Having your face on a billboard in Times Square does not suck. Nope, not even a little. A once in a lifetime gift that came bundled with some surprising lessons.
As part of a company promotion, I had the privilege of having my photo on a billboard in Times Square along with 3 of my dear friends, Casie, Stephanie & Connie. Our pictures were the representation of the hard work of many incredible women on our teams, and we were each incredibly grateful.
We planned our trip for months; it would be the ultimate New York City trip, husbands, kids and all. The best holiday vacation with the bonus of seeing our faces in Times Square…what more could be want?!
For the record, I did NOT bring ALL of MY family. Just one daughter, Ella. Makenzie, my first-born, is 28, married and has three kids. I assumed, which was wrong, it would be too hard for her to go because I’m a mean, thoughtless mom.
She sent this text when I arrived in NYC,
“Mom, I’m writing a book too, its called “First Born – the Forgotten Child,”
probably should have bought her a ticket too.
The big day arrived; seeing our FACES, in TIMES SQUARE, on a BILLBOARD, bigger than Dallas, for the world to see! We practically skipped to the ABC Studios billboard from our hotels!
First up, Casie. It was the perfect photo of Casie radiating joy as she saw her face appear on a jumbo screen. Connie…again, nailed it. The joy, excitement, and her kids seeing mommy up there, it was beautiful! Stephanie…her arms stretched out wide and her face beaming in her photo of a lifetime. I WAS NEXT!
I was ready; my back to the billboard, my daughter, standing next to me…it was about to happen.
Here it ….
“Dawn! You’re up.”
“AHHHHHHH!!!” I was screaming on the inside.
My husband lifts the camera, and starts taking the photos.
I’m beaming from ear to ear! My friends are cheering. It was this perfect, unforgettable, beautiful moment of joy…for about 30 seconds.
Then, it was over.
Immediately, it hits me; I never turned around. I never actually SAW myself on a billboard in Times Square. I missed the whole thing.
Take a deep breath; it’s ok, Craig got it all on film.
He did not.
In fact, he did not get a single, solitary, photo, and neither did anyone else.
Not one.
The tears came immediately, streaming down my face.
Anger was suddenly coursing through my body. HOW DID HE DO THIS? How did he mess up getting even ONE picture? I was plotting his death in my mind and wondering where I could hide the body in Times Square. I knew that from this moment on I would NEVER speak to him again, never. Not one time. I didn’t care how horrible he felt or what the sob story was of the camera button not working; I didn’t care.
I MAY have overreacted a wee bit. The ad would be back up in 5 hours, and Craig sweetly said we would come back and get the photos. He apologized profusely, and I knew he felt awful. Still, at that moment, I DID NOT CARE, I wanted to punch him.
5 hours later, we did go back, and he DID get many incredible photos. Best of all, I SAW the ad with my own eyes, that was my favorite moment, just seeing it. I was taking it all in, thinking about the most driven and passionate team that made a Million Dollar Miracle happen. Most of all, my reason for all of it, my sister Kim.
Had things NOT gone wrong the first time, I would not have seen it. Had it NOT gone wrong, I wouldn’t have had time to think it all over, to remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, it’s just a picture. It isn’t ME, or who I am. It doesn’t capture my life or what I am about. It doesn’t show the faces of the women that made it happen. I can’t change the world with it and I certainly can’t make anyone happier with it (except maybe my mom and dad).
My favorite part of my weekend was NOT seeing the billboard. Instead, it was all the things I didn’t plan for. Like spending time with Casie, Stephanie & Connie and getting to know each other’s families even better. It was seeing how much my husband loved me by the devastation on his face when he realized he missed the billboard moment, (he really is wonderful, and I will definitely keep him). It was freezing in the snow because none of us had the appropriate attire, but we didn’t care because we were watching our kids playing in the snow for the first time. It was the little things that made the big weekend.
I went on a trip to NYC for a once in a lifetime moment, to see myself on a billboard in Times Square.
Instead, I remembered that I don’t want ONE “once in a lifetime moment”; I want a lifetime filled with little joy moments with my family and friends. It’s the ultimate JOY, when you least expect it.
Don’t miss all of God’s joy moments because you are looking for the big BILLBOARD moments in life. The happiest lives are made up of lots of little joyful blessings, not just ONE billboard moment.