Tuesday, November 15, 2011


November 5, 2011  ~  Claire & Lola
I'll be damned if this "special needs" journey isn't somethin' else.  Just when I think I've seen/heard/witnessed/experienced/etc. it all, something happens which leaves me literally speechless, and yo, you guys know THAT shit is rare.
Blue Ribbon for Embrace Sculpture at Weems International Artfest  ~  November 2011  ~  SO.  PROUD.
OK, so this past weekend, we went to Albuquerque, New Mexico for business (for my hubby... shameless plug for his amaaaaaazing blown glass HERE ~ Infinity Art Glass!!!).  We travel quite a bit each year to various fine art shows around the country for him to display and sell his art.  I've gone to this show multiple times in past years (we won't mention that fateful time maybe 3 years ago when I went & got deathly ill the last day of the show... high fever, delirious, shitting myself repeatedly (OK, I DID make it to "the head," in my defense!), completely incapacitated.  I literally SLEPT IN THE BOOTH BEHIND THE CHAIRS ALL DAY while Scott took care of selling the glass AND taking care of both dwarves while Lola was actually ill, too.  Yep, this delightful day not only marked total meltdown in the booth by Yours Truly, but it also marked the day Lola had her first seizure... which I hoped & prayed was febrile, but later learned was in fact NOT.  Dammit.  Longest parentheses explanation EVER.  Sorry 'bout that, but you KNOW I'm long-winded!).
In Daddy's bowl
But this time was different.  People in Albuquerque are so NICE.  They genuinely CARE about others there ~ it's refreshing!  OK, so day 1, we're setting up for the show, and the nicest lady (named Stacy) walks up and starts talking with me about the girls.  This is common, but every so often, someone TRULY cares, we have shared feelings/interests/situations, and we just CLICK.

Stacy and I got on a nutrition kick.  We discussed food allergies, gluten-free lifestyle, natural foods, healthy living, alternative medicine, homeopathics, chiropractic care, yadda yadda yadda, and we shared our stories, both of us diggin' what the other had to say.  After probably 20-30 minutes of chatting (while Scott worked his ass off!  HA!  Sorry, babe... LOL), she had to go, and I decided I probably SHOULD be helping, but Stacy wanted me to try some gluten-free crackers she'd fallen in love with & thought I might enjoy.  She vowed to come back by tomorrow with a sample, and I honestly didn't think she'd come, but oh... SHE SO DID.  And she not only brought a whole box for me & refused to let me pay her for them, but she brought something else with her -- yet ANOTHER gift.  Here's where it got interesting...

OK, so as Stacy left the booth after deliverin' the goods, she said, "Oh, and by the way... my Mom wanted to come by and give you something."  I'd not yet met her mother, didn't even know she was there, but was like, "Ummm, come again?  What?"  In walks Shirley, Stacy's Mom.  Apparently they had been talking about our family because she did seriously one of THE NICEST THINGS anyone has *EVER* done for me.

Yes, Shirley, a total stranger to me at this point, handed me $25 in cash & told me that she wanted me to do something nice for myself.  She wanted to hold Lola while I went down to get a chair massage that was being offered at the show.  She didn't know the cost, but she wanted to do this for me.  In true Gwen fashion, I told her I did PLENTY of nice things for myself, I DID get "time away," we had respite in place back in Kansas, we tried to get monthly massages at home, blah blah blah.  She said, "Honey, I am not leaving until you go do this.  Give me Lola, I will sit with your husband, and you are going to go get a chair massage.  Enjoy!"

Now, Shirley wasn't taking no shit from no one.  No wait, that's not right... she wasn't taking no PRISONERS!  No... she wasn't taking NO FOR AN ANSWER!!!!!  (Thank you, Tommy Boy!)  So I told her I would just go for a short time, and I'd bring her back the change.  When I got down there, it was $1/minute, so I decided I would do 15 minutes (felt guilty about that even!), and I'd take her back $10.  15 glorious minutes later, I did just that, and SHE REFUSED TO TAKE IT.  She passed back Lola to me (who was surprisingly calm & lovin' life in Shirley's arms!), said she'd be back tomorrow, and she was bringing with her another $5 so I could go again the next day for another 15 minutes.


Before she left, I thanked her, hugged her, and told her that this was seriously the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me.  I truly didn't feel worthy, but I SO appreciated it.  She looked me dead in the eye & said, "Jesus knew that I would do this for you, and that is why our paths crossed.  Jesus is in me, a part of me, He changed my life, and I am SO GLAD."  Of course, I started crying (as usual!), and I told her again how much it meant to me, this selfless gesture.  She told me to "pass it on."  I promised I would.

True to her word, Shirley came back the next day, and she was packin'.  She saw that I was busy with a customer, but she handed me some folded up money & said, "I'm going to come back & babysit again so you can go get another massage & maybe your husband can, too!"  After my customer left, I realized she hadn't just brought me $5... she slipped me a 20 spot.  Again, WTF?!

So, a few hours later when things had slowed down, Shirley came back, ordered me to go down for another 15 minute massage, and she said when I returned that Scott would also be going for 15 minutes as well!  She held Lola the whole time, who was LOVIN' HER SOME SHIRLEY!!!!!  (I personally wondered if Shirley (AKA The Dwarf Whisperer) might be interested in comin' back to the Hyatt Place around 3:00-ish am that night, but I figured that might be too awkward to ask... LOL)

Day 2 of massages was equally satisfying, but I still felt wrong taking her money... like maybe I shouldn't have used it for such a guilty pleasure.  But she insisted...

Again as we said goodbye that second day, we discussed why we were drawn together this weekend, why Jesus was such an important part of her life, why she felt compelled to do this for Scott & me.  Again, more tears (both of us), more hugs, and more gratitude.  There was just something so familiar about Shirley... something about her that felt like I'd known her for many, many years.  I'm still not able to pinpoint it, but suffice it to say, I will never forget Shirley or the precious moments I shared with her.  What a gift this weekend was...

Best boots on the planet... I want a pair!!!

Claire may or may not have been taking a dump in this picture... HA!  Observe 90-90 leg position, crouched form, arms straight out, eyes wide.  Oh yes... and all you Meet The Parents fans will totally get Scott's "poop" reference!!!

Claire ~ sitting like a lady!  One of my favorite pictures of her recently.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
~ John F. Kennedy



Lisa said...

Unbelievable. To have Jesus in your life is to BE like Jesus, Gwen. She truly has Jesus in her heart and was so sincere and compassionate. What a blessing. This post really touched me. It's not often we have stuff like this happen, I am so glad it happened to you!

Joyfullygrateful said...

"tears" ~ such compassion, such genuine love. Amazing grace ~ how sweet it is!

The Trials of a New Beginning! said...

This is such a beautiful experience for you! Its good to know that there is people out there that care !! an your girls are beautiful!!! wish i could hold them! when you decided to visit London let me know!!

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