Hope4Peyton header image

Just a day

This morning Peyton and I got picked up by a lovely lady named Tammy, driving a gorgeous white Mercedes, and bearing two dozen beautiful pink and yellow roses. She was our ride to the Day of Pampering put on by Saks and Mercedes Benz to celebrate the models of the upcoming Fashion Funds the Cure event put on to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

The fashion show is March 11, but today was a day all about the glories of being a girl. We got to Saks at 11 AM and we were met by 5 of our friends: Presley Dickson, Laura Watkins, Brooke Martin, Sesly Evers and Adelaine Powell and their mothers. The girls all got manicures, the girls who had enough hair got their hair fluffed and styled, there was a makeup session for both mom and daughter and then the girls got to hit the racks and choose whatever they wanted from the entire girl’s department. Their choices are what they will be wearing for the fashion show.

I can’t explain how much fun we had. Peyton was just glowing all morning, she ran from station to station, enjoying every minute of pampering. She had the manicurist (sorry, I chose not to step in and do her nails myself) paint her nails three different colors! When the hair stylist asked if she wanted her hair trimmed she gave her a look that said louder than words “You are not TOUCHING my hair with those scissors, lady!” So, we just fluffed it and went on our way. Peyton primped and glammed it up in the makeup room, telling the girl “I think I need MORE lip gloss, and a little more color on my eyes.” They gladly accommodated.

We went into the dressing room with 5 dresses. The first was too small and was quickly ditched. The second one was the ONE and the others were discarded without a second glance. I guess when you know, you just know. When anyone would ask which dress Peyton had picked out, I would take them to the rack where they were holding the girls’ choices and told them to figure it out. It really wasn’t hard. All of the girls picked out beautiful dresses, they are all going to looks fantastic, but of all the dresses, only one had flowers all over the sleeves and neckline, only one had three skirt layers with the top being tulle with white flowers on the bottom….only one looked like a fairy princess prom dress….and that one belonged to Peyton. I guess for a kid who wears pink cowboy boots and a velvet Christmas dress to fish or a pink leopard leotard with rain boots to school, her choice was perfectly HER.

She’ll be wearing this sweet confection of a dress for the fashion show in March, and I don’t know who her escort down the runway will be just yet, but I’m sure she’ll manage to charm the pants off him. All proceeds of this amazing event will go to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation to further their efforts in researching the treatments and cures for pediatric cancers.

At the end of the day, we were surprised to walk into a room full of goodie bags, not just for the girls but for the mom’s as well. I don’t know about the other moms, but I know for me, just watching Peyton light up while getting her nails done…watching her twirl around in her princess dress…those were all the gift I would ever need.

Still, the bag was nice!

Peyton’s bag was full of what I like to think of as Rachael-taunting-fodder. She got crafts, jewelry, all sorts of lotions and perfumes and makeup, she got notepads and toys and then to top it off she got an IPod shuffle and the most beautiful DIAMOND necklace. Oh yeah, my baby girl got some bling. Pete told me that it was most definitely going to end up at the bottom of the toy box. I told him it wouldn’t because it was most definitely going on mommy! Actually, I’m going to put it away and she’ll get to wear it the night of the fashion show, but I want to make sure she has this beautiful token of this tremendous event for many years.

We ended the day with a group picture…6 girls with a combined age of 20 years old and between them they had almost 10 years of battling cancer. There were three with heads full of curls, there were two with short pixie cuts, and a solitary sweet bald head.

This was the toughest bunch of fashion models the world has ever seen. They could kick the crap out of the SI Swimsuit issue models.

There are a lot of upcoming pictures, I hope they don’t take so long to come up that you give up!

Preparing to head in and get pampered!

I wish MY nail salon was that nice. Maybe Saks will hire me,

THE dress!

Getting all made up

The “lip gloss lady”

Peyton and sweet Presley

Exact words “I got an IPod! Rachael will be so mad.” Huge accompanying smile.

It’s hard work to be the princess

The amazing girls! From the left: Peyton, Presley, Adelaine, Laura, Sesley and Brooke in the back!

The aftermath

As we were getting ready to leave, the second group of models was coming in, the teens and preteens. I’d bet that new Mercedes that drove us home that they spent a LOT longer trying on clothing than our girls did.

I left Saks worn out and just excited about all the fun we’d had. I was thinking about the Fashion Show and what it was about and how neat it was to be a part of it. But also thinking how sad it is that we ARE in it. I mean, for all the fun that the pampering day was, we were there because Peyton has cancer. I’d give it all up, every last free ticket, fun event, gift and blessing…if she’d never had to get sick in the first place. It’s never worth it.

I’m sitting there contemplating those thoughts and I saw that I had voicemail. I’d put my phone away, left is unanswered the whole time we were being pampered. This was Peyton’s day, everyone else could wait. I called Mary Ann, the director of the Children’s Cancer Center, to see what she had going on.

