I waited before telling the boys. I waited until we received the written information in the mail that included our formal invitation. I waited until I heard back from their principal who said, "We will excuse both boys from school as this is an extraordinary experience." So a couple of weeks ago we told the boys that they were being given an incredible opportunity, thanks to their sister, to help St. Vincent Hospital pack hundreds of Operation Christmas Child boxes. We've packed some of these boxes as a family before and they knew what they were. They thought it was cool that they'd get to leave school to do it. Nick thought it was neat that it happened to fall on his birthday. Then we mentioned that maybe, just maybe, there would be a couple of Indianapolis Colts players there.
What the What?!?!?!
So Tuesday was that day. We picked the boys up from school at 1 p.m. while Alexis stayed with Paula. We could have signed her up to go too, but knowing that she wouldn't understand or fully appreciate what was happening, we let another child have her spot. It was interesting to talk to a volunteer who said they never know which football players might show up. The team chaplain waits until after the most recent football game to approach a few players who are good, kind, Christian men and he asks them to come. I learned from the players that when the chaplain asks, you don't say no.
|Awaiting the start of the packing party and the arrival of the Colts.|
|#69 Winston Justice, Tackle|
|#25 Jerraud Powers, Cornerback|
|#73 Seth Olsen, Guard|
|#5 Drew Stanton, Quarterback|
As much as I love the Colts, I didn't know a single one of them, but yet, was totally starstruck. I tried to follow my boys example by focusing on the more important task at hand: filling the boxes. I kept getting distracted. The boys would be collecting toys and toothbrushes and crayons to stick in the boxes, and as a Colt would approach our table, I'd distract them.
Nick, are you sure you don't want to ask him for an autograph? I brought a Sharpie with us!
No mom. I'm busy.
Hey Blake, here comes Drew Stanton. Don't you want to take a picture with him like those kids are doing?
No thanks mom.
WHERE ARE YOUR PRIORITIES?!?!
Oh yeah, back to the boxes.
Eventually, the director of the program told the kids to take a break. The Colts could only stay until 4 and they wanted to take a group picture before they left.
Many pictures were taken and then, as the boys watched others get autographs and photos, they decided that maybe they'd like an autograph on the back of their Operation Christmas Child shirts. My shy little boys, who aren't yet too comfortable with approaching strangers and asking for things like this, just walked up to a player, turned their back to them, and backed into them as a way to get the players to sign the backs of their shirts. Oy.
|That's right, my kids made Drew Stanton laugh.|
|Drew Stanton and Nicholas|
|Blake and Seth Olsen|
The players were very kind and gracious, and the boys now have autographed shirts to show off to their classmates. And I have pictures of my kids with Quarterback Drew Stanton. I promise to stop name dropping now.
The players left, most of the boxes had been packed and we were told that we were more than welcome to stay and help pack the remaining boxes but it was also fine to leave. I turned to the boys to let them decide what they wanted to do.
Nick wanted to stay. Blake wanted to stay. And then Blake said,
I want those kids to be happy, happy, happy.
Another day, another opportunity to be amazed by my kids.
**All images courtesy of Heidi Hackney Photography**