It’s been a while since I wrote to you guys without feeling like a piece of me wasn’t missing. I’ve been holding myself back. Keeping all the things I truly feel hidden where I only show the few folks that don’t mind being brought down with me. Honestly, I’ve been afraid to share the negative, scary, life-changing thoughts that pop up on me these days. I’ve been afraid of what I’ll write.
Terrible way to start out a blog, but I want to tell you the truth. Today I am back. And all you’re going to get is honesty from me.
Did you know I started at Matilda Jane as a packer on September 1st 2008? I was a bright eyed 19 year old that walked into the office/cutting-ironing-folding-room at Fairfield manor like “a ball of sunshine.” Denise’s words, not mine. I think of myself more as a tornado? But that’s because I tend to mess up everywhere I go. But she always has a way of seeing the best in people, doesn’t she?
I remember my first week packing orders in that tiny packing room AKA dining room in a one bedroom apartment. I remember meeting Chris and Becky and loving that these two adults thought I was funny. And Chris wanted to take me to American Idol. And Becky bought me this Mary-Kate and Ashley book for my first MJC Birthday. Oh, and I remember the smell of that place. I still can’t smell cinnamon without thinking of Fairfield Manor.
It was a quick 5 months at Fairfield Manor for me and off we were moving into the brick building we all know and love as “435.”
435 is where everything came to life for me. Or fell into place. Or exploded with love? I never fit in somewhere like I did at Matilda Jane. I found myself in the fabrics, the people, the jokes, and the culture.
It took a while for me to get to know Denise since she tended to work at night (like a little elf in her workshop), but you could feel her presence everywhere. The only thing I was REALLY surprised by when we did finally work together was how funny she is!! And nice. But niceness doesn’t tend to surprise me, it’s kinda something I expect in people more than I should maybe.
I remember the first time she looked across the cutting table at me and said “I think you’re smart.” That might have been the most powerful sentence she could have said to me. That might be the reason I’m still here at this unpredictable company today. And that’s all it took. You never know the impact your words can make on someone. I knew then I would never want to let this lady down. I would work hard to always ensure that when she thought of Sam McDonald it was “Dang, she’s smart.”
Now that friend, boss, sister, hero, mentor of mine is sick. I hate even writing it. And I hate telling you how many times I’ve wanted to break and stop working, living, smiling, sleeping, eating, etc., because of it. The week before Art Fair I thought “This is it, Sam. You can’t do this alone.” But instead of falling, I stood stronger than I ever have. Along with the desire to breakdown, I had more passion than ever before to do Matilda Jane proud. To do DENISE proud.
There’s not much I can do for Denise that others aren’t already doing. She’s been lifted and surrounded by your love. She’s had her best friends and favorite people visit her in Houston. And she’s being taken care of by some of the best doctors in the country! So what could I really do for her that they aren’t already doing? It’s hard. It’s hard being so far away from someone you’ve had a phenomenal connection to for the past 3 1/2 years.
Well, to be honest, I knew what I was going to do but Denise said no. She flat out told me the next day after her first surgery that I could not shave my head if she lost her hair. Then two weeks later I say it again and she says no. And then a week after that she says I can cut 6 inches. (She’s bossy, huh?!) That’s all I needed to hear! After work one day I walked up to my mirror and started chopping. First 8 inches, then 2 more, then 3 more… And finally I had a short bob that made me look “put together” or so I’ve been told. (Oddly enough I didn’t like hearing that!! ha!)
At that point I knew I was going to shave my head. She might not have, but I did. There’s no way I was cutting off all my hair for a bob, I was cutting off all my hair so that I could show her I CAN DO THIS. I can do this WITH YOU. It’s the only part of this new journey I feel like I could share with her. It was never a thought in my head that I wasn’t going to do it.
And that brings me to the fact that shaving my head yesterday morning was almost a selfish act for me. As much as I did it for Denise, I did it for myself too. So that I could feel closer to her. I’ve never missed someone so much. I miss her presence. I know we all do.
I’m glad to say I’ll be visiting Denise in Houston at the end of this week. Actually Kayla and I both are making the trip! I couldn’t be more excited. All I wanna do is sit on a couch with her. That’s something we never do!! But it’s all I want. The simplest thing with one of my most complicated counterparts. I’ll be sure to let you know how amazing our week is! I can hardly wait.
And here’s something you won’t see everyday, a stunning photo of Denise with her new ‘do’ too! I LOVE IT.