Monday, September 19, 2011

We Love the Zoo. How About You?

A few months back Matt and I got a very exciting piece of mail delivered to our house.  I opened the mailbox to see a medium sized envelope resting inside with our names carefully handwritten on the front.   I'm a total sucker for mail and could hardly wait to get inside and see what it was.  Once inside, I tore the envelope open and as I slid the enclosed papers out, a HUGE smile immediately came over my face. 

What was it you ask?

Finalized adoption papers for the 2nd cutest bear you ever did see!
(our Charley Bear, of course, being the front-runner in the cute race)

After Charlotte earned her wings some of my family had the AWESOME idea to make a donation to the bear family at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha.  How great of an idea is that!?  A little family of brown Sun bears to help us remember our Charley Bear.  I love it!  The envelope that they sent us had an official certificate along with a picture of one of the members of the bear family.  The picture is packed away because of the move or I would share it with you all! I'm smiling just thinking about it.  Thank you Schmitz's, Albers and Demmans! Everyone should totally stop by and visit the bears next time you are at the zoo...better yet, snap a picture of your little ones in front of the bears and send it my direction!  One of my high school classmates actually did this, and I thought it was such a great reminder of how many people Charlotte's story has touched.  

And while you are at the zoo there is ANOTHER Charlotte memorial that you can stop by to see!  When we first found out about Charlotte's heart Matt and I both felt very scared and very alone.  I immediately started looking online for people who might have the slightest clue of what we were going through.  Lucky for me, I found an incredible woman named Jill (tears).  She was a total stranger, but we had so much in common...first and foremost the was the fact that her daughter was living with a very similar heart defect.

Whether she knows it or not, from the minute Jill answered my first email I knew that she was going to be one of my most important resources and friends through this whole journey.  It was such a blessing to find someone that could honestly say "I GET IT."  She quickly became someone that I could go to with questions, if I needed encouragement, to vent, or even just to share the the smallest of victories.  In the 20 months that we have known each other, we have only been face-to-face a handful of times, but we always keep in touch.  Some of my favorite text messages are pictures and updates on how her little heart warrior is doing!

So anyway, I got a little off topic there, but I wanted to give you a little background on my relationship with the family responsible for this...

There is a butterfly exhibit at the Omaha zoo and apparently you can make a donation and have a butterfly made!  My cousin sent me this picture of Miss Charlotte's butterfly --I love the way that the sun is shining on its wing.  For those of you who are in the area and want to check it out, I'm told that it is located in the garden below the main butterfly exhibit.  This might give you a better idea of what to look for...

Butterflies have become a big deal to me.  I see them everywhere I go.  Everywhere.  They make my heart smile even on the worst days and remind me that little Charlotte is always hovering near.  Thank you Jill, Brent and Talia...this was absolutely perfect.

I know that Charlotte would have loved to go to the zoo to see all of the animals.  We may not have gotten the opportunity to take her there, but that doesn't mean that it can't be a place full of memories!

1 comment:

  1. We LOVE the Omaha Zoo! We've been there twice with the boys and are looking forward to going back someday. Will have to look for Charley's butterfly next time!! How beautiful!!