NOVEMBER 16, 2015: “Dear Boot Camp Family” …

Boot CampThis morning while I was boxing up the remnants of “The Frog & The Butterfly” festivities, I came across a forgotten note that our daughter Gia had written, unbeknownst to us, evidently in preparation for the possibility that she, as my “Maid Of Honor”, would have to give a speech at the reception. When a friend of ours had informed her that she may indeed have to “say a little something”, she was super excited and evidently more than par to the task. However, as you can imagine, with all of the fast-paced excitement and shennanigans that morning, some of our plans went awry, and her speech never did happen. Meanwhile, I found the note at the bottom of the little bag she had with her at the venue, and although I am so overwhelmingly disappointed that she never got to actually have her special moment that day, I now feel it is imperative that I share with you all what she wrote. Keep in mind that a week or so before she had come to me one afternoon with a barrage of “boot camp questions”, i.e., “Mommy, so what did they did to you in there?” “What exactly happened? Did it hurt? Did you cry? Was it scary? Was it fun? Did they make you run or do jumping jacks? Since it’s called boot camp, were they dressed like soldiers?” Lol. And also, “Who exactly are the main people from Boot Camp, and are they going to be there on Sunday I hope? I always hear you talking about Jim and Elizabeth, and I know who Miss Dana is, and Mr. Mike, and the pretty lady at dinner with the baby at Mr. Mike’s house. But who else? Can you tell me their names?” I answered all her questions to the best of my ability, knowing NOTHING of this written speech until this morning (and I am typing it as-is, verbatim, misspellings and all) …

“I don’t even know where to start. My mom has done soo much, to make shure her kids are happy, healthy, and most of all, loved. She is a hard worker, a great wife, an the absolute BEST mom. And when God put me on this earth, I must of been a very lucky baby to be put in the care and loving arms of my mom. Shes brave, loving, kind, sweet, forgiving, and always, always has warm loveing open arms to catch you if you fall. My mom is always there when you need her and even when you don’t. She comforts me when I am scared, gives me hugs when im sad, and helps me if I don’t understand. She has inspired me to be the best girl I can be and theres probably no one here in this room but me that knows what my mom and dad have gone through together. If my mom thought for just one minute, that me and Zack (my dad) didn’t click or absolutely love each other she wouldn’t have married him. But I loved him and I still love him to this day. My dad who even though he is my step dad he doesn’t call me his step daughter, he just calls me his daughter, nothing else no “step” is allowed. Even to his friends he says my “daugther”, my “daughter”, and before all of this happened, before she met my dad she was always sad. Then she whent to this thing called bootcamp and no one knows what they did to her in there but it was a miracle. So her bootcamp family, Jim carrol, and Elizabeth Carrol, david bishop, dana hamman, Jhon hoback, and all her bootcamp family, so many I can’t even name them all, all played a big part in the women my mom is today. So thank you all and mom I know you wont always be able to protect me but I want you to know I will always be your little girl. I love you momy. Thank you.”

So, with that, please be blessed today and walk upright and proud in all that you do, give, and fight for on behalf of all the broken people who have walked through your doors (many who don’t even know they are broken, and even more who don’t take it seriously) in an attempt to make this effed up, crazy world that we live in a little bit nicer place, one “boot camper” at a time. If ever any of you find a shred of doubt within your hearts as to whether the work you are doing is “real or not real”, please read, then re-read this note and know that it came straight from the heart of an innocent little 10-year old girl whose still pure heart doesn’t quite know how to “not call it like she sees it”. And trust me, SHE’S SEEN IT! She is neither a celebrity, nor a paid spokesperson, and quite frankly still doesn’t know from Adam (or if she does know, doesn’t care) that Mommy’s “boot camp family” is now on TV. She’s just a kid who watched her “very sad” Mommy walked out the door to something called boot camp where a bunch of total strangers helped her come home four days later very HAPPY AND CHANGED and our lives have never been the same since! I have thanked you all before, and attempted to credit you at every possible turn with not just my personal testimony of words, but with a life well-lived that is living proof with which to credit you. Before I walked into that place that on that “Wednesday that changed everything” seven years ago, I was anything but a “brave, loving, kind, sweet, forgiving, and always, always has warm loveing open arms to catch you if you fall” kind of girl. Well, scratch that. I was and always HAVE been that girl, it just took bunch of hearts like yours to help me pull my head out of my butt once and for all so that I could get the hell out of my own way and begin to LIVE! I love you all, and you know that. But the words right here from my daughter? The most POWERFUL “Life Enrichment Boot Camp” testimony of all! THIS HERE FOLKS IS REAL FOKS, and “real” means everything to me these days! Her precious words are as authentic as it gets. Thank you for everything you’ve given me and all the things THIS little boot camp “survivor by default” is going to be as a result of the women you helped her momma become! That is all.