December 15, 2000 was the day I found out what my purpose in life was. My beautiful baby girl Britney Lee was born. From this day forward I knew she was sent to complete me. I found fulfillment in everything that was her. As every mother does, we live to make our children happy. Seeing her smile was enough to make any day complete. She was all I ever needed and all I ever wanted. I am the stepmom to two amazing boys so having a girl that I could dress up in pink and do girly things with was a dream come true. Well, I did get to dress her up but by the end of the day, that pretty pink outfit was covered in mud along with a big smile on her face. She loved adventure, she loved to ride horses and a day was not complete unless she made someone else smile. Her laughter was contagious, her spirit was fierce and she lived everyday to the fullest. Britney’s biggest gift to the world was exactly what she brought to me, sunshine, love and hope.
Feb 6, 2018 I lost my sunshine. My beautiful Britney Lee and her best friend, Santia, were killed by a 99 year old driving an RV at night with no headlights the wrong way on a divided highway. Even as I write this it still takes my breath away. I lost everything that I lived for. To say I went down a dark path would be an understatement. I lost my will to live. I found strength through my husband and strength through none other than Britney Lee.
Britney’s friends and family started reaching out to me. They wanted to share their stories about how much she impacted their lives. The stories always begin with “Britney showed me how...Britney helped me so much….Britney gave me strength...Britney made me laugh when I wanted to cry.” The more stories I heard, the more I knew I had to do something to keep her memory alive. The more I heard, I realized I am still her mom, will always be her mom and it is my responsibility as her mother to continue to spread her sunshine. Britney Lee once again gave me a purpose, the same purpose I found on Dec 15, 2000…being her mother.
Britney Lee Foundation was formed out of heartache and hope. Our mission is to “Spread the fearless spirit of Britney Lee to those that could use a bit of sunshine in their life.” Our first event was a country music festival to honor both Britney Lee and Santia. The TIA LEE Festival brought the community together to celebrate these two beautiful souls. Our fundraising efforts and follow up festival was dampened by Covid, but we still managed to spread some Britney Lee Sunshine through virtual events. We try to focus on anything that will bring a smile to someone’s face. One of my favorites is our Ice Cream and Pinwheels give-away. It is so nice to see children excited over ice cream! Easter and Christmas we make sure families in need have presents and Easter baskets. We try to support charities that encourage children that are experiencing heartache or children that give back to the community themselves.
I look at my story and when I hear people tell me I am strong, I can now think, I am not strong, I am a mother celebrating my child. Any strength that I do have is actually love….love for my Britney Lee. I am just a mother spreading my daughter’s sunshine, keeping her memory alive and solidifying her legacy.
I have known Melissa, Founder of Tiny Tags, since childhood and my Circle Pendant Tiny Tags necklace represents my happiness, my sunshine Britney Lee. Melissa captured Britney Lee’s true spirit by spreading some Britney Lee Sunshine to me, Britney’s mother. The Circle Pendant also represents life becoming “full circle”…a series of circumstances that leads back to the original source…a mother’s love for her child.
I proudly wear my Tiny Tags necklace in memory of my daughter, but also as a testament to friendship, love and being a mother.