Yesterday, I had my heart broken. Unless you know us in real life, a little known fact about my husband and I is that we’re trying to adopt a little girl. We’ve been trying now for 18 months through the foster system. Why? Because I’ve always felt that if everyone who had the love in their heart and financial security, took home a child who had no home, there would be no children without homes. EVERY CHILD DESERVES A LOVING HOME. Suffice it to say, the first little girl we’ve been called for a placement for stayed just long enough to wreck me for a little bit when she left. Handing her back over crushed me, destroyed me, shredded my heart … well, you get the picture. This process is not for the weak of heart.
So yesterday, I had my heart broken, but tomorrow is my birthday.
I have this amazing friend who PCS’d away from here. I find her amazing for 10,000 different reasons, but mostly because she inspires me to be the best version of myself I can be. So I’m taking a page out of her playbook, and spending the next couple of days finding 32 ways (yes, I just owned my age) to show some kindness. Not all acts are random, because sometimes I think we forget to be kind to those closest to us, and I’m trying my best, this close to deployment, not to take anything for granted.
I’m not blogging about this to show that I did a bunch of random stuff, but rather to demonstrate how easy it is to be kind. You never know when you’re simplest action could make someone’s entire day brighter.
1. Dunkin Donuts.
Who doesn’t love donuts? Sure, they’re atrociously bad for you, but I said acts of kindness, not healthiness. 😉 The first people I was kind to today were my kids and husband, so I grabbed some breakfast of the awesome variety. 😉
Alas. Thanks to freezing rain, we’re on 2 hour delay. And now the boys are fighting. Annnnd now they’re screaming. Maybe it’s an act of kindness that I haven’t flown off the handle at them yet. Seriously. Hey, at least their clothes are still on and no one’s bloody.
2 & 3. While at Dunkin, I snagged two gift cards. These are for the boys’ bus monitor and bus driver, because I can’t imagine the sheer noise volume they must put up with before 9 am. It boggles the mind, and I’m grateful I can trust my kids in their care. Their faces lit up, and I realized how something so simple can really be huge.
4, 5, & 6. Our sons’ teachers spend more time with them than I do on week days. They’re helping to shape them into men, and nurturing their little minds! They are so very deserving of the best, so we boxed up some fresh (like still hot), homemade chocolate-chip cookies, and off they went with the boys!
Since I was already cookie-baking, we just went with the flow.
7. I had to drop off a mountain of paperwork for Brody’s MRI and Pre-K application to the pediatrician. With four boys, I feel like I’m always on them, asking to be fit in for an appointment or to sign some papers for sports, school, summer camps and the like. So, as I dropped off the paperwork, I dropped some NOM NOM NOM too!
13 & 14. We made a little pit stop at the dollar store, and I took all the cash I had on me in this debit card society (which was $2), and snuck them into a toy and a book. Now if a kiddo finds it, it’s already paid for!
So, Mr. Backspace’s query now rocks. Let’s hope he snags an agent soon!!!
17 & 18. For my birthday, Jason took me out to breakfast at the best breakfast place I’ve ever been to, hands down, Tin Pan Galley in Sackets Harbor… YUMMMM! He also took me out to dinner at a fabulous Italian place, and this time it was sans kiddos. At both places, we left huge tips, because you never know what that little extra might do for a person.
19. While out on my birthday date, Jason took me to target. NO laughing. Why target? Because the nearest real bookstore is 90 minutes away. Seriously. When I think too much about this I tend to lose my mind, because bookstores are my keepers of Zen. So, he took me to the biggest book selection we have up here and told me to pick out a book. Oh, all the pretty books!!! So, I snagged this one:
20 & 21. With all the access on the internet (facebook, email, the like), I’m always forgetting that our older generations don’t get to see pictures as often. Once my mom joined the facebook revolution, I simply stopped sending tangible pictures out, because everyone saw them once I posted. Well, everyone except grandparents. So, I took a few moments (really, that’s all it took) and $12, uploaded three dozen pics of the kids and had them shipped to Jason’s grandparents and my grandmother. I know it will make their day to see the little faces!
