Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Big Laughs and a Big Baby Bump

I have returned home from my trip and I have a few pictures to share with you. But first, let me tell you about my trip. I went to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Yes, I had permission to travel and even fly there. And yes, it was SO worth it. I went to Creative Memories National Convention. And I know the next question you have is why when I am so close to delivering. Here is the story.

Nine months ago, when we lost Natalie, I was done. At the time, my CM business was steady, I had 3 girls on my team, and I was happy even though I wanted more. A few days after we said goodbye, I told Shannon that I was done. I had no clue how to help people preserve their memories when it felt like I would never be able to look at pictures again without crying. I did not think I could complete another one of my albums and I certainly could not expect my customers to do something I was not even doing myself. I thought that this was big enough to end my career. So I told her not to expect too much from me. She smiled at me, told me that it was ok, and then I decided I would just let it ride. If I deactivated, so be it. If I maintained what I was doing already, that was ok too. But I could not give it any extra attention as my focus was our family and dealing with our tremendous loss. I let it be about me and not the mission that I believe in wholeheartedly. And that was that.
So, I maintained my sales and continued my workshops. I planned a weekend away, hoping that I could get some done and get back into the habit. I had 10 customers there. I was happy. But then, when we offered the CM business opportuntity to the group at the weekend away, something happened. I signed a new consultant and one of my downline signed 2 of her own. I now had 6 people on my team and was beginning the process of promoting to the first level of leadership in CM. And that night my passion for what I love came back. I felt like I could achieve this. I wanted it again. I had not felt that way since we lost Nat Nat. And it felt good.
Over the next several months, my team worked hard and diligently to complete all the requirements we needed to in order to promote as a team. And, on June 1st, I promoted to the title of Unit Leader with Creative Memories. Now my goal was to make it to Showcase. You see, at Showcase, they make a HUGE deal out of each promotion to a leadership level. I wanted to be there. I wanted to walk stage, proud of what we had accomplished, proud of what I had strived to achieve personally. I had to go. Nothing was going to stop me...except maybe my doctor.
So, at my 2 appointments with my doctor in July, I basically begged her to let me go. She agreed to run all the necessary tests to make sure that Alie and I were healthy enough to travel. But she reserved the right to tell me no even up to the day of travel. I agreed and we began blood draws, untrasounds, and other tests to make sure I would not go into labor. Sure enough, just 3 days before I was to board a plane, she gave me a letter stating that I was not in any danger of Pre-Term Labor and I could go! I was thrilled.

I drank lots of water (which resulted in lots of trips to the bathroom!) and kept my feet up as much as could. Bryan took leave to be home with Emily while I was gone. I packed my bags and boarded the flight. I got to participate in all the leader activities like early entry to marketplace (CM shopping), leadership meeting, a new unit leader reception, and the leadership banquet which had a 50s theme. I could not find a maternity poodle skirt anywhere, so I opted for the white top and black capris. We had a great time and I loved all the extras as a leader!!

We had great training and lots of laughs. We ate yummy food and barely slept. But the best part was the last night. Sunday night was closing banquet and then closing ceremonies. Sunday night was my moment to shine in the CM world, walk across stage and be proud of my journey, from a terrible tragedy to a great triumph, and remind myself of why I do this. As a consultant, I am asked fairly frequently why I do what I do. After Natalie's accident, I knew for sure. It was for us to remember how to smile, for Emily to remember her sister, and for us to work through our grief. It will also be the only way that Alie knows her sister, Natalie. They will not meet until Alie gets to heaven and she is not going any time soon!! I have to give her those memories through ours. I have to share Natalie's story, however short, because she is worth it. And I have an outlet through our albums to smile, to cry, to get mad at where it ends, and to rejoice in her beginning. Walking that stage in front of 4100+ CM consultants plus the Home Office staff was just what I wanted. And I wanted somehow to share my why.
Some people with CM know our story. Some were told when lots of emails went out for prayers, some were told when my upline notified home office of what happened. Some are on my team, and I have met some at meetings and trainings. So, for those people, the statement I made while crossing the stage was so meaningful. For others, it just showed my love of the mission. But it was a statement that I am happy I did. And it caused a room full of 4100+ to say "This is my why" in unison as I came out from backstage. So, here is a picture of what happened....it really says it all.

It was a perfect, waddle walk. I am so glad I did it. I doubt I will have the chance again. I heard our group cheering and had to pose for a few hundred pictures from other consultants. I guess I will be in a few more scrapbooks than my own this year. But, this is my why. I have chosen to use this as an opportunity to help my family so that I can stay home with Emily and with Alie. I have chosen to continue our scrapbooks so Alie can see what a great big sister Natalie was. And I have chosen to share our story so others can know that God is good, He will carry you, and you will go on, albeit changed, but there will be lots of smiles and laughs, expecially when there is a big baby bump involved.
Good night all~
Hillary, Bryan, our big girl Emily, our angel baby Natalie, and our sweet Alie


Kimberly said...

You are AWESOME!!!!

Love ya!!

Allison said...

That is a GREAT picture of you on stage! You look beautiful!

Missives From Suburbia said...

Congratulations! What a great picture and what a perfect reason to do what you do.

Christy J said...

Hillary, I am so touched by your blogs, even though I rarely comment. This one has touched me greatly as a fellow CMC. You are a true testament to our mission!!! Congratulations on walking stage...I wish I could have been there to see it first hand. :) Keep up the hard work, and I'm cheering you on from afar! :)
Christy Jackson