While Ruthie Lou was in the NICU, a kind nurse (or volunteer) came by and offered us a few colorful blankets to choose one for Ruthie. We chose a brightly colored vibrant pattern and hung it proudly from her isolette with visions of her using her "special blanket" for years to come. We would tell her the story of how she acquired it and we would breathe a sigh of relief that our NICU days were far behind us and that our sweet Ruthie Lou was healthy and safe. I planned on making blankets in the future to donate to other NICU families and that we would be the hope that families would survive the NICU experience. That was my vision anyways.
It didn't turn out as expected. We did use Ruthie Lou's blanket, we have pictures of us laying in the grass with her, her special blanket underneath us but now that is all we have. Pictures. Her special blanket sits in her special chest, the one we bought at the antique store to hold all her special items in.
One thing didn't change though, I still had every intention of making blankets to donate to the NICU, when the time was right. Our first Christmas without Ruthie Lou, I bought myself a sewing machine and even took a class with all the older sweet ladies buying a new machine. I made my nieces "RL blankets" for Christmas but still wasn't ready to make the NICU blankets yet, the time wasn't right. Since then, two years ago, I have toyed around with how Ruthie Lou would impact the world, how I would impact the world in her honor. It can be such a daunting undertaking to give honor to such an amazing life. I have visions of writing books, publishing, speaking, trainings, workshops, supporting other families. These are dreams of mine, someday dreams. I feel like someday is coming closer and closer, it can feel overwhelming at times. So instead of planning and projecting and assuming what this path will look like, I have closed my eyes and am jumping in. Just jumping!
Of course there has to be planning but I am not concerned with the outcome other than putting my heart in this endeavor and seeing where it goes. I want all the things I spoke of, I want to write the books, publish, I have visions of guiding hospitals to support families, I want to be a role model of hope and survival, I want to share Ruthie Lou with the world. I am often brought to the quote, "a persons a person, no matter how small" and she was just that, a person who I continue to love more than life itself and for that, I must do these things. She changed the path of my life and I am so glad she did. I see life in a much greater way now, I have a driven purpose and more expanded heart because of her.
The idea of these comfort boxes came after a night sitting around the campfire with friends. I was expressing my dreams and desires for the future (if money didn't play a role) and the Ruthie Lou Foundation was made. I still plan to follow where my heart guides me in regards to Ruthie Lou's legacy but the first tangible step is supplying a comfort box for families leaving the hospital without their baby. The last few weeks of gathering items, sewing blankets, writing letters and articulating my purpose for this project has given me such inspiration that I know I am on the right path, wherever it might lead. My heart feels full of hope.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.