Do It For Diana 2016

Do It For Diana 2016 was a wild success! In addition to the “Dad & April date day,” Ryan joined us as well! It was fun to have him along for the excitement and good to share stories, memories, laughs and more! We had several stops along the random acts of kindness express and I’m reminded how wonderful it feels to do nice things for other people. Knowing that we were doing this for Mom and the smile she would have on her face if she could witness others’ joy is just awesome.

Our first stop was to Panera. A vanilla latte for me, a quick gathering to layout the plan for our day, and of course the official kick-off to spreading mom’s beautiful smile! I *thought* I was giving the card to a mom/ daughter combination….. But it turns out, these two co-workers that happen to resemble each other (at least in our minds) were not related. Ooops. Nonetheless, Panera is their meeting spot every Saturday morning as they walk the mall, so these friends were happy to share a good chuckle at my inaccurate guessing and the day officially began 🙂

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Our next stop was to Dr. Michael Locke’s optometry office. Dad thought he worked in the area so we decided to visit an old friend from high school that I haven’t seen since back in the day. We had an amazing but quick visit and were able to catch up on one anothers’ families. Perhaps my favorite line of the entire day came from Mike when he said,

“Often in death, we tend to embellish those that we’ve lost. Not with your mom though – She was pure and she was joy.”


A tradition we’ve been following these past five years is to set our day around the movie theater’s schedule. Watching movies together as a family is something that I remember doing from my childhood. On Sunday nights, we would gather in front of our little tv, mom’s homemade pizza on our tv trays in the living room, and we would watch the Sunday night movie. As we got older, we would go to the movie theater on Thanksgiving night as a family. Mom & I had several movie dates throughout my high school/ college and beyond years! Today we watched two movies: Daddy’s Home and Sisters. Both were remarkably funny which was a welcomed feeling 🙂


The very first credit that scrolled on the screen after our first movie: “Diana.” We already know you’re with us mom…. But we appreciate the extra sign 🙂


Lunchtime at The Cheesecake Factory brought great conversations and our chance to pay it forward by buying someone’s meal. We each made several loops through the restaurant stalking eaters and assessing our options. It was unanimous that we would pay for a young family of 5! We got the waitresses on board with our plan and they helped to execute our decision. We all felt like this was another sign from mom: A perfect choice! We were gifting a meal to a family of 5. Much like we grew up in a family of 5…. And I now have a family of 5… And Ryan now has a family of 5. Perfect. Just perfect.



From honored recipients – Thank you!! Wonderful, unexpected gift that made our day. Excited to pay it forward in Diana’s honor.









(Thanks to Dad, mom made it to the table with us.)


An extra Do It For Diana act for our waitresses!!

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After our day together, the boys headed out and I checked into my hotel. I don’t allow myself to get too deep in my “mom thoughts” throughout the year. I keep my memories relatively loose other than this one night. Letting myself go back to the pain of losing her, the feelings and thoughts and anguish and despair is a once-a-year therapy session that is necessary and cherished. I journaled, I reflected, I remembered, I cried.


I may pray for a little “time away” 364 days a year, but when I’m given the opportunity I can only think of home!!  I was able to face time with my minis from my hotel 🙂


Arguably my favorite #doitfordiana moment to date. My 6-year old wanted to give a gift to his most favorite elementary teacher, and wrote: “I wanted to make you smile because my grandma liked to make people smile.” 5 years ago tonight I was standing in a hospital room crying about my worst fears coming true. Tonight I’m still crying, but tears of humble gratitude. Seeing my first grader want to pass on kindness reminds me that mom’s gentle soul is with me every single day!

One of my favorite parts of the day was watching #DoItForDiana stories come in! Through posts, emails, texts and calls it was an overwhelmingly humbling experience to watch as the world around me spread smiles in memory of mom.  It was awesome!

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This last note was from Mom herself. The day allowed me to go back and read a journal she wrote in for me several years ago. Each day for a year, she left notes about herself… This is one of my favorites 🙂

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Do It For Diana Day 2016 was a wild success!!!

Related post: Smile Because It Happened

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