My mom also knew that this dress was The One, so while I was taking the dress off, she was putting in a quick, quiet phone call to my dad. She and dad agreed to buy it for me, saying I had never asked for something like that before and that they wanted me to have it. This will be a gesture from my parents that I will always remember.
I still love my wedding dress. My mom paid to have it cleaned and preserved, and she has kindly stored it in the top of her bedroom closet through the years while I have moved out-of-state and back-and-forth across the state a couple of times. The dress makes me smile because it reminds me of a beautiful day in August 2003, a day when BJ and I gathered at the lovely home of my Aunt Holly and said our vows in front of our closest friends and family. But the truth is, I don't need that dress anymore. It is begging to be worn, as every wedding dress is, but I won't be wearing that dress again, so I have decided it is time to let someone else wear it. Twelve little someones, that is.
I recently learned of an organization called NICU Helping Hands, which was designed "to provide comprehensive support programs and resources to parents of premature infants not only during their stay in the NICU but during and after their transition home." Those last four words, after their transition home, are words that every parent wants to hear as truth for their babies; however, the reality is that some precious babies never make it home from the NICU. For the ones who tragically don't get that welcome home party, NICU Helping Hands has created an Angel Gowns program, which relies on volunteer seamstresses and donated wedding dresses. The talented seamstresses transform beloved dresses into tiny gowns for the babies to wear for final moments and burial, with each donated dress creating approximately 12 angel gowns. The program is intended to support parents by recognizing how special their little one really is, and giving parents the opportunity to clothe their baby in only the best for their sacred burial. Dresses are free upon request to families all over the country. Honestly, I can't think of a lovelier transformation for my dress than this, to be honored by sharing the fabric that I wore on one of the most wonderful days of my life with 12 beautiful souls who will do that same fabric much more justice than I ever could. I immediately knew I was meant to donate to this cause.
|Photo courtesy of NICU Helping Hands|
|My mom and me as we pulled the dress from her closet|
|One last hug for the dress and the recipient babies before packing it up|
|You're welcome for the free advertising, Crate & Barrel.|
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