This past Monday was the anticipated "Magical Monday" at Gillian's Wonderland Pier in Ocean City, New Jersey. The Gillian Family chose Gavin's Playground Project to receive half of the proceeds from sales of wristbands that gave customers unlimited rides from 1-4.
I haven't found out how many wristbands were sold yet - I'll report back as soon as I do! But it was a great day and we were so, so honored by the entire thing. Here are some of the highlights!!
Ed getting our wristbands.
Woo Hoo! We were ready to ride!
One of the first rides Brian wanted to go on was the... gulp... ferris wheel. Hope stayed safely on the ground with Granny!
We had a truly magical view of all of Wonderland... the beach and the ocean... and almost the entire town of Ocean City. It was a great way to start the day...
...and it got even better as we walked away from the ferris wheel and into the "party." Suddenly we spotted a butterfly! We just smiled. But then we noticed it wasn't flying away! It flitted around the four of us and Granny for a little while as we all stood there with our mouths open looking at each other. Call it what you will, but it certainly seemed like a big giant sign from Heaven to us. It was one of my favorite moments of the day, by far.
We were surrounded all afternoon by new friends who came to honor Gavin...
...readers who went out of their way to come with their children (I loved meeting so many new people!)...
...Christine and her beautiful daughters were brave enough to come so soon after Bode's passing. Christine, as you know, was the one responsible for Gavin's fire truck at Wonderland Pier!
And, of course, my family was there!
Can you believe this is just HALF of my family? There are still twelve more people not pictured!
We had a ball riding the rides...
...and it got very sentimental when I brought Hope on the first ride of her life! I sat in the same bench seat on the carousel that I sat with Gavin for his first ride of his life. Brian wanted to sit behind us for her maiden voyage - you can see his little hand waving at Ed!
Brian and I went around again together after that.
Hope was great all day - and there was no shortage of family members to hold her! Here she is with her Aunt Meg...
Sometimes, honestly, I can't wrap my mind around all the experiences we have had - including this - since Gavin died. It is mind blowing... humbling... and we, as a family, are truly very grateful.
The next morning, we all gathered at my sister Meg's house for breakfast! We had to say goodbye to Emily's husband, Josh, and my nephew Dan and his wife, Miranda who had to go back to work in New Hampshire. Boo!
But then it was time for another long beach day! Hope sported her fancy "bathing suit" again.
Forgetting her bathing suit, as it turns out, wasn't the worst thing at all. It's been on the chilly side - and the water is freezing!!
Imagine a huge circle of chairs (and my gigantic umbrella/shelter) with my family members - and Brian right there in the center digging all day. He was in his glory.
He had some help from Daddy and his Uncle Jim to dig a hole so deep they reached water. And then he loved to jump in and out of it all day.
As usual, we are making memories with Gavin's pier in the background. That pier has been in our family photos since Gavin was a baby.
It's both heart wrenching and heartwarming to watch new memories being made with Brian and Hope. More heartwarming, for sure. Actually, it makes my heart skip a beat to see Brian laughing and smiling on the beach.
This morning was rainy and kept us inside until after lunch. Once the sun came out, we split up and hit the boardwalk! Ed and Brian went to play games in the arcade and then went on some rides.
Granny, Hope and I went shopping on the boardwalk - and eventually met up with Aunt Meg, Aunt Bean and Emily! I wandered into a store called "Bangles and Bows" and got sucked into a vortex of adorableness! I couldn't resist this sweet hat and the little rosette (which is actually a hair clip that I attached to it!).
Actually, I couldn't resist a lot of things in that store, but in the interest of saving my marriage - I'll only show the hat. (kidding!!!) Seriously - is this not the cutest thing?!? She's definitely a "hat girl."
Tomorrow should be a beautiful, sunny day! Me and my (forever) pale skin are ready to blind some more people on the beach!