See Mommy Work

The balloons left over from the office party were going to get popped, but I had a different idea for them.  I’m as overwhelmed as every other Mom I know the week before Christmas, but I figured this is precisely the reason why it is so important to stop and take time to think of others and do these acts of kindness.

I corralled about 30 helium balloons to take out to my car.  As soon as I stepped outside, the wind tangled them all up in a bind and cold rain pelted them and me.  I had to catch myself from grumbling about it.  I felt bad about losing the spirit of the good deeds when I realized it would not always be as easy as opening my wallet.  In many cases, it is time that matters more than money.

I think it means more coming from me when I give my time, because right now I do value time more than money.  (Wow that was deep…)

Anyway, I took the balloons and tied a few up into bunches for delivery around town as I did some errands.  The first bunch went to my local behavioral health center where I volunteer.  I just left the balloons tied to the hand sanitizer at the reception desk with my note.  When I turned to leave, the room looked cheerier and I noticed people smiling when they saw them.  That little bit gave me some immediate gratification, and it felt pretty good.

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Today a casual acquaintance was not in her office when I expected her to be so I texted her to see what was up.  She texted back that she was at the ER for some non life threatening health issue that flared up unexpectedly.

I texted her back to say “no problem” but then I thought about what it must be like to be at the ER, by yourself, with no family around as I know her situation to be.

I decided this act was going to be about pressing her on the issue to make sure she was really OK and not just saying the polite thing.  Even though at this point I felt I was approaching the line of Annoying Stalker, I offered to meet her there with lunch, or a snack, or even just to be there for no other reason.  You never know when doctor talk is going to get so deep and serious that you need a second set of ears to check for understanding.

She said no, but since you also never know anymore if people are serious when they say they don’t need help, I really pressed her to make sure.  And you know what? Even though in the end she really did not need me there with her, she commented later about how nice it was to know someone cared about her and was there, just in case.

In our society we are taught to be self-sufficient, strong, and need no one other than ourselves.  We need to un-learn how to be strong, and re-learn how to be open to be cared for by others…and how to take care of each other too.

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I simply cannot imagine how difficult it must be to be a teacher this week.  Or a principal, or any adult working in our schools.  It is their job to keep them safe from dangers while they are  in school, it is OUR job to keep danger and evil out of school.  We have failed.

My act of kindness in this case is kind of an apology.  I wrote a note to my son’s teachers to let them know I was thinking of them and also to tell them that what happened last week was a result of our failure, not theirs.  And I promise to do my part to make it better.

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It occurred to me that most of us don’t have direct access to people who really need help.  Most of us are fortunate to run in circles of the people who offer help.  I wanted to shift my acts to get to those who really need it, so I decided to visit a local thrift shop.

I wrote a note explaining my gift and what it was for.  I asked the clerk at the desk inside the clothing store if she knew of any families who could use a bag of clothes from the shop.  Of course she had someone in mind right away.  I asked her if she would give my pre-paid bag to a family who could fill it with what they wanted when they came in, along with my note of explanation.

This one felt really great, and makes me want to look for more ways to make a difference where it is most needed.  Although right now, we are all a bit wounded in spirit, so I still think the little things mean a lot.

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I made Christmas cookies for my hairdresser.  I was walking to her shop to deliver them when I saw a homeless man walking, looking disheveled, and carrying two dirty plastic bags.

I thought about giving him the cookies and almost didn’t because I was afraid his reaction might be one of disgust.  This man needs so much, what good can cookies do?  I stopped, looked him in the eye and asked him if he wanted them.  He kind of grunted as he held out his hand to take my humble offering.

“Merry Christmas,” I said.  When I walked away it felt like there was still some unfinished business between us.  It made me want to give him more.

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I wrote a messy note of explanation on a napkin in my car while passing through the Dunkin drive through this morning.  I asked the cashier to hand it to the lady behind me and pay her tab.  I was nervous, I don’t know why.

As I drove away I thought about how nice it would feel if someone did this for me, and how awesome it would be to start a chain reaction of random acts of kindness here in the northern Adirondacks of NY.  I hope she pays it forward, or at least tells her friends.

It felt good to react to this tragedy in a positive way instead of shedding tears of sorrow.  I want to do more.

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I’m sharing my #26Acts of kindness to honor the memory of the innocent lives lost in Newtown.  I believe the best way to fight evil is to do good.  I hope these small gestures spread the movement of caring and help us all to heal.

 

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