The summer of 2010, a sweet couple and their brand new baby girl moved to Snyder to work with the church here and get a little experience as an intern preacher. They had visited several times and stayed with us during one of those visits, so we had already decided that we loved them. They got here and dove right into their work, while balancing their new addition at home as well. The internship program lasts for two years, and we knew at the end of that time, they would be moving away from us to start their own mission work or to become a local preacher with another congregation. Even the knowledge that they would be leaving us soon couldn't stop this congregation from falling in love with them. I had great plans of all of the fun things we would do and how we could get together often, since we were both staying home with our babies. But life had other plans for us and the next two years went something like this:
Grigsbys: find out I'm expecting, find out about Harper's heart, deliver and spend a month in the NICU, heart surgery number one, life with three little ones under the age of three is completely overwhelming and there is absolutely no time for friendship, heart surgery number two, and all of a sudden we're saying good-bye to this family that just arrived (seems like).
So, maybe we didn't have tons of playdates or double-dates or even conversations that weren't constantly being interrupted, but I grew to love this family, their sense of humor, their compassion, their love of all things Aggie (well, maybe that's just Rance), but most of all, their love for God and desire to do His will. And their girls. You can't help but love their girls.
So, they took a job in Wyoming. (I mean...could you get any further?) And right after they left, Rance contacted me about flying up there for Alissa's birthday in September. I think he knew that things would be rough for her as she adjusted to life away from everyone she knows, starting all over in a new place, and having two that definitely still qualify as babies.
I, of course, jumped on the opportunity. And I wasn't even nervous about flying with Harper for her first time. She's always happy and pretty easy going, especially when she has my undivided attention.
I should have been.
The first flight went okay. She was a little on edge, but settled down once we got going. We had a layover in Denver that was pretty long, and since Harper is seemingly incapable of sleeping anywhere but in a bed, I had almost no hope for a nap for her. So we walked the huge airport, we rode the moving sidewalks hundreds of times (that's not a joke), we never stopped moving for almost 4 hours. Our plane was delayed and since it was a mechanical issue, there was no way of knowing if/when it would be fixed. By the fifth hour in Denver, Harper started to have screaming episodes. I could get her calmed down relatively quickly, but they became more frequent and it was taking longer and longer to calm her. There is absolutely nowhere to go in an airport that isn't among thousands of people, so I felt like I might as well have been on a stage, because we had quite the audience.
I was completely exhausted, extremely frustrated with our plane situation, and just about on the brink of tears when it happened. Harper started screaming and I did everything I knew to do to try and comfort her and make her happy, but there wasn't anything that was working. She was tired, frustrated, over-stimulated, and hungry, but wouldn't eat. I approached the counter in sheer desperation, begging them to tell me something. The not so helpful attendant informed me I could switch to the last flight out to Worland which was leaving in two hours, or wait this one out and see if it would leave sooner. If my original plane didn't end up going, the next flight out was the next day at 5:30 p.m. The idea of staying in that airport fr 24 more hours made me completely suicidal, so I asked to be switched to the flight that was probably/hopefully going to leave tonight. This whole conversation is going on while Harper is screaming uncontrollably, flailing her arms and legs, and swatting at my face....all while hundreds of people are staring at me. After securing my seat on the new plane (who would want to get on a plane that has had mechanical issues all day anyway?), I gathered up all our stuff and headed towards the stores. I bought fruit, chocolate, doritos, crackers, anything and everything that I thought Harper might eat. I spent 30 dollars on every kind of junk food available at that price-gouging store. I took Harper over to some empty chairs towards to middle of the airport and tried everything. She just got more angry. So it's been about 30 minutes straight of screaming and flailing. I didn't know what to do. I have never felt so helpless in all my life. I couldn't believe all of the people that just sat there staring at me and the pressure was just almost too much. I was begging God for mercy.
And that's when she walked up. A middle-aged lady in a black leather jacket, with an Australian accent. She patted me on the back and said, "can I give mama a break?" She took Harper from my arms and I willingly gave her up to a stranger. (I probably would have handed her over to Lucifer himself at this point.) Harper was so completely stunned that she stopped crying and just stared back and forth at me and this stranger lady for about 10 seconds. And then her head hit the lady's shoulder. She was out. I'm talking REM sleep within five seconds. Comatose.
I sat down on the floor and started sobbing. I couldn't even hold back the tears. And then I couldn't stop. I ugly cried for several minutes. It was such a relief to finally cry and it was completely humiliating. The exact same people who had been watching me all night were still staring at the freak show that was me, my baby, and this sweet stranger. I mean, really....how embarrassing.
I finally pulled myself together, went on and on and on thanking this lady, told her she was an answered prayer and how I KNEW God had sent her to me, I blessed her (like I'm the pope or something) and told her I would never, ever, ever forget what she had done for me.
Might have been the lowest moment of my life, which totally sounds like an over-exaggeration, but please trust me, it was awful.
Angel lady carefully handed Harper back over to me and went on her way. I slouched down in a chair holding my sweet, sleeping baby and proceeded to eat every bit of junk food I had just bought, until it was time to board. I managed to board the plane and get through the entire flight to Wyoming without waking Harper. We ended up getting back to Rance and Alissa's house a little after midnight (1:00 a.m. Texas time). Long day.
Before the meltdown.
After the Meltdown.
The next day we got up, ate a delicious breakfast, packed a cooler, and headed towards the mountains. I was completely taken with the beauty of everything and asked several times out loud, "now, why do I live in west Texas again?" God's creation is beautiful!
I know it looks like Raydon is teetering on the edge of a boulder, but Rance is back there holding onto her.
I loved watching the girls all play together.
We celebrated Alissa's birthday with steak, jalapeno poppers, potatoes, salad, and chocolate cake. SO delicious.
The day before I left we headed back to Cody and spent the night there since our flight would be leaving at 6:30 the next morning. We shopped along their charming square, ate at a delicious sandwich shop for supper, and did a lot of laughing and talking. It was great.
Goodbye, Wyoming. I'll be back!
People watching right outside the moving sidewalk.
So, even thought we got off to a really rough start, it ended up being a great trip! I'm SO thankful to Rance for bringing us up there to visit. It was really such a treat. And I loved their charming, little town. And their charming, little house. And the sweet people at the church. And the beauty that they get to enjoy every day. Mostly, I loved spending time with my sweet friend and her precious family.