So, Saturday was the 13th Annual House of Hope Gala in Lexington, MO. I have actually been to all 13 and am only one of a handful of people who can say that. We woke up Saturday morning to worsening weather conditions. The snow that was supposed to have come over night didn’t but now we were dealing with the possibility of freezing rain.
My Mom is one of the original board members of House of Hope. She’s dedicated a significant part of her time the past 13 years to this organization. She also organizes a “Chocolate Challenge” at the gala every year. Saturday was also the 7th anniversary of my dad’s passing. The only gala she missed was 7 years ago… it was five days before dad died.
The morning became a flurry of phone calls between my mom, aunt & uncle and I. Do we go out there (40 mile trip to mom’s ) or stay. My first conversation I had with Mom she said to stay home, it’s not worth it. I told her we’d see. The second conversation I had with her, her voice cracked one too many times and she said she just wasn’t into it this year. I talked to Jim and we agreed if we got on the road by noon we’d make it to her ok and then decide if we could go on to the gala but at least we’d be with her.
I called her back to tell her we’d be on the road in the hour (still had to pack and get Harley to the kennel). She started to protest and I finally told her that the day was as hard for me as it was for her and she needed me there. She started crying and said yes, come! We stopped on our way out there at the BBQ I grew up going to and got some food. I could tell when she opened the door she was really glad we were there.
Robert was on fire Saturday afternoon. He went above and beyond in the cute department entertaining his grandma. I love watching her watching him.
About 2 we decided we’d make it to the Gala. Mom had someone picking her up at 4:30 and we would follow at 5:30 after our sitter got there (Jessica — I used to baby sit her!) Mom wasn’t super into the gala and Jim and I wound up running the chocolate challenge for the rush. I generally know a good amount of the people at the gala… after all I’ve been to all of them and they’re friends with my Mom, etc. The really cool part of the evening started with a woman coming up to me. She looked at me and said, “You’re Maribeth’s daughter, aren’t you? I love your mother.” She went on to tell me how much my mother has touched her life and how highly she speaks of me and how much she loves Tank and did I have a picture. The conversation went on for over 15 minutes. And she was just the first of about 7 people I didn’t know coming up and telling me similar things. And the funny thing is, Mom doesn’t see it at all… she thinks these people are crazy for thinking she’s anything special.
The funny part of the evening was the Chocolate Basket drawing. The chocolate challenge works like this…. people bring in their best chocolate dessert to be entered into a contest. The judges each get a small sample of each. Everyone else can pay $3.00 and get a plate that they can fill up. It serves two purposes, it brings in extra money and it eliminates the need for a dessert course in the meal. Mom also usually does some sort of raffle. This year it was a huge tray filled with chocolate goodies. Two entries for $5.00. I won it! Thank goodness Mom didn’t actually draw the name, she had a friend do it. We got some good natured ribbing about the contest being fixed.
Robert had a little bit of a rough night. He hadn’t napped all day and hadn’t really eaten well. He wound up throwing up about 1am which led to a room switch for us. Apparently he got up this morning and helped himself to some of my nieces markers (we were in her room). I woke up to my Mom laughing at his antics. She fixed him French Toast for breakfast. He toddled around the house and showed off until it was time to leave. Unfortunately this afternoon he got sick again and has a fever… no school for him tomorrow. I have meetings and deadlines the next two days so Daddy will be staying home with him.
Rewinding to Friday night… Robert found a pair of Jim’s safety glasses and thoroughly entertained himself (and us) for over 30 minutes.