Miss Prairie Fire. This was the title we picked when my Rosie was chosen to compete in the Miss Kansas Teen USA pageant. Why? We figured Miss Olathe was already taken (she was applying exactly on the deadline) and couldn't come up with anything compelling. Our photographer and good friend, Lori Habiger of CenterStage Photography came up with Prairie Fire. We liked it and it stuck. At the time, we didn't know how fitting it would be.
Fire. It's a powerful force and as I sit here in Mulvane, Kansas after watching my teen have an amazing time, despite not feeling well, I have to say that she is too. For those of you that are not familiar with our story, Jaiden Rose is not only chronically ill, she was in the hospital for over a month and was released with a feeding tube. We gave her the choice to continue to compete and she was determined to do so, whether she had a tube or not. You see, she's competing in this pageant to bring awareness to invisible illness and disability. What better way to do it then to proudly walk on stage.
A week ago, she sat at the dinner table and pulled three feet of tube out of her belly herself. While she really hadn't been able to eat full meals. she was sick of it. She'd gone to the mall and had people stare at her. Gone through all her pageant prep hooked up to a feed. She wanted it over and while it hurt coming out, the look on her face says it all.
We arrived in Mulvane late Thanksgiving night and yesterday was pageant arrival day. Honestly, it's the day my daughter has been dreaming about since she wrote that she wanted to be in a pageant at the top of a bucket list in 6th grade. It was clear her dreams were going to come true. She looked beautiful with her fiery red scarf.
After a long day of pictures, we had the banquet last night. Rosie finally had the chance to wear one of the dresses we bought for the homecomings she wasn't able to attend. And, she indulged her Mama with a selfie, even though she was sick of smiling.
After the girls danced like crazy, they went into late night rehearsals and I went up to bed. Of course, I didn't sleep. I tossed and turned worried about how my teen was feeling after a very full day. Keeping my fingers crossed that she'll hold up all weekend but she's determined.
I want to say thank you to everyone who supported us on this journey. First, to all the family and friends that provided the emotional support that we needed to get ourselves the hell out of the hospital and here to compete. A big shout-out to everyone who donated through Go Fund Me. I can't begin to tell you how expensive this is and with medical bills we couldn't have afforded to do this. Thanks to Lisa Forbes of Winning Edge Pageant Coaching for giving my child the confidence to compete. We weren't able to spend much time with her with our hospital stay, but it was enough to give Rosie a boost.
Finally, thank you to the following businesses that didn't hesitate to write a check to help get us here.
- Thanks to my mom, Judith Clem. If you have thinning hair or just want fuller, stronger hair, you'll need to check out Monat.
- Big Thanks to CenterStage Photography for making magic with my teen since kindergarten. When you get Lori and Rosie out in a field, amazing things happen.
- I met Nancy Staley Mateos, when she was flipping houses as a side business. Shortly after, she decided to go into the real estate business herself. She's not only someone I trust, she's a person that has an eye for a deal and keeps her clients needs first.
- For over a decade, Michael Searcy of Searcy Financial Services, has not only been a mentor and a friend, he's been the guy I trust in the investment world. Whether you have a small rollover for their Allos division or need comprehensive money management, you need to give them a call.
- Love to pamper yourself? You'll want to check out Massage Envy-Deer Creek. They have a membership based model that makes massage affordable. They're also looking for massage therapists and will pay for massage school for the right candidate. If that interests you, please follow up with Jim Mellon.
- Thanks to Channa Clemons of TanPerfekt. I met her at a networking event and she signed on as our tanning sponsor on the spot.
- Shout out to Brooke of Blushing Noir for surprising Rosie in the hospital with a big box of make-up. It's being used this weekend!
Thanks to everyone for voting for Rosie in the People's Choice Awards. All the funds go to charity and the winner is guaranteed a spot in the finals. If you'd like to watch the events live, tonight is the Prelims, tomorrow the finals. You can do so here. You will have to register and there is a $16 fee (told you this was expensive).