|November 5, 2011 ~ Claire & Lola|
|Blue Ribbon for Embrace Sculpture at Weems International Artfest ~ November 2011 ~ SO. PROUD.|
|In Daddy's bowl|
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.
WHAT THE HELL!??!??!
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