Today was the March of Dimes March for Babies. We were Team March with the Muppets. (Self-explanatory – the five mile walk was to take place alongside the Million Dollar Miracle Muppets.)
Registration was at 8 a.m. so GrampaStavo and GrammaJ arrived yesterday afternoon. (Yes, they drove approximately 400 miles to walk five – they’re dedicated grandparents.) There are jokes aplenty about how children fall out of favor with their parents when grandchildren arrive. Turns out, these are not jokes. When they arrived, GrampaStavo pushed right past me – arms outstretched – grabbing for Search. And hello to you too, Dad…
It was absolutely frigid this morning. (Admittedly, California freezing – but seriously, there was hail.) We bundled up the muppets in hats, jackets, pants and blankets, to the point where they actually looked like muppet characters.
The crappy weather was a small price to pay for the hell the muppets went through last year. And this year, they were well enough to regulate their own temperature as we circled Christmas Hill Park over and over and over.
The March of Dimes March for Babies raises money in support of programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies. And it funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten our babies (like being diagnosed as “tiny”). These walks have been taking place since 1970 and have raised an incredible $2 billion to date. I am pleased to share that Team March with the Muppets raised over $1,000 for the 2011 March.
Our initial goal was $270? Compared to the overall success, this seems like a rather trivial amount (especially considering it’s in honor of the million dollar miracle muppets). But as I mentioned when we first announced this walk, I designated the amount as a symbol of our honorees – born at 27 weeks gestation.
We set off behind the double stroller for the six laps around the park that would equal our five-mile destination. About 20 yards into the first lap, GrampaStavo took over the stroller and went charging ahead. Standing behind his grandsons with pride, and proudly sporting my diaper bag backpack, GrampaStavo embodied the March of Dimes mission.
After six laps, we crossed the finish line. GrampaStavo was well on his way through another lap. “One more for America!” And one more for all the little ones still too sick to walk with us this cold May morning.
The muppets were positively fascinated by the balloons. Little did they know, they were all hung in their honor. As the participants gathered at the finish line, the shirt contest began. Each team was invited to parade their team costume across the stage.
These are our muppets. Search and Destroy were born at 27 weeks. Today they are happy and healthy as they prepare to celebrate their first birthday. They would not be here without the tremendous advances in recent medical care – all in part supported by March of Dimes donations. In honor of our cause, hug a muppet! We came in third place. There was a fancy plaque and everything. (Out of four, but hey, who can say no to the muppets?)
After an exhausting day of pampering and cuddles, the muppets are sound asleep. I sat down with a smile, thankful for every muppet-filled minute. Thank you to everyone who supported us this year – we’re aiming to make the March with the Muppets an annual event.
To close out the day, I received word that a new friend of the muppets had arrived. We kicked off our day in honor of preemies, walking for a day when every baby will be born healthy. We close our eyes tonight, still smiling in celebration of the birth of a healthy baby boy.
Welcome to the world Maxwell Carter Harrison!