22. Donated canned food to the Food Bank. Why? Because it was simple, easy, and hopefully helps someone out!
23. Left boxed cupcakes for our mail man! Everyone loves cupcakes, right?
24. Our FRG leader (that’s Family Readiness Group for all you non-military types) is having a baby in the next 24 hours, so when she called, I agreed to take over leading while she’s snuggling that little guy and stay on as her co-leader while the guys are gone. Why is this kind? Because it takes a ton of time, but it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. (I know all of you Apache girls are now staring because I swore I’d never do it again). Yes, I know, time is a precious commodity, and when people ask if I’m insane for the schedule we keep, I simply say:
Besides, when people need help, we help. That’s how life is supposed to be.
25. Speaking of helping, next, I signed up to mentor some aspiring authors for a new pitch competition that’s being announced tomorrow. Why? Because before Jamie blessed my life by signing me, I needed help. I needed someone to believe in me, so now I’m going to find someone who needs the same and believe in them. What does this cost me? Time, that’s all. Are you catching onto a theme here?
26. Remember our prego FRG leader? While making dinner (it’s now the day AFTER my birthday, I’m not a do-it-in-one-day-overachiever), I made an extra tray of baked ziti, wrapped it in saran wrap, covered it in foil, and left it on her doorstep so she can fill her freezer. After all, her husband is leaving with mine, and she’ll have 3 little ones under 4. Oh, and then I called her and told her the food was there, of course. 😉
27. On the way, I stopped by the library on post and donated a book because their YA section is simply scary, and my daughter could never find this book to check out. So, now they have an extra copy. (And I’m begging her to read… um… anything else besides vampires.)
28. This might sound odd, but I didn’t walk out on our dentist. I have an absolute fear of the dentist, and we have one up here that we ADORE. When I made Brody’s appt this week for his pre-k certification screening and found out that our dentist left for another practice, my initial response was to walk too. But we stayed, tried out the new guy (this is an itty-bitty village-sized practice), and were thrilled. Sometimes an act of kindness is just putting your faith into someone. Oh, and he’s sugar-bug free! 😉
29. We took our boys on a date. We pulled up to the mall, told them we were going shopping (where they cringed), and then surprised them with some time with the Croods. After tickets, popcorn, drinks and such, we quickly remembered why we don’t do this as often as we’d like! LOL! But seeing their little faces at the movies is kind of like:
30. Next up? We were leaving the house for Brody’s brain MRI, which happens under general anesthesia. He brings down Harvard, his number one love, and panics that he’s ripped his shirt at the collar. This is the result of a few years of love. 😉 It takes three minutes and a few stitches, but I stitch up Harvard as good as new, and he’s ready to “nap” with Brody. Who better to be kind to than our kids?
31. My nephew is 10 months younger than Brody, so I finally boxed up all the best pieces of Brody’s 3T wardrobe, which he’s outgrown, for shipping to Colorado. Hopefully my sister might be able to talk him into wearing a few of them, but he’s pretty into those footie pj’s. Oh, and her photography blog is pretty freaking funny. Check it out.
32. Last, but never least, after coming home from yet another neuro appt in Syracuse, I grabbed a Bravo-sister and we took flowers to our FRG leader in the hospital since her little bundle made his arrival. Flowers and new mamas go hand in hand! We both have four kiddos, and when she offered us to hold her precious, beautiful little guy, we were all:
But at the same time, it brought me full circle. Holding that newbie, when I’d just handed over one about the same age last week hurt in a way I wasn’t prepared for. You’d be amazed how quickly you can fall in love with someone, especially a newborn you’ve slept with on your chest, and how much you can miss them after they’re gone. We knew choosing this path for our adoption wouldn’t be easy, but I guess I never expected it to hurt quite so badly. But it’s true, what I’ve been taught all these years: performing acts of kindness for others soothes the hurt and wounds within ourselves. When we focus our efforts outside our own pain, we’re given the chance to quit picking at our own hurt and let the scabs form and start to heal.
These 32 little bits are not huge acts of kindness. I’ve seen so many others that are way more amazing, but for me, doing this over these last few days was more about taking the opportunity for kindness when it presented itself, especially to those closest to me. These few days taught me to look for those opportunities, and that’s what I’m taking with me. There are chances everywhere if you’re looking for them. Please, look for them.
Be kind where you can. It will add up and come around, and there’s always room in our world for more love, more kindness.
And as for our forever baby girl, wherever she may be, we’re here. We’re waiting. We already love you.