Basically we just experienced one of the coolest things i have ever witnessed in my whole entire life.
We flew to the North Pole - it is appx a 90 minute flight from CLE (from take off to landing).
The flight includes elves that carol, delicious Mac n Cheese, Chicken Fingers and Mrs Claus' cookies.
ALL of the kids were amazing. Not one little was crying. For real. Laughing with nervousness, screaming with excitement, quiet with stewing anticipation. Incredible.
You are NOT allowed to have your windows open upon landing simply because Santa demands privacy and we need to keep his secrets to preserve Christmas. Everyone obeyed.
The flight landed. Everyone cheered and screamed. No one pushed, no one shoved - no one rushed everyone in the plane aisle To get out first - everyone was in it together to walk out to see what the North Pole was like...
We exited at the gate - cold air greeted us - icicle lights strung, elves cheering and we walked out to a tunnel of cheers, clapping, smiles all on princesses, super heroes, mascots from Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns, elves and it was incredible.
(This is where I am sure I didn't breathe for at least 2 minutes. Tears melted down my face as I watched the bewilderment and sheer shock on Harpers face. Russ carrying the warrior behind me - Brodie was basking in all of his glory clueless and amazed).
We proceeded through the tunnel in discovery mode and (exited into a Gate remodeled to be the NP) - explored to see what the North Pole entailed - games, crafts, food, photo booths, santas workshop, santas & mrs claus photo station, stockings hung on the wall with care for each little child who was there, piles of presents for each little kid, carolers, face painters, balloon makers - you name it.
Singing, laughing, playing, running, coloring, staring, eating, smiling, dancing, waiting, watching - no crying (I am not kidding - none).
From station to station - character to character - dreams were made, memories created all laced with a sweetness that I have never experienced.
As meltdowns began to ensue one by one families excused themselves and disappeared into the night...
In order to begin your journey home - you were sprinkled with fairy dust that transported you back to the airport.
17 families from Cleveland were selected and invited to go on this amazing journey. All with medical journeys and stories from different medical institutes. But tonight they just got to enjoy life - wheelchairs, oxygen, walkers, medicine, NG Tubes all aside - we were all there for the magic.
It was magical.
I cant tell you how overwhelming these experiences are for me. There are times where I often feel we are not deserving and there are others who should be in our place... There are times where I do feel that our fight is worthy of celebrations... There are times where I cant explain how I feel because it is so surreal... There are times when there are so many emotions that I am going through that I don't know what to call what I am feeling.
Please support charities, please support good, please help things like this happen.
@united - THANK YOU for an amazing experience. Thank you for the time, coordination, effort and labor of love you put together.
Magic has forever been imprinted on these families and on ours - the bewilderment, amazement, excitement and incredulous experience was simply magical.
On the way home Harper asked when we get to go back to the north Pole again - I laughed and said - this was a once in a lifetime opportunity...
Later as we were saying prayers and she was drifting off to sleep she looked at me with glazed eyes and said - "Mama tonight was so special... But the people there tonight were super special. Santa is pretty lucky to know them all."
All of us tonight have gratitude in different forms, come from different walks of life, have journeys that we are forging the way for - but tonight we were just visitors to a very merry place.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.