Where did the Summer Go?
Since bloggers are introducing themselves, let me tell you a bit about myself and my involvement with The Preemie Project. My name is Linda Aker. I work full time at UIHC as a supervisor in the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory. I am mother of Laura, the founder of The Preemie Project. I had the privilege of witnessing the birth of The Preemie Project. Don’t get me wrong. I was not a believer from the very beginning. Laura was in a difficult time of her life 3 1/2 years ago when she first went to the internet looking for a project to help her life have some meaning. Health issues had forced her to quit school, work and a social life and move back home. I was desperate to find anything to help her get through her days. But, when Laura said, “Mom, go get your needles” wanting me to knit with her for the babies, I could not begin to understand how my life would have time for that. I was totally consumed with a job that took up many more than 40 hours a week and taking care of a house and daughter that needed to get out of the house the minute I got home each day.
A well needed week long vacation that first summer had me and Laura knitting every minute we were in the car. I made my first bereavement gown, my first hat and bootie set. Looking back, they were not of very good quality. But, I was remembering that time, before children, when I loved my time with my knitting needles.
During the summer and fall I was Laura’s legs and arms as I took her to meetings where she spoke at the Senior Center, The Volunteer Office at UIHC, church groups. We had that first meeting of volunteer recruits at our house. (We all laughed at the idea of meeting with people we met on the Internet.) I cleaned my house and set up for the first work group meeting, taught Laura what it meant to have a bake sale, hauled tubs and tubs full of items up the stairs and to the car for those first donations. My back hurts just remembering it. Somewhere in the middle of all this activity, I became hooked. As we received the first thank you notes from parents whose babies were now safely at home with them and families that were not so fortunate, I knew that I was fully invested in TPP.
Wow, it has been 3 1/2 years. We have come a long way. It has been a growing experience as Laura went back to work and school. She and I have had to learn how to balance this Project, that previously was a full time job for Laura, with already jam packed lives. Last winter, there was a bit of a lag time when Laura was deeply immersed in her school work and a part time job. I did not know how to help her. This summer we have put some organizational changes in place. We hope this school year will go much smoother.
So, summer is over. Laura started classes today. Yes, I resisted the urge to take the “first day of school” pictures. But, as the summer sun was fading on the horizon, Laura and I had one last “crafting day” yesterday. We made headbands for the Holiday Craft Sale. I would never describe myself as “creative”. But, Laura found instructions for making the cutest headbands. We ordered the plastic headbands from HairHardware.com The instructions are on the website. I had to share pictures with you. We took some over to the neighbors and had their 5 year old girl try one on. They were very cute. When asked, she chose the purple one, my favorite. Our next project is to figure out how to make hair clips with the left over ribbon.
Now, all of you that signed up for the blog, let’s hear from you. We need to keep momentum going for TPP. We cannot do it alone. Tell us about yourself, show us what you are working on. All of us will get better when we can see what others are working on.
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