So continuing on... we were hanging on financially by a thread. Anxiety was high- I can't tell you how much time I spent sitting in my office chair, staring our the window, almost numb with worry because I couldn't see how I was going to keep going.
Anyways, December came. It was cold and I was sick. Lying in bed, sneezing and blowing my nose until I felt like it would fall off- I was not a happy camper. I heard the phone ringing in the office, but couldn't be bothered getting out of my warm bed to get it. A few hours later, as I trudged from my bedroom to the kitchen in search of food, I decided I might as well check the message. I couldn't believe what I was hearing- it was a lady from the Massachusetts Bankers Association telling me that Project Smile had been selected for a $10,000 donation from the Mass. Bankers Charitable Foundation.
The moment felt unreal. So unreal, I didn't even cry out of excitement. I played the message twice to make sure the woman was calling to actually speak with Project Smile. I picked up the phone and called her back, still not believing it was real. She picked up her phone and yes, it was real. Not a joke, not a mistake, it was $10,000 and it was for Project Smile. We chose a date for the check presentation, they would come to the office (my one room) and deliver the check personally. I hung up the phone and I still couldn't believe it. In that moment, I felt like the luckiest woman in the world. A giant cloud had been lifted and all of a sudden there was light in our future. But still, being the worrier I was, I didn't want to fully believe it until the check was in hand. I kept thinking that something would happen, that I would get a call saying it was a mistake. I couldn't quite believe that such a giant hand had come to help us up.
The marketing director of the Milford National Bank had nominated us for the grant a few months earlier after our donation to the children affected by Katrina. She had mentioned it to me then, I had forgotten all about it, not really thinking that anything would come of it. Her nomination is something that I will be eternally grateful for.
My worries were for nothing. It wasn't a mistake. The check presentation ceremony was held- it was the first time we actually had visitors in our office. It wasn't until I had deposited the check and got back in my car and looked at the deposit slip, that I cried. I remember staring at it and thinking how I never thought this moment would come. I never thought that I could get people to believe in what I was doing enough to donate money that would allow us to keep going. But now, in a huge way, it had happened. The incredible pressure was lifted, not completely, but lifted enough that I knew we could be OK. Up until this moment, every day had been a fight for survival and although it is still difficult and we are constantly fighting to continue, it is never as bad as it was that first year and a half.