This past weekend we attended our first ever SmileFest! The mother of a beautiful baby boy born with a cleft lip and palate created the event in 2011. She created the festival as a way to bring children and adults together to celebrate the many beautiful faces of kiddos born with cleft lips and/or palates in New Mexico. Research has shown that babies born with a cleft have a significantly higher chance of suffering from depression and low self-esteem in early childhood when compared to babies without clefts. And while this is a true statistic, this one mama set out on her own to make a difference and show our NM babies that they are all beautiful and special in their own unique way. I for one think it’s just amazing that she did this.
The event had a rock climbing wall, live music, face painting, a dunk tank, jumpers and carnival games, and while Grace was too little to partake in these festivities, it was still such a wonderful experience just being there. We were joined by our moms and ended up running into quite a few people that we have met throughout our journey with Gracie’s lip. Her AMAZING plastic surgeon, Dr. C was not only present but was the willing participant in the dunk tank game. The line of kids for the dunk tank stretched around the bin all waiting to dunk their doctor. Poor Dr. C… he was in the water more often than not – what a sport!
Baby girl decided to skip her mid-morning nap the day of SmileFest so she only lasted about an hour before passing out. Luckily, she can sleep through anything so we stayed to eat and listen to the band. On our way out, we received a gift bag with a teenie tiny SmileFest T-shirt for baby girl. It made us so happy to think of all the SmileFests to come and how much fun Gracie is going to have growing up as a part of this event.
Here are a few more pictures of our afternoon :)
The next time I hear someone say that one person can’t make a difference, I am going to tell them the story of one mom’s mission – SmileFest. :)