It has been an intense nine months. Nine months to the day today, Meres was diagnoses with retinoblastoma. It was a shocking diagnosis. Many repercussions, some of which we have yet to realize.
But, thankfully, it has also been nine months of many, many answers to prayer.
-three clear MRIs
-six chemo treatments successfully completed
-no hereditary retinoblastoma
-a gorgeous new prosthetic eye
-a port in and a port removed
So many people have walked this road with us, supporting us with their prayers, meals, words of encouragement, cards, gifts, monetary gifts, child care, hugs, and more. People have cried with us, and laughed with us. People have been there for our kids in ways that we couldn't be, in that we are just finite human beings. Organizations have chipped in with dinners, support groups, Christmas gifts, parties, a wish trip, and even a gorgeous cake.
We felt the need to celebrate where we've been this year. To celebrate the healing. To tangibly thank the friends and family who have stood shoulder to shoulder with us.
So, we threw a HUGE party last Saturday, one month after Meres' port had been removed.
We invited hundreds of people. And hundreds of people came. (though probably less than half the hundreds that had been invited. Whew!) The party itself was one more labor of love on the part of so many of those who have been here this past year.
My sister-in-law, Brenda, came up with the theme. (And she also kept the food replenished so I could mingle with our guests.) I was stuck on what food to serve, and she suggested serving Meres' favorite foods. That got my wheels turning. The theme of the party became Meres' favorite things. Her favorite snacks, candy, desserts, colors.
My friend, Bethany, graciously agreed to do the decorations, even though she had a prior commitment for that day. She found ideas, and then she and Elsie spent an afternoon painting and making flowers. She took time late on Friday to help set up, which is quite the sacrifice-especially for a tired, pregnant mom.
My friends, Rich and Linda, drove up from Chicago, and helped decorate Friday night, finish food prep on Saturday, host and clean up.
My friends, Ann, Amber (also a sister-in-law. I'm doubly blessed in this relationship.), Mary Lou, Katie, and Mary, all made batches of Spice Cake cupcakes. Believe me, that saved me tons of time.
My sister in law, Anna, lent me her corn hole game, which the kids loved. It was a cold and rainy day, and it gave the younger set something to do. She and my brother in law, Ian, also helped clean up after the party.
My friends, Hannah and Mary, both leant me serving pieces and gave good advice as I talked numbers and technicalities.
So many people, so much love, so much generous giving of time and talents. It is very humbling to be on the receiving end of that.
I had the idea for this banner, and through hook and crook, it turned out pretty well-for a crafty thing that I've attempted. I also made the mobile type thing that you can kind of see hanging next to the fire hydrant in this photo. Each card listed an organization that has benefited our family this year. BMV helped me with the logos on each card.
This is Debra. She is a baker, and also volunteers her time and talents to create magnificent cakes for kids with life threatening diseases. She totally planned and executed this fantastic compilation of sugar and flour and eggs. Isn't it amazing!!! What a gift!
Every part of the cake was edible. And it was delicious!
Favorite snacks and desserts included gouda cheese, pretzels, pita chips, fresh veggies, hummus, brownies, grapes, mini peanut butter pies, and the spice cake cupcakes.
I also had almost 20 pounds of candy-gummy bears, jelly bellies, and M&Ms. I took home maybe a pound of M&Ms. The candy was a big hit!
I made this timeline with notable dates from this past year, interspersed with photos of Meredith from the past year. What a testimony to the journey, and the God who faithfully carried us through.
I saw this dum-dum sucker bouquet thing on Pinterest. I made that for the guest book table. The kids loved that too. You can kind of see it in this photo.
Once cancer strikes, it is a part of your life forever. But, we are thankful to have reached the end of active treatment, with a decent prognosis. Meredith is currently cancer free, and we pray that she stays that way forever and ever.
And, Meredith, well, she partied like a princess. Which makes everyone smile.