Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Ball: notes from Cinderella herownself

This weekend was the Imua Ball.

I know I have talked about it kind of exhaustively, but there are 2 reasons for that:

1. Imua does good work and this is a cause worth supporting if you have any interest in supporting Early Childhood Development initiatives.

2. I went for it, man. I really went all the way. You say "ball", I say "gown".


Now that I have typed it and said it out loud a few times, I have an announcement:
Gown is a funny word.

So before I get to the pictures, I just want to once again say a few words about Imua. They provide services for the children of Maui County that are somehow, in some way, struggling to keep up. They are missing milestones - for a myriad of reasons, whether it is autism, a birth defect, maternal drug and alcohol use, or for some unexplained reason that needs to be addressed regardless of diagnosis.

Imua (eeMOOah) in Hawaiian means first; front; ahead; forward; number one. This organization is about putting children's needs before our own, investing in the success of our future by helping children succeed from the beginning. They offer many different types of therapy, and their staff come to the family's home to work with the kids one on one. And that is why I insist that each of our foster children are assessed by Imua - I want to know that, even after they leave our family, they will continue to receive support and care, and that adults I know and trust will be checking on them regularly in their new home. It gives me no small amount of peace, honestly. It can be months between social worker visits, but Imua arrives like clockwork on a monthly, weekly, sometimes DAILY schedule.

They are my guardian angels, in real life.

And now for the photos.
Oh, the photos.

First I want to clarify something: I decided long in advance that if we were going to the ball, we were going to spend the night at the hotel - the drive is long, and sometimes dangerous, and there is only one road that leads to that part of the island - a road that can be closed for hours due to a car accident or fire - both of which happen on a semi-regular basis, unfortunately. The last thing I wanted to do was worry about being stranded overnight far from home. And then, of course, there was the fact that it was a hotel. With a pool and a hot tub and room services and a breakfast buffet. So, yeah. We spent the night.

And early check in - HOLLAH.

The staff at the hotel just couldn't have been nicer - not only did they find a room ready for us when we arrived at noon instead of 3 or 4pm, they sent up a roll-away and a huge dessert platter that was inhaled by the kids during the evening. I was nervous about splurging on a hotel room right now, but in the end it was totally worth it. It all worked out very well. Very well indeed.

The hallway outside the event, during set-up.
I would have offered to help but PALM TREES

Early check-in meant a few hours by the pool 
before I drove back to town for hair and makeup. 
I would like to thank the Hyatt for coordinating 
their towels to my bathing suit. Very accommodating.

The hair was less accommodating. 
A bit of a project, actually.

But in the end, it really came together.

A feat of engineering, in my opinion.

When I attempted to return to the hotel to get ready, 
there was an enormous traffic jam due to 
numerous formal events that evening.
I was not the only one on the highway with an updo 
who was applying makeup in my rearview mirror en route. 
I had a moment to do some touchups 
before I headed downstairs, but some stuff just didn't happen.

Ironing my dress, for example, was not in the cards.

Due to the traffic, the event started a bit slowly.
People were sharing panicked texts from attendees
who were seriously delayed and not pleased about it.

I was relieved, actually.
The quiet beginning gave me a chance to rock Ella to sleep.
Sam took her up to the room with the other kids, 
and then he came back down to join me for dinner 
while she slept. Perfect timing. 

As people took their seats, there were dancers 
scattered around the ballroom.

There were some announcements, words of thanks, 
and a live auction. 

Dinner was a glorious affair.
Delicious and beautiful and lots of it.

Sephora had makeup artists in the lobby 
to touch up everyone's makeup after dinner.

And then there was a fashion show.
Student and professional designs were modeled.
And then the after party began in the next room.

I got a text that Ella was awake and needed me.
So I jumped in the elevator and headed upstairs.

Real life was calling. 
But it was such a lovely dream to wake up from.

If you are interested in learning more or making a donation to 
Imua Family Services, you can click HERE

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