Friends are the best.


Cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, the dishes finally rinsed, loaded and washed, the tell tale rumble of the UPS truck outside.

Our doorbell rings that hurried half ring that tells us a package is waiting on the doorstep.

“Did you order something?”

“No.  I didn’t.  Did you?”

“I don’t think so.  Who knows, though.  I can never remember anything anymore.  Maybe it’s Publisher’s Clearinghouse.”

Andy comes back in with a plain brown box.

“It’s for Jill.”

“What?  From who?”

Tracy and her family.”

We looked at each other completely confused.  Tracy is a dear friend, but we see her regularly.  I just saw her on Sunday.  Why is she mailing a package, and why is she sending something to Jill?

Inside that unassuming brown box, we found this.


A plush Cinderella doll.

And a note.  Explaining.


This is a special Princess Cinderella just for you.  Her journey started when she heard that she could be an awesome friend for an awesome little girl, and then she had surgery so she could be just like YOU!


To support your trials, this Princess Cinderella is happy to be wearing an epilepsy awareness ribbon.


She was fitted for AFO’s and proudly wears them on her feet.


Don’t forget her hospital gown and her ID bracelet, which has your name on it so everyone knows she is your princess.

Even though you didn’t get your brain surgery, you can see that epilepsy is caused by the brain.


I immediately teared up.  Caught my breath in my throat.  Deeply moved by my friend’s thoughtfulness.

Overwhelmed by friendships and love.

Especially when the world feels really mean and ugly sometimes.

Love wins.


I walked outside.  I didn’t want the kids to see me crying.  Henry would be worried.

Andy followed me out.


He tried to hug me.  I pushed him away.  I was just overwhelmed.  A good overwhelmed, but overwhelmed.

Those little pink AFO’s about did me in.

And I didn’t want to make a scene.


Until I realized…he had red rimmed, tear filled eyes too.

My husband who often smiles and shakes his head at me.

His wife is crying.  Again.

But it wasn’t just me this time.


He tells me, “It just makes it so…REAL.  I mean…OTHER kids get these dolls…”

I know.

I get this.

You would think that daily meds, specialist visits, trips in ambulances, and even week long stays at UCLA would make it real enough.  But those things feel more like blips in our Normal.


In so many ways, our days feel like anyone else’s days.

Or maybe that’s just because we don’t know any different, really.

Or maybe it’s because we’re in denial.

Or maybe…I don’t know.

But I know that I feel the same way at the very THOUGHT of attending the Walk to End Epilepsy in November.  I really don’t want to go.  No.  Scratch that.  I would pretty much rather do just about ANYTHING than go to the 5K.  It scares me.  To see other families there.  I can’t put my finger on it.  But I’m terrified at being part of that community.  As if it will change anything.

Except for make things more real, I suppose.  Cracking carefully arranged walls.

We love you Jilly, you are a true princess, and we hope you love your new princess.

Tracy, you are too much.  We love you too.  Even if you make us cry.

P.S. I think she likes it.


{Tracy ordered this custom doll from Healing Helpers.}








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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

Latest posts by jeannett (see all)


  1. 1

    This was beautiful, Jill looks so happy with her new princess.
    Sarah´s last blog post ..Twinkle- Grade 1

  2. 2

    So cool!!! (and definitely tearing up!
    Katie´s last blog post ..August 2013 Recap

  3. 3

    Too. much. Precious beyond words…

  4. 4

    i love how you wear your heart on your sleeve. she is a doll face! my daughter has CP too. it can be so overwhelming and draining at times… and then other times it’s just life and that’s it! My daughter is going to have hip surgery soon… wondering where that doll is from?
    p.s. i keep meaning to tell you about Joni and Friends. If you have never been to a family camp you should definitely put it on your bucket list!!! We were super apprehensive to go because, well we don’t do that sort of thing. We went anyway and it is SO good! it’s good for your marriage, your kids (not just the child with special needs but the siblings as well), your family! i don’t always comment but i always feel a special connection to you as a mom with a daughter that has CP hugs to you… you are doing an awesome job!!!!!!!!!
    Trish´s last blog post ..He is PEACE

  5. 7

    Precious Happy Jilly – Tracy IS awesome! I pray that being involved in the walk blesses you beyond what you could have imagined!

  6. 8

    and i shouldn’t have read this at work either.
    jill is a rockstar.
    your friend is an angel.
    amy jupin´s last blog post ..what now?

  7. 9

    What a thoughtful friend.
    Connie Elrod´s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday:

  8. 10

    Well, it’s hard to type through the stream of tears, but what an amazing gesture from your friend. Jill is such a loved little girl!

  9. 11

    What a beautiful doll…and a beautiful friend.

  10. 12

    Love…that is all.

    Love you all dearly—tears as I type…

  11. 13

    Oh, that is so so sweet. What a sweet friend you have. And, how lucky is Jilly to have such amazing parents like you two. Thanks for sharing such a special story!
    Alyson @Vintage Sunshine´s last blog post style: plus size fall fashion

  12. 14

    That was a beautiful post. I’m tearing up over here, myself. Your daughter’s joyful smile just radiates. God bless friends.

    Whitney´s last blog post ..5 on Friday

  13. 15

    This extremely throughtful gesture has brought a joyous tear to many eyes, including mine. What a beautiful story and then add the pictures… wow! My attitude and outlook for the day have just been altered for the better. Thanks for sharing!