This post is inspired by Shot@Life, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation that educates, connects and empowers the championing of vaccines as one of the most cost effective ways to save the lives of children in the world’s hardest to reach places.
During Shot@Life’s Blogust, 31 bloggers, one each day in August, are writing about moments that matter. For every comment on this post and the 30 other posts, Walgreens will donate a vaccine up to 50,000 vaccines. Blogust is also part of a wider initiative proudly supported by Walgreens, the “Get a Shot. Give a Shot.” campaign. Walgreens has committed $500,000 to donate up to 3 million vaccines for those kids who need them most. Beginning September 3 through October 14, when you go to Walgreens to get your flu shot, Walgreens will donate a vaccine to the Shot@Life campaign. (*Subject to availability. Some restrictions apply. See pharmacy for details.)
Please leave a comment on this post, and in turn Walgreens will donate a vaccine to a child in need. A child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease. We can change this reality and help save lives, so please leave a comment here and share this post to any and all who’ll do the same.
Sign up here for a daily email so you can quickly and easily comment and share every day during Blogust! Stay connected with Shot@Life at www.shotatlife.org, join the campaign on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
When I was a little girl, my Nana used to watch me while my parents went to work. I remember how I loved pulling up to her yellow house and seeing her standing at the door of the home she loved so much. It always made me feel so safe, so secure, so loved. She was genuinely happy to see me every single morning, and that kind of love impacts a child immensely. My Nana had 3 sons, my father being her middle child, so I think she secretly loved having a little girl to take care of… lots of dolls, lots of tea parties, lots of pink.
I actually remember thinking at a very young age just what a wonderful mother my Nana would have been to a little girl. She LOVED her boys more than anything in the world, but she had a very girly girl side to her, and I only really saw that side when she was with me. And to be honest, I felt very special that I got to be her “little girl.” From such a young age, this incredibly special bond was formed between me and my Nana. She was… my girl, my Nana. Even as I grew, our bond continued to get stronger and stronger. When I headed off to college, even though I went to Brown University and was literally 20 minutes away, I would send her cards in the mail all the time. When I moved to NYC after college, I would call her on my way home from work and just gab about everything and anything. When I met the man I would eventually marry, I couldn’t wait for her to meet him and get her “stamp of approval!” I did. My Nana was just always there for me, always loving me.
She was always there for every milestone.
When I became pregnant with my first baby, my Nana was ecstatic. She cried when I told her, tears of joy. When I found out it was a little boy, she was over-the-moon! “Oh, Audrey! A boy! You know I love my boys!”
When I became pregnant with my 2nd son, my Nana was over-joyed for my son William! “Brothers! You’ll have brothers!”
When I became pregnant with my 3rd son, my Nana said, “You’re just like me! A mom to 3 boys!”
When I became pregnant with my 4th son, my Nana thought it was just incredible. “4 boys, you know they’ll always protect their Mom!”
But I’ll never forget what she told me in the hospital after meeting my Henry, my 4th son. “You’re not ready yet for another, but next time… I think you need a girl.”
I was stunned. My Nana telling me I needed a girl? I remember saying to her, “Oh, Nana… I think we’re done with 4!”
8 weeks later my Nana passed away. August 8th, 2008.
It rocked my world. My Nana was such an important part of my life. And I just loved her so, so, so very much. I’ll never forget visiting her in the hospital a week before she passed away. She had been incredibly out of it and very confused. She hadn’t been alert or “herself” in a few days. I stood over her hospital bed crying and just wishing she would be OK. Out of nowhere she completely came to and alert and herself… she touched my hand and said, “Don’t cry. It’s OK. Everything’s going to be OK.”
I never heard her speak again. But I have cherished those words forever.
I don’t know what came over me, but in those final days of her life… I asked her, “When the time is right, Nana… send me a baby girl.”
Two weeks after she passed away, my parents called me up to tell me they had found a baby gift in her closet addressed to “Baby McClelland.” At first glance, there were tons of boy baby clothes, which made sense because Henry was literally a newborn when she first got sick. But on the very bottom of the bag was this…
… yes, a pink sleepy-suit.
Fast forward 4 years later.
I had really given up the idea of having a 5th baby when my Henry turned 3 years old. I was working a ton. We had a groove going in our house. The boys were getting older. And I dare I say it, life was getting “easy.” When Matt got sick in January 2012, it was devastating to us. He was diagnosed with a GIST tumor in his abdomen, and once it was removed, he was put on a chemo pill for 3 years (we’re a 1.5 years in). I prayed to my Nana every single night to make Matt OK. I was terrified for him. I was terrified for our family. I just wanted us all healthy.
It was during this difficult time in our life when I looked at Matt and said, “Let’s celebrate life and have another baby.”
I thought of my Nana and what I asked her before she died.
Was the time right?
On October 31, 2012, I found out I was pregnant.
On February 13, 2013, I found out our baby was a GIRL.
When the ultrasound technician told me it was a girl, my hands went to my face and I sobbed. Tears of joy. Tears of happiness. Tears that only my Nana understood. I looked to the heavens on that table and said, “Thank you, Nana.”
My daughter arrived on July 9th, 2013 via c-section. I named my daughter after my Nana, whose name was Florence… Victoria Florence Margaret McClelland.
I’ve never shared this before, but once when my Nana was sick in the hospital – before I even had my Henry – I told her she had to stay healthy to see me be a mother to all my guys. I distinctly remember once saying to her, you’ll have to see me with a little girl I could name Victoria, just like “Victory for having a girl!” I remember my Nana smiling at that.
My Victoria… she has a piece of my Nana in her, I know this. It’s in her eyes. It’s in her soul. It’s in her heart. My Nana sent me a beautiful gift.
It was a huge milestone for me having a baby girl.
Victoria is my 5th perfect little treasure… with all the beautiful moments of seeing her in this beautiful gift from my Nana…
I believe all babies are miracles. I believe all babies begin millions of milestones and moments in not only their lives, but a parent’s life, too. Birth is a milestone that is so special, so sacred, so powerful. This is why I’ve partnered with Shot@Life and its Blogust campaign, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation that is providing vaccines for children in some of the world’s hardest-to-reach places.
By leaving a comment on this post, Walgreens will donate a vaccine to a child in need. A child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease. This is an astounding reality. We can change this reality and help save lives, so please leave a comment here and share this post to any and all who’ll do the same. Each newborn child deserves a chance at milestones and moments and each parent deserves to see and experience these milestones and moments with their children.
Can a comment make a difference? With Blogust, it can. Each day we will bring you a personal story about moments that matter. Every time you comment, you will unlock a donation to purchase a life-saving vaccine for children around the world who need them most.
Thank you. xo