Palm Beach, Florida, have you been? It is a stunning piece of paradise and this was to be the setting of the Inspire Smart Success Experience. I was going to attend this experience … a conference for wedding professionals…but not just any conference … OH NO! This was one that I have wanted to attend since they started and now Stacie Francombe was bringing it to my backyard! I was so excited about it and beyond excited that Savvylicious Sweets would be sponsoring the “Sweet Success Bakery”…seriously…this was cool! I have seen many photos of Stacie’s work and to say that she is awesome sounds childish because she takes her conferences to the next level…a level where she stands alone.
I made the tough decision to attend this conference. Tough? A dream conference with amazing speakers at the Eau Spa (former Ritz Carlton) in Palm Beach…Yes, tough. Any other week of the year I would have taken half a second to make the decision to attend. But this week…this particular week was going to fall on Savvy’s birthday. You know that cute little Warrior Princess that inspired this company. The one that works so darn hard to be able to celebrate a birthday…the one who has had many highs and lows since receiving her liver transplant….Savvy was going to turn 7. Being born with Biliary Atresia, we were not sure if she would turn 2 and now…my Warrior Princess was going to celebrate her 7th birthday! The thought of not going to her school to drop off Pinkalicious cupcakes with extra sprinkles on them and sitting in an excruciatingly loud cafeteria while she proudly told everyone she was 7 and it was her birthday. This was tough for this Mami’s heart…but I knew her Papi would be there with her. I made the decision to go with the promise from my husband that he would be bringing my Warrior Princess to see me in the evening. With that promise I headed out to Palm Beach with my sweets ready to soak up the knowledge the speakers had to offer. I was ready to network with some amazing attendees and I was ready to have a new experience. The experience I had was not one I was ready for … but one that I am so very thankful for.
Purple and Gold. Glitz and Glam. That is what the entire week was to be about. Absolutely stunning displays of what the best vendors in the wedding industry have to offer. But there is so much more to this experience…
On December 5, 2013, I woke up missing my Warrior Princess. I was in an hotel surrounded by amazing people but my heart was sitting in a first grade classroom celebrating her birthday. On this day, I listened to some wonderful speakers. Do you recognize this lovely lady? This is Jennifer Sbranti, founder of Hostess with the Mostess. Yes…you see why I would be excited?! Love her blog and the beautiful parties she features and after hearing her speak … you can’t help but fall in love with her either!
Then a man came on stage. I had spent some time with him the night before in the limo coming home from a fabulous dinner and this is where he shared a bit about a movie he had made…. Hmmm….sounded interesting…..but I had NO IDEA …. No idea that the man I made hold my camera a few days earlier … the one that had received a text that is video had arrived in his home ….. that his presentation on my daughter’s birthday would touch me in a way that would forever change my life. This man is Brett Culp. He created a documentary film called The Legends of the Knight. I listened and I cried.
Not a cute delicate cry that you see on commercials but you know the “Ugly Cry” that Oprah so famously talks about. I was sitting at the front row (my luck!!) when he showed a clip of his new film. A film on how Batman inspired 13 individuals to become super heros. As soon as I saw, the little boy with the Batman cape and his mom uttered the word leukemia….the “ugly Cry” began and there was no turning back. Then I saw for a brief second the Batmobile and recognized the Batman who travels the country to visit sick children … the one who attended Savannah’s Celebration of Life party last year at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital….the party we throw every year to pay the Gift we received forward on her liver transplant anniversary… at this point … I was uncontrollable and could not wipe the tears fast enough.
I stood up at the end of the presentation to share with Mr. Culp what his heart in leading him to make this film … well … how it has touched my heart. I then excused myself and went to the bathroom to clean up. Yeah….well….no chance the “ugly”tears were going to end because I ran into the most amazing women in the bathroom.
The owners of JuneBugWeddings.com … these women founded their company with the simple core value of “Kindness”. Yes, they are as amazing and utterly beautiful in their spirit and the tears just kept rolling for me … I just saw and felt kindness from them and as I type this note tears are running down my face just thinking of the experience. A reminder that you don’t need to spend days, months and years to affect a person … a simple act of kindness can touch them in ways you may never imagine.
Now, I am faced with an entrepreneur and owner of Something Blue Weddings, this amazing woman is LaToya Parnell. She is in tears … I recognize the “tears” … tears of our pain and the shared pain we have with so many other parents. Her child is in remission…leukemia. Did I mention, “ugly” tears?? But with the “ugly” tears came the hugs of kinship … the hugs of a woman I knew I would treasure in my life for years to come.
Then in this beautiful bathroom….forgetting that other woman probably entered with a secondary purpose we continued to talk and share the moments in the film that touched us. Then an amazing woman walked in and I just saw her kind face. I recognized her as a speaker at the conference but I was in “Mami” mode and just had well…if you know me…you know the words just started flowing without filters.
These kind eyes looked at us and the heart listened. This amazing woman was Youngsong Martin, owner of Wildflower Linens. I shared with her how the film had touched my heart and how it is so important to remember that our children are not cancer or liver disease. They are children who happen to be attached to medical equipment fighting for their lives but they are simply children. I shared with Ms. Martin how Savvy had cried for an hour not because she was about to have surgery or the pain she was experiencing but because she did not want to wear the blue scratchy hospital gown. Savvy was a 6 year old girl and wanted to wear pink or purple. Her spirit was being broken … She can not control her body but she wanted some kind of control over what she was going to wear and there was nothing I could do about it. Medicine heals the body but the spirit needs to be healed as well.
Then this surreal moment happened ….Ms. Martin told us she would help. She is going to create hospital gowns for kids so that my Warrior Princess who wants pink and girly does not have to wear the same thing that Latoya’s Warrior has to wear … Can you imagine?! I have shed MANY tears in the past few days…tears of joy … and yes…I still have not shaken the “Ugly Cry” because my heart is so touched … so touched knowing what this will mean for my Warrior Princess and for all of the Warriors everywhere! Ms. Martin has not wasted a moment. She has assigned a project manager and is awaiting drawings from little Warriors and Warrior Princesses so that these drawings can be chosen from in order to print on the new gowns … the comfy gowns. She is ready to go into production by the end of January! The first production of the gowns will be donated to Savvy’s transplant hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia…where a team of “Batman’s” saved her life.
A moment where a woman could have politely excused herself and kept walking…in that moment this amazing woman chose to make a difference. She chose to change the world of so many children who will never know her name … who will never be able to Thank her properly. In a moment she chose to make a difference. So … I do believe in the Legend of the Knight…. I do believe that We Are Batman.
#WeareBatman won’t you be Batman too?
If you know a Warrior or a Warrior Princess who spends too much time in a hospital and would like to design a hospital gown … please send a picture to Info@SavvyliciousSweets.com by January 7, 2014.
Photos courtesy of the amazing team of Scott and Melissa Hopkins from Scott Hopkins Photography.