Last week my three little birds had a very special opportunity to honor their daddy. I was contacted by a friend of a friend who informed me that the floors in the arena at Shorewood High School were being refinished. He had heard our story and known of Mark’s connection to the high school so he suggested that we come in and write messages to Mark underneath the logo in the middle of the gym floor. What an incredible opportunity and special honor! The kids were giddy with excitement as I picked them up from school that day. We drove to the high school and chatted about what we all might draw or write on the floor as our message to daddy. Upon arrival, we pulled into the parking lot and found a space near the entrance to the arena. Just as I was turning the key in the ignition, Lucia pointed to my dashboard, enthusiastically exclaiming, “Look mom! Its 3:33 and its 33 degrees outside.” Yes, it sure was. As he often does, Mark was reminding us that he is always with us, especially during special family moments like this one.
To make this whole experience even more special, the Shorewood High School student council was hosting the 2nd Annual Hoops for Harris tournament, in honor of Mark, on Saturday morning. It was a 3 on 3 tournament which Cooper played in with four of his basketball teammates and dear friends, becoming among the first to play on the new floor with the secret messages to Mark hidden below.
The kids posed for a photo next to the greyhound’s head, where their special secret messages lie…
…And then next to the X which was painted on the floor in front of the score table, where basketball players for years to come will check into games played in this gym.
I continue to be awestruck by the love and support that has surrounded our family over the past year and a half following Mark’s death. I often feel like there are no words sufficient to convey how truly blessed I feel for the prayers, generosity and love from our family and friends and the loving community that has wrapped its arms around us, touching our lives and hearts. We have been deeply touched and endlessly impacted by the power of love and the beauty of the human spirit.
The Shorewood Student Council had graciously intended for funds from the Hoops for Harris event to go to a college fund for my kids. However, I have asked that the proceeds be donated to the Mark Harris Fellowship Program , which aims at mentoring and guiding students toward successful college careers and beyond.
To learn more about the program, please visit http://www.markharrisfellowship.com
The Mark Harris Fellowship board is hosting a fundraising event at Flux Design on April 30th. All proceeds will benefit students selected for the program.
**UPDATE–On April 20, 2016 TMJ4 aired a story about the secret messages on the gym floor. I was incredibly nervous because I much prefer being on the other side of the lens, but of course I did it for my kids since they won’t truly understand the significance and the gravity of all that we have experienced until they are much older. The piece turned out beautifully and we will treasure it for years to come. You can view the story here.