The Secret Mission of Gratitude

1901879_4037357788033_2012436466_n(This is written as a response to a post on facebook- for those who cannot see it, my aunt was given a very special gift on the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer.)

The events leading up to Teresa’s Special Gift…

The Backstory…

Technically, my aunt and uncle are my mother’s cousins. They attended my mom’s wedding and were my eldest brother’s godparents. In a way, they have become my godparents too, as they have been completely supportive of my son and I. I seriously could go on and on about their compassion in action, not just towards my son and I, but towards many others, as well.

Last summer and over the past year, when my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer, my aunt and uncle frequently watched my son and lavished their love upon us. I had spent most of my life, since I was 14, estranged from my mother. My aunt and uncle  extended their hearts to me, in such a way, that my own heart was refueled to sustain the journey of reconnecting with my mom;  they are also  an extension of my grandmother and it feels like they have always been in my life. When my mother passed away in January; my aunt surprised me with a beautiful planter of an angel; a card was attached and it listed all my cousin’s names-this gift spoke volumes of their love and I had a very grateful heart.

Finally, the story…

I knew I had to do something very special for my aunt when I found out that she was five years cancer free and prepared to go on the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer. I got this crazy idea to ask a former buckeye to give her a gift on my behalf, so I reached out to a former player; he was agreeable and even enthusiastic about the idea. I messaged him on Facebook, because I saw that my aunt was “friends” with him. I just asked him if he would be willing to give my aunt a gift on the cruise; at one point, I asked him if he was kidding with me, but he replied that he really wanted to help.  So, I began thinking about a gift; I knew one of my aunt’s favorite activities on the cruise was getting her photograph taken with the players and then returning the following year for their autographs, so I decided on a photo album!

I found a company on Etsy, who happened to be in close proximity to Columbus. I asked them if they could engrave something special for my aunt, to celebrate being cancer free and also, to celebrate her love for the Buckeyes. And oh, yeah, I told them that I needed it quickly-like in a week! I only had so many days to get the gift and actually give it to the football player before they left for the cruise.

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I got an amazing response; the owner and his team agreed to make the album  and they sent me a proof;  I was immediately awestruck by their beautiful engraving, as well as, their gracious accommodation on a very short deadline. They called and asked me if I wanted to write a personal message to be engraved on the inside of the album; I told them I wanted to think about it ( because I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to spend); on  the same day, they sent me an email stating that the owner wanted to give the album for free!!!!!! Therefore,  I was able to write a very personal message for my aunt and uncle…

And so, I picked up the album on Valentine’s Day and got lost ( I never quite know where I am going-LOL!), but I finally found the place and  made sure to give the owner a hug! I still can’t believe they donated the album! It was so beautiful ; the engraving was beyond perfection-I was so very thankful for their generous part in this surprise!  They didn’t even have the name of their business on the box or album; they were “anonymous” but I’m letting you know that they are http://www.ryderengraving.com.

And next, the football player agreed to meet me in Polaris, but then he said something about 270 and 23 and well, to make a long story, short, I either got lost or misheard him, but he called and agreed to meet me at a gas station near his house. When  I handed him the box, he said, “You do know that there are 2500 people on the cruise?” And so I gave him a picture of my aunt; as soon as he saw her picture, he said, “I know her, she loves to give a lot of hugs.” We had a good laugh! I am so glad that Dimitrious Stanley agreed to participate in this secret mission of gratitude!

I learned from my aunt, that he gave her the album on the last night of the cruise! I am so glad that the moment was captured! She was very surprised, and she got three more hugs!

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