A few weeks ago, I got an email from my friend Eva. I just love her. I really, truly do. She’s honestly one of the sweetest souls I have ever met, and when I say I feel honored to be her friend I am telling you no lie. If you aren’t friends with Eva, you are missing out.
I met Eva when I helped out with the McInnis Charity Gala to benefit Youth-Reach Gulf Coast back in October. As we sat in our friend, John’s, basement putting together beautiful feather plumes, Eva asked me a lot about Annadelle and what our life had been like the past year. The truth is I tell her story all the time (even when I probably shouldn’t) so it rolled off my tongue as quickly as could be. Most of the time, people are pretty interested at first, but lose interest quickly. Not Eva, though- she listened intently and genuinely listened, soaking in all the information I had to offer and responding with the kindest “I’m sorry for what you’ve been through” that I’ve ever heard. It was refreshing, to be honest.
I found out later that Eva is the president of a local women’s Mardi Gras group called the Mystical Order of Aurora, a small organization that gathers for social events and donates a tremendous amount of time to charity work. Prior to helping with the McInnis Gala (which was gorgeous and raised a ton of money for YRGC, btw), Eva and the Auroras had put on something known as the Swanky Gala which also benefited YRGC and were set to host their annual Christmas party in December which would gather and distribute Barbie dolls for girls less fortunate. Pretty awesome, right?
In her email, Eva told me that she and the Auroras wanted to honor Annadelle as their first ever “Miss Tiffany” at their annual Breakfast at Tiffany’s brunch at Perdido Beach Resort. She said Annadelle would receive a crown and a sash, and just be loved on a bunch by all the ladies during the breakfast. Of course I said yes because I knew Annadelle would be over the moon- and she was! She had no idea who the Auroras were, or even what a brunch is, but she sure knew what a crown and a sash was and she couldn’t wait to get them.
Early in February, Annadelle and I attended the brunch all dressed in black and pearls. We went to visit our friend Janna Chastain in Gulf Shores to get her hair and makeup done. Chris has known Janna for many, many years. She does our hair and also does wedding hair and makeup (or in this case, Miss Tiffany hair and makeup). If you’re in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area, check her out.
During the brunch, Annadelle received a lot of goodies from Eva and the Auroras. She was less concerned with eating and more concerned with all the goodies she got. She was also asked to ride in the Orange Beach parade representing them as Miss Tiffany, and I don’t think I have to tell you what her answer was (psst…it was an absolute YES).
I was also asked to give a little background on Annadelle’s diagnosis and a quick recap of the past year. I didn’t mind at all, mostly because Eva asked me and also because I think it is important to educate people about this rare disease (hence the reason for the blog in the first place).
Annadelle was on Cloud 9 after we left the brunch and would not stop talking about the parade. I’m pretty sure she told everyone she came in contact with that she would be riding in the parade. Chris and I had to keep her out of her “Aurora bag” where her crown and sash were being stored until the parade. She wanted to play dress-up and let everyone know she was, indeed, a true princess.
We met up with Jane (another wonderful Aurora) and got set up to ride in the parade. Although I own a Jeep Wrangler, it is not as awesome as Jane’s so we used her Wrangler for the parade. We set Annadelle up with a good bit of beads, adorned her with her crown and sash, and had her practice the “princess wave”.
Chris drove the Jeep as Hayden and I walked beside it, helping Annadelle to throw some beads while also throwing beads ourselves. She could not throw them very far so I spent a good amount of time kicking beads away from traffic or picking them up and throwing them out farther. PSA: THESE FOLKS DOWN HERE GO CRAZY OVER SOME BEADS! (Keep in mind, I’m from right outside of Talladega county where women get the beads in a different way :::cough, cough::: DEGA, BABY :::cough, cough::: but the drive to get beads really was more due to drunkenness than sheer greed, but whatev.) I was definitely not expecting to see so many grown adults getting ugly over some plastic beads, even to the point of taking beads thrown directly at kids from right in front of them. :::insert angry face here:::
Once the parade was over, both kids were starving and “hangry” so we grabbed a bite to eat and just enjoyed the day. It was a breath of fresh air to feel like a part of the community, a place we can truly call home. Being in the hospital and not having much of a social life for so long made us feel very secluded and lonely so it was nice to be able to enjoy the company of new friends (and each other, obviously).
One thing is for sure, I will never forget this day and all of the love the Auroras have shown Annadelle. I know she won’t forget it, too.