Contemplating this post and everything that I want to say, I find I am daunted with the task of recognizing everyone who has responded in material ways. Our community has been amazing, overwhelming at times. When we start to feel guilty or any of other those other unhelpful feelings about what we've received we remind each other that when the chaos and immediate crisis is past, we will give back. We will pass on this generosity to the next family who's lives get turned upside down by a diagnosis that is made of nightmares.
While it feels like we've been living this for a lifetime, the reality is that we are only 6 months in. Everything that has happened and all that we have learned in 6 months, it's no less than incredible. While I could fill paragraphs with lists of names and gestures that have made a significant impact on us in these 6 months, this post is dedicated to those strangers in NYC who responded to Sophi's sparkle.
When we first arrived we knew that we only had a few days with Sophi feeling good before she had to have scans, major surgery, and one more round of chemotherapy, so we took FULL advantage of those days. One of our first stops was the Disney store in Times Square.
It was busy. People everywhere. It was hard to shop and Sophi was a bit overwhelmed, so I picked her up in order to comfort us both and help her see the fun stuff! I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to find a woman who had a small bag of things she had just purchased. She said that she had watched us while she was in line and she wanted Sophi to have something. She dug into the bag and pulled out a blind bag and gave it to Sophi. We didn't know quite what to say other than, THANK YOU! As the woman walked away, Sophi asked, "why did she give us this?" I told her that it was her sparkle is so bright! We had no idea what other kindness her sparkle would attract.
At the American Girl Doll store on Madison Ave she was in heaven. It's a big store and she had to walk around to look at everything in the store, making a mental list of the things she was interested in and how much she had in gift cards (a HUGE shout out to those who made this shopping spree so much fun for her). She had a pretty good plan after an hour of browsing and we went to lunch at the cafe with her American Girl Doll at the restaurant on the 3rd floor. It was a blast, memories to last a lifetime of jokes, laughter, cake, and crowns. After lunch it was time to get serious about shopping, but then we were stopped by a family who had been sitting behind us at lunch and they gave Sophi a $75 gift card because of her sparkle, and they had just lost their father to cancer. They told her to have fun and to keep fighting hard. You should have seen all of our faces. We were shocked, and moved, and so very grateful. Sophi knew exactly what she was going to spend that $75 on. She went straight to the outfits that are in big girl sizes with matching doll size dresses and picked out a beautiful outfit! Once in line, another family in front of us asked if they could buy her one of the MANY accessories she had picked out. Sophi looked at me and said, "I must be shining BRIGHT today!"
Yes my beautiful daughter. You radiate. You sparkle. You shine. You inspire others to be Sophi Strong. You are amazing and I love you to the moon and back. I love you so much it hurts sometimes. I love you with a depth that is unimaginable and I am so proud of you for fighting this monster, pushing your mind and body to be better. I hope you feel in your core how much love is being sent to you by those close to you and by strangers who are urging your mind, body, and spirit to shine!