Written by our amazing Fellow Flower Original, Tara Hartman…
Hello Fellow Flowers!
When the Originals exchanged emails back in 2011, I never really thought of it as writing my ‘Anthem.’ And I certainly never anticipated that it would be read by hundreds, perhaps thousands of people. Now, when I go back and read my thoughts and feelings from two years ago, I can truly see how much we have changed as a family. Here’s a little update on life with the Hartmans…
Katie just had her 3rd birthday! A few days after her birthday we took her to visit the NICU in Green Bay where we spent so much time back in 2010. While the facility has been remodeled, it still very much felt like ‘home’ to us, no doubt because of the smiling familiar faces of some of our favorite nurses greeting us at the door. They were all impressed with how well Katie is doing, especially given her rough start (for those of you that don’t know, Katie was a micropreemie born at 25 weeks and weighed just 1 lb. 5 oz.) For her to have even survived is a miracle in itself, but even more astonishing is the fact that her heart, lungs, brain, vision, hearing, motor skills, you name it – are all just fine. Other than being very small for her age, Katie is just a normal toddler with a whole lot of spunk. And for that we are eternally grateful.
If you’ve ever spent an extended amount of time in a hospital you fully understand the impact that good nurses can have on your life. These women became like family to us while we were there. I can only imagine the strength it takes for them to do their job – caring for the most precious, fragile little souls while also offering compassion to their parents going through the scariest moments of their lives. The absolute best moment of our recent visit to the NICU was not having our nurses see how well Katie is doing today – it was hearing our little girl tell the women who saved her life over and over, “Thank You.”
In 2011 my ‘Anthem’ and purpose for running the Cellcom Half Marathon was not so much about Katie as it was her twin brother Drew. Drew was much sicker than Katie when they were born and earned his angel wings after just 11 hours of life. My husband and I, along with my brother, ran the 2011 Cellcom in part to honor Drew’s life but also to help us heal. We called ourselves “Drew’s Crew” and raised nearly $3,000 for a Green Bay charity that works with children physically effected by prematurity. That race was and always will be very special to us – it also happens to be the first time I ever ran with a big orange flower in my hair.
While I always think of Drew while I run, it’s not the biggest part of what motivates me anymore. My journey to and through motherhood has not been an easy one, but I feel like we’re doing pretty damn good three years later. I run because I get to – I get to show my little girl what it takes to be strong, that you can do anything you put your mind to, and that it’s important to carve out time for yourself in this crazy-busy world we live in. Seeing her along a race course, smiling, waving, yelling, “Good job at running, Mama!!” is like no other feeling in the world. I run because I get to be a Mom, something that at one time in my life I didn’t think would happen. I can’t wait for the day that Katie and I get to run our first race together…with black rock star flowers in our hair of course!
Oh, and I heard something about Fellow Flowers’ upcoming Declare it Day? One thing I’ve come to realize is that not every race has to be better than the one before. I’ve learned to appreciate the journey more, take in the scenery, listen to my body and run with friends. But sometimes you’ve gotta kick a little ass. So here it goes: I DECLARE this year I will run my 5th Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon…and I fully intend to set a PR. Because yes, I am a force to be reckoned with!
:: Tara ::