I just want to say that we are doing okay. Know the last blog post about Gwendolyn's ANS issues was a bit heavy. It always takes us a few days to process. Writing often helps with that. The reality is nothing has changed. Having a new label that makes it clear she is facing a complicated problem, one not fully understood nor easily fixed, definitely feels overwhelming… Until stepping back and realizing nothing has really changed. With SMA, her life is at risk every single day. In fact, we routinely save her life — and, oddly, have grown accustomed to it. We don't know anything about dealing with heart attacks or the other potential risks of this new ANS issue… but we will learn. And we will keep living. Gwendolyn deserves us to be brave and continue to move forward. We must NEVER GIVE UP.
Getting this renewed pep in our step was really helped by a wonderful random act of kindness — several of them. We had a really lovely time in Carmel and for much of our stay just zoned out and didn't deal, but on our drive back home to Santa Barbara our hearts were a bit heavy. We happened to be driving by Los Alamos, a teeny tiny little town, just as Full of Life Flatbread was opening, so on a whim decided to have an early dinner there. This charming restaurant has quite the reputation but, with odd hours and location an hour north of home, we have never made it. The evening was gorgeous, the restaurant was inviting, and we immediately knew sitting under the twinkle lights with a glass of wine and some good food was just what we needed. And, Oh My Goodness, this food was A-mazing. Seriously the best pizza I've ever had — including in Italy! We had three full pizzas — just Bill and I. It was THAT good. This place should really be featured on those destination food shows because we will now be going out of our way to return!
And the atmosphere was just, well, really pleasant. Our server was really friendly. The owners came over to check in and were really nice and, to our surprise, sent over their special fresh peach dessert on the house. We also casually chatted with the family behind us. Their young son was playing in the garden and Gwendolyn peek-a-booed with him. We both had babies and talked about that. The chat was nothing out of the ordinary. No mention of Gwendolyn's disabilities. Just chit chat about the restaurant and children. They left and we exchanged niceties. But as we went to leave our waitress told us the family had paid for our dinner. The tears quietly filled my eyes and I didn't know what to say so our waitress just hugged me. And then the next morning we received a wonderfully kind and encouraging email from the restaurant owner. It was as if they all sensed we needed an extra hug.
This isn't the first time this type of thing has happened but they never cease to amaze us. These types of things — from generosity, to help with meals, to notes of encouragement, to general pleasantness, to people going out of their way to make life a little bit easier or to give Gwendolyn opportunities — truly make a difference in our life. On this journey with Gwendolyn, there have been many ups and downs, but people have been so incredibly kind and we are constantly reminded of the good in the world because of things like this. These reminders do so much in healing our hearts and helping us to carry on. And these acts of kindness remind us to also pay it forward.
I never feel I have adequately thanked people for their kindness. In fact, I feel inadequate to really even begin to express my full gratitude for how much others have helped lift us up on this journey. But I hope that you all know how wonderful your kindness is and how much it truly matters.
We will likely never see this family again. Though Gwendolyn's disabilities are clearly visible, it is doubtful they can begin to know the extent of what we all face. Perhaps they have been through something similar. Or perhaps they just simply wanted to be the good.
Thank you for being the good.