go back there now mom and see my bikers". She was putting her shoes on and ready to race out of the door. It was clear that she really enjoyed being there and being part of the event.

We arrived back around 6pm. We pulled in and Bella said "Oh there are MY bikers" as if they all belonged to her. It made Ryan and I both laugh. We went in and Bella sat up shop at the raffle table like before. She shook hands with people, she hugged complete strangers, she smiled and used good manners to thank them for coming. I sat with her. Ryan and the boys mingled around.

At 7, Bella helped with the raffle. I announced the winners as she pulled the numbers. After all was said and done, I wanted to thank everyone for coming. I fought the tears, it was overwhelming. It was hard to hold it together to thank the many people that shared their day and a little piece of their life with us. I hoped they felt how grateful our family was to have them there. At the end of the night, Bella was sitting on Gary's lap asking him to show her how his prosthetic worked. He was so patient, showing her and answering her questions. It was a perfect end to an incredible day.

Just in case someone missed it, I'm hoping they are blog readers.

Gary and Kathy, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you! Thank you doesn't seem to be enough for all that you have done for our family. I truly feel like you will be a part of our lives and Bella's journey through life for the years to come. Our family feels a connection to you for not only for what you all have done for us, but for your kindness, your time, your sincerity in welcoming us to your lives.

To everyone that shared Saturday with us,
Thank you for spending your day to help our sweet baby girl. I know at 4 years old she can't fully understand why you all were there. What she did understand was that you were there to help her get to camp, you treated her so kindly, you shook her hand, you hugged her, you giggled with her. You treated her like she was on a pedestal. She felt loved and she made that clear to us as her parents, she called you "my bikers". Your leather jackets, your patches, your silly masks, your chaps, your tattoos... none of those phased her. We are happy to know that we are teaching our little people not to judge a book by it's cover. You all have hearts of gold and my children were able to see that on Saturday, that shined bright like the sun. The goodness that you showed us was tremendous. We appreciate all of your support. It was an honor to spend the day with each of you. You have touched our lives in a way that you may never fully realize. I enjoyed listening to your biker banter, it brought back many happy memories of times I spent with my dad and all of his Harley riding friends. It was something I haven't felt since he passed away 2 years ago. I think it brought back a piece of me that I had pushed aside since his death, so thank you for that as well. I encourage you to continue to check back here or to reach out to me via email. I want you to all see the difference that you have made in our Bella's life. She came home and said she had a bunch of new "buddies". We'll be booking our flights soon thanks to all of your kindness and support.

Much love from our family to all of yours!

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