… meeting her hero

I am not typically star struck …

I have met Presidents, had dinner with a room full of the most powerful men and women in our country, shared a glass of wine with the Speaker of the House and bumped into Tom Cruise, no literally bumped into him!  I have met movie stars, sang on stage with some of country’s most popular and have walked the fairways with champions.

But this day was different.  This was not an event that I had spent months preparing for, there were no ball gowns or tuxedos, no centerpieces that would grace the table of a $500 a plate dinner, there was not the day of where you lose your mind making sure everything is perfectly executed.  It was just another day in our hometown and one of our many trips to WalMart.  As I rounded the corner there he stood.  Tall, handsome, a cowboy in every sense of the word …

Mr. Drummond, hi my name is Pam Forester … (he shook my hand) and I would like to introduce you to your wife’s biggest fan.

I think it took him a minute to realize that it wasn’t me, but actually this blonde hair, bow wearing little girl in a purple wheelchair looking up at him with the biggest grin I have ever seen.

Come with me, he said

He led us through the aisles of WalMart as he if had walked them dozens of times, suddenly I realized what he was doing.  We were going to find Ree.  There were rows and rows of people watching us walk by and I am certain I told him over and over that really we would wait in line, it was no problem.  He wouldn’t hear of it and picked up his pace a bit, almost as if he didn’t get me to where we were going fast enough I was going to duck into an aisle and find our place amongst the crowd.  And just like that, there she was.  I spend hours a day with this woman, she is like a part of our family.  She was exactly as I had imagined her.

Honey look who I found … (can I please just say how much I love how Ladd and Ree call each other honey ALL the time?)

And then I heard her say in the most genuine and real voice, as if she sees this little girl everyday … Elizabeth!!  And suddenly, I was star struck.  Ree immediately stopped what she was doing and walked over to Elizabeth, bent down and actually talked to her.  It was the single most happiest moment of Elizabeth’s little life.  I could hear the shutters of all the cameras as they took picture after picture of this duo having no idea just what this meeting truly meant to us.  I was asked to join Elizabeth and Ree for a picture but chose not to intrude.

No, this day belongs to Elizabeth.  This is her time, not mine.

Ree took Elizabeth over to the table she was sitting at and pulled the wheelchair next to her and continued signing cookbooks and taking pictures, all the while talking to Elizabeth always with a hand on Elizabeth or her wheelchair. Typically I stand very close to Elizabeth and speak for her, answer questions that people ask her. But this day I was not needed, this day Elizabeth had her own voice and Ree listened, carried on with her, almost as if they understood one another. This day, Elizabeth had found her independence.

I stepped aside to let Elizabeth have this moment with her hero.  Ladd came over next to me and as we visited I noticed Elizabeth kept looking over our way and blowing kisses.  I looked at Ladd and then back at Elizabeth and realized that my little girl was flirting with Marlboro Man!  He went over and knelt beside her …. I’m pretty sure that picture of her looking at him with that smile of hers says more than I ever could!

The 30 minutes we spent with Ladd and Ree that afternoon left an impression much stronger, much deeper than any President I have spoken to, any room full of our country’s most powerful or any stage I have stood on with a favorite country star.  Not because Ree is The Pioneer Woman, but because that day she became a friend to Elizabeth; because even with all the cameras, fans and a schedule to adhere to she took the time to make a little girls dream come true.  I show Elizabeth the pictures of her grand adventure every evening as we sit through our last feeding of the night, Ree on TV cooking something magical in that kitchen I have come to love.  She smiles, laughs and says hi with every picture, except for the ones with Ladd, then she blows kisses!  Cooking with Elizabeth has become so much more fun now that we have Ree’s cookware to use.  Elizabeth picks out our dishes and silverware with the click of her tongue and if she doesn’t like the bowl I choose she is quick to let me know which one she wants to cook with!  In case you are wondering, Elizabeth is loving the polka dots!!

There are days that even I didn’t understand how one little girl could become so close to someone she had never met.  Ree has brought Elizabeth such comfort in our greatest times of need and there is a calmness that only Ree can bring to Elizabeth when her world is totally upside down.  So with that, it is with the most heartfelt appreciation we say thank you to Ree and Ladd for their time and kindness towards Elizabeth and for our new friendship.

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