Well, mostly bald. I was bald 4 weeks ago. Someone took an electric razor to my noggin and sheared me like a sheep. Balder than the day I was born.
It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and was one of the very best days of my entire life.
I know I should have written about this sooner, but you guys know me. You know I am the Queen Procrastinator. If there’s something I have to do, I’ll find anything and everything else to do, just so I don’t have to do what I have to do. One of my many character flaws, but I know you guys love me anyway. Or like me anyway. At least some of you like me. Maybe? I hope. *shrug* Ah well.
So there I was, in Chicago; one of my very favorite places on Earth, and we (that is, Christopher and I) were barely in the city when we went to meet The Closet Monster herself, Miss Deborah Bryan. I was squeeing all over myself on the way to her hotel room. When she opened the door, I could hardly contain my high-pitched, girly squee any longer. We hugged profusely and released mutual squees: “Hiiieeeeeeeeee!!!!!!” She and Chris hugged, too (not as profusely as she and I did though. I think it’s a girl thing. There was also no squeeing on Chris’s part. Again, it’s a girl thing.)
Then we loaded up into our super awesome car (we were able to borrow a Chevy Volt for our Chicago adventure weekend, because Chrisistotallylikethis with the Chevy folks after his last review of their Traverse several months back, when they invited him to attend a press event. My hubs is a rock star, yo.)
We then went to hang with my bestie from high school and her hubs at their mondo condo in the city, where we were shackin’ up for the weekend. It was a fabulous time. Sadly, the lovely, yet jet-lagged, Deb left “early”. There were no squees to be had then, but fear not, there would be more tomorrow!
In the morning, we decided to get together with Deb again before the St. Baldrick’s event for some delicious
alcoholic beverages brunch and pre-event conversation. More drunken good times were had and lots of greasy nutritious food was consumed.
At about 1:45, we finished up and headed over to the Candlelite, where the Donna’s Good Things, St Baldrick’s event was taking place. Chris and Deb were full of anxiety. I was full of Bloody Marys. I was also not at all nervous somehow. I was about to meet the most incredible people. I should have been a nervous wreck. One of those incredible people was the reason I was shaving my head in the first place. The inspiring and graceful woman who introduced me to her beautiful daughter and changed my life forever, Sheila Quirke. Better known as, Mary Tyler Mom. (who is even more adorable and sweet in person, btw.)
We walked in, and I took it all in for a moment. I had seen the place in photos from Donna’s Cancer Story. It felt so surreal to be standing there where little Donna celebrated birthdays with her family. Then I saw Sheila.
I tried not to cry. I really did. She touched my hair and it was such a sweet gesture. When we hugged, the floodgates just opened up and I cried all over her very cool denim jacket. I’m such a basket case.
Then we met Nikki of Moms Who Drink and Swear! And yes, she’s just as funny in person, but she’s also sweet and charming. I wanted to put her in my pocket and bring her home with me. Then I realized I had no pockets. Sadness.
And then the fabulous Katy of I Want a Dumpster Baby showed up! We hugged, we talked, I may have oogled her rack. Let me just say that she is also just as funny in person, and was not at all a spaz. Charming, lovely, gorgeous, and ever so cartoony. If there was an I Want a Dumpster Baby cartoon, I’d watch every episode. Twice.
There were so many people there, it was crazy. We were packed like sardines into this tiny restaurant so that we could all be a part of something bigger than us.
Sheila and Jeremy (Mary Tyler Dad) welcomed everyone and then the shaving began. Nikki ended up being the emcee for the day. I had hoped she’d be the one shaving my head, but it turned out they had a fancy schmancy salon volunteer to come in shear us for the event. We all got the fanciest buzz cuts ever.
They shaved 3 people at a time, so there were always others up there with us. So many beautiful people doing such selfless things that day. So much love. The serotonin levels in that room were dangerously high. We could have had a tsunami of joy at any given time. In all, there were about 40 women, men, and children who went bald by choice (or super short for the 2 little girls who participated) that day. I was in such incredible company. I don’t think I stopped smiling that entire weekend.
I met so many amazing people that I will never forget. There were the Shaving Shelleys all the way from Georgia! They came with their baby girl who was as about as cute as they come. I met the lovely Heather Kash, who was the rep for St. Baldrick’s. She seemed quite impressed with the turnout and had mentioned that she has never seen so many women shavees at an event before. It made me even more proud to be a part of the event.
I also got to meet a funny lady named Jes who had the most glorious, shiny, brunette locks. I was even more impressed when she told me she was also a shavee. She looks even more beautiful bald! I was also able to meet Jeremy Hornik, Sheila’s husband and Donna’s daddy, and I was lucky enough to get to meet little Jay. And yes, his hair is truly something special.
The day eventually started coming to a close, as days often do, and most of the people who came to the Candlelite for the DGT event went home and elsewhere with their newly shorn heads. Even Deb left to go have dinner with some friends she hadn’t seen in ages. And I just wasn’t ready to leave. I had hoped for a post-event shindig of sorts with myself and the remaining blogging folks. As luck would have it, Nikki, Katy, and Sheila were also sticking around to get better acquainted now that the bar was mostly empty.
Chris and I hung out a bit and when it was time to leave, Sheila invited everyone over for cheese sandwiches. Seriously. Nikki declined because she had a long drive home, and Katy had to return home to her DH and his fantasy baseball buddies. Chris and I didn’t have anything else to do, and I couldn’t imagine a better end to a perfect weekend, so we agreed to follow her home.
The rest of the evening was so special and overwhelming, that I can’t even put it into words that would do it justice, but I’ll try.
My bestie and her hubs also accompanied us to the Quirke-Hornik residence, and I was worried they’d bail on us because they’d be so bored. I mean, how much fun can you have on a Saturday night, hangin’ out in a basement, eating grilled cheese sandwiches and listening to Sheila’s dad tell the best stories ever? More fun than I ever thought possible, let me tell you.
As I sat there in their home, amongst so many things that I had seen only in pictures, and surrounded by people that I admire more than I can adequately express, it felt magical.
How did I get there? How was I able to read a story in September about a little girl that I had never met and be so touched by it that reading it would change the course of my life? And then somehow, 6 months later, by the grace of something so much bigger than me; bigger than all of us, I end up in the home of the very people who inspired me to shave my head. Cooking in their kitchen and telling Donna’s Da where my husband and I are from. How did that happen?
Honestly, I still don’t know how it happened. I’m just now coming down from the endorphin overload from that entire weekend, and I still can’t believe such amazing things could happen to and because of little ol’ me.
One thing is for certain though. That was the best grilled cheese sandwich ever.