Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Acts of Kindness

It's Wednesday already, and my goal when I started this blog was to try to post at least Monday through Thursday...and now I've missed two days!  It has been really hard for me to think about writing something frivolous about my life when such sad things are happening in Connecticut.  I've really felt on edge emotion-wise since Friday, and at a loss for words.  I've been trying to spend a lot of time with the kids doing what they want to do, which does not include watching Mommy type on her computer.  I'm getting back on the horse and attempting some normalcy today--bear with me if this is a bit rocky, since that's pretty much how I feel.

I think it goes without saying that all of us are holding our kids a little tighter the last few days.  I always put a note in Abby's lunch box every day, just reminding her that I love her and including a little encouragement for her day--sometimes reminding her to work on a spelling word that has been giving her trouble, sometimes just asking her to smile.  On Monday, she came home from school and told me that she got the longest note that she's ever gotten in her lunch, and it was true--I was super emotional sending her out the door that morning, and my note reflected some of my anxiety.

I hugged and kissed Jake so much at bedtime the other night that he finally said, "Um, Mommy?  Are you going to be done soon, because I really need to go to sleep!"  I don't think I'll ever be done, kiddo.  I think the kids are finding me slightly annoying, but I do feel like a Good Mother--an overemotional mother, but a good one nonetheless.  I just wish it didn't take so much sadness to inspire more patience and love in our days--but at least that is one good thing that I can do in my life to honor those precious babies.

By the time Abby went back to school on Monday, I was such an irrationally anxious mess...I just decided that I needed to DO something.  Anything.  When people I know have babies, I make dinner for them--because new parents often don't think about or have time to deal with dinner.  When a friend lost a baby, I sent money for a gift because I wasn't close enough to make food to bring over to alleviate the day-to-day concerns amidst their grief.  In my 80-member moms' group in Ohio, I was the "Special Assistance Coordinator"--I coordinated a dinner-making schedule for new moms (dinners provided to new moms for 2 weeks or longer from all the generous moms in our group!), I coordinated babysitting if a mom needed to take a sick child to the doctor and had other kids at home, I coordinated goody bags or baskets if a child in our group was in the hospital...I was the go-to girl to help when someone in our group was in need.  I was thinking about those 20 families, and how if I lived in Newtown, I would bring meals to all of them because they probably aren't thinking too much about cooking or feeding their kids...  Then I remembered a story about a popular deli in town, and how one of the boys ate there with his father that morning--it was something they did often together.  I looked up the Misty Vale Deli online, and called them--a man answered the phone, and was very patient with me as I fumbled through introducing myself.  He sounded really sad.  I said I live in Virginia, and I wanted to give the deli money to provide meals for anyone who needs it--when someone comes in, the deli can use their discretion to provide their meal for them on me.  The man said he knew a woman who had lost her son, and that he would make sure my money went to pay for a few of that family's meals--he wanted my name so that he could tell her who provided the food, but I just said, "Please tell her that we're a family in Virginia who has a daughter in first grade."  I was crying.  He took my credit card and thanked me, and I hung up the phone and just sobbed.  When I was done crying, it felt like a weight had been lifted a little from my chest--yes, I'm still emotional and very sad, but doing something to help someone who needed it really helped me feel better.  They probably don't need my money, but I hope that when that woman comes in to pick up her food, she feels a sort of virtual hug from my family when they tell her that it's already been paid for.

I read online yesterday about a movement started by Ann Curry called #26Acts, where folks are doing 26 Acts of Kindness to honor those sweet children and educators.  I think that movement has it right--kindness in the face of such grief is like a lifeline.  When Abby came home from school on Monday, I told her that I had been feeling sad the last few days (she knows just briefly about what happened, because we didn't want her hearing about it at school and getting upset) and that by doing something nice for someone, I finally felt a little better--a good lesson at Christmastime and always.

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