A part of me wishes that I’d never made that call.

There is no easy way to hear that a child has died. Whether it one that has been sick for so long and you know that it’s inevitable or it a complete shocker because the child was doing so well…there is no one better way to find out that a friend has lost their baby. It all SUCKS!

I found out that my friend Kara lost her daughter today. Delaney Potterbaum was a miracle child…if asked to point to a child that consistently beat the odds, proved that doctor’s can be so wrong, it would be Delaney. She had an Optic Glioma and she’d fought so bravely. Her tumor was actually dead, no longer growing and she was in the process of just being Delaney. After the doctors told her family to say goodbye to her after an ICU stint, she walked out of that hospital and continued to live her life. After they said that her eyesight was a thing of the past, it seemed to improve at every turn. Two months ago she drew me a picture that was nothing but scribbles and lines because she couldn’t see it, last Thursday night she ran to friends, handed them pictures she’d drawn all without someone guiding her.

Today she is gone. Delaney of the bigger than life personality, who owned a room when she walked it. Delaney who had the most wonderful sense of self, made the funniest jokes and could steal you heart so fast you didn’t realize it was gone. Delaney who loved to draw, loved to make crafts…even if it was the same craft over and over again…Delaney who was so loved by so many.

Oh I will miss you, sweet girl. I will miss your hugs and your smiles and your Ziploc bags full of strange snack mixes. I will miss hearing your funny phrases, your laughter inspiring commentary on the world.

Please keep the Potterbaum family in your prayers as they cope with the loss of their daughter. In talking to Kara today, she was able to tell me how much she looks forward to seeing Delaney in Heaven, free of cancer, perfect and whole and without the limitations her body had suffered for so long. My heart is broken, beyond broken for their loss, but I too am looking forward to the day I get to Heaven and see the sweet face of Delaney coming towards me, with a picture she’d drawn in one hand and a bag of snacks in the other.

Please take a second and go to Delaney’s site and give them some prayers and support.

Delaney Potterbaum 2/4/02-2/24/08

The day started with fun and laughter and ended in tears for me. But in truth, the whole day was about cancer. The bright, enduring hope and the devastating reality of loss. I know that when Peyton walks down that runway in that frothy pink dress, it will be about her celebrating her life, but it will also be about remembering the friends who’ve lost their battles. The ones who inspire us with their memories to keep working towards the goal of a cure, to keep raising that flag of awareness, to never give up hope that the next child with cancer won’t have to be missed and grieved for.

One last sweet thing I have to share today. My girl Peyton has one big heart. She has compassion that a 4 year old should never have. I was crying so hard in the car on the way back from Saks after hearing the news about Delaney, knowing that I shouldn’t do it in front of her, but completely unable to contain my sorrow. I woke her up from the snooze she was trying to take with the force my blubbering. She asked me what was wrong, I had to explain that another of her playmates had gone to Heaven, that God needed them there and we wouldn’t see her anymore. She looked so sad, she understood in her own way that this was a bad moment and that Delaney was going to be somehow gone from her life. She has to realize that because now and again she’ll ask my why our sweet friend Hannah doesn’t come back to the Center anymore, and I’ll have to explain that Hannah went to Heaven. So she knows that those friends that go to Heaven don’t come back to play with her anymore and that makes us all so sad.

Seeing my tears, she reached into the goodie bag that she’d gotten at Saks and pulled out the fairy princess candle holder that she fell in love with and handed it to me and said, “Mommy, I want you to have this, I want you to feel better now.”

That candle holder didn’t do much for me, but her love sure did a lot.

f.r.o.G…..fully relying on God, even when I’m sad, when I’m angry, when I’m frustrated and feel like it will never make sense….I’m still relying on God


4 Comments on “Just a day”

  1. #1 Marie
    on Feb 25th, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Gosh what shocking news about Delaney! I followed her site quite a while and the last post was so positive. Do you know what happened? It just seems so much worse when it was unexpected like that.

    On a more positive note, quietly let Rachael know that Peyton will most likely get bored with the Ipod quickly at her age, and that if Rachael bides her time it will soon be hers…

    on Feb 25th, 2008 at 7:43 am

    I am so very sorry about your friend, Delaney. I will keep her family, and yours, in my prayers.

  3. #3 gail
    on Feb 25th, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Anissa–You really have a wonderful eloquent TALENT for writing…I am a friend of Presley's…reading your tribute to Delaney was just a weepy event; contrasted so beautifully with your tale of the day of pampering. Bittersweet. I really enjoy all your messages and how much you post on others' board. Stay strong!

  4. #4 Penny Hawkins
    on Feb 25th, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Your day of pamering pictures were great. You looked marvelous – darling! (Can't wait till Peyton does her little turn on the cat walk)

    I am still very upset about Delaney…… at a loss for words.