Monday, December 17, 2012

No Words, Only Actions

A few days ago a friend of mine told me this:
"So kind of you. You and Michael seem to have a bottomless reservoir of giving."

She doesn't know it (or maybe she does now that she's reading this post) how strongly that simple statement sat with me for days on end. The timing could not have been more perfect because it was those words that kept me strong the next few days.

Friday I was broken. What happened in Connecticut on December 14th left me broken even though I'm on the other side of the country. In my opinion, there are no words that can be said. Only actions, starting with a particularly long hug filled with happy tears when I saw my girls again.

Next I set out to do 28 good deeds for the 28 lives lost that day. Of course my husband offered to help, and so did my 5 year old daughter. So in the end, we did 56 good deeds, 2 for each loved one lost. Here's my list... I saved the best for last.

- 10 - Cake pops given to teachers at school as a small "Thank You"
- 5 - Starbucks gift cards for school administrators as a small "Thank You"
- 1 - Starbucks order for the person in line behind me
- 1 - Half tank of gas for a random stranger (that's all she needed)
- 1 - Full tank of gas for the next random stranger
- 2 - Teddy bears bought from the store and given to children walking in.
- 1 - Bag of food for the Food Share
- 1 - Offer to help a mother with her hands full carry her groceries to the car
- 3 - Starbucks gift cards to strangers at Target
- 2 - Toys for Toy Drive
- 2 - Offers for free gnomes, ended up compromising with half-priced
- 2 - Breakfasts for strangers paid for at Le Peep restaurant
- 1 - Larger than normal tip to breakfast waitress
- 1 - Christmas cactus bought as a surprise gift for a loved one
- 2 - homemade desserts given to loved ones

That brings the subtotal to 35 people touched, but I haven't told you the best ones yet. Remember how I said that Ellie and Addie wanted to help out too? Here are their contributions:

- 7 - Hand decorated ornaments given to elderly at nursing home

- 1 - Ellie offered to let Mommy and Daddy sit next to each other instead of fighting over who got to sit next to Mommy. She turned to me and said "Is that a good deed because it makes you smile?" I think it counts.

- 2 - Both Ellie and Addie got pink balloons from one grocery store. Then we went to another store and they decided to give their balloons to 2 other children! This was Ellie's idea and even Addie ended up deciding it was a good one!

- 3 - Ellie and Addie both drew pictures (see below) to pass out to random strangers, complete with a little note sure to put a smile on their face.

- 8 - Ellie and Addie had fun handing out 4 Handwritten reminders saying "You bring lots of smiles to those around you." Some people smiled and gave them hugs and returned the note so that we could make yet another person smile. The girls thought this was pretty funny.

Those gems add another 17 to the count, bringing the total up to 56 people touched by good deeds, all to honor those lives lost on Friday.

I do not make the claim that these small deeds make up for Friday's tragedy, but as I told my daughters, it's important to remember to not let the bad guys win.

On the way home from our good deed rampage, I had the following conversation with my girls...

Ellie: Mommy, I have something to tell you but it's important for you to not interrupt me because it's going to start out sounding mean but end up being really nice.

Mommy: Ok, I won't interrupt.

Ellie: I just don't think you're beautiful. I think you're WONDERFUL!

Mommy: WOW! What a nice compliment! Why do you say that?

Ellie: Because I like how you teach me that it feels good to make people smile. I didn't think it would feel so good but I like the way I feel in my tummy because I made lots of people smile today.

Mommy: That's just it, Ellie. That's the magic about giving. The more you give, the more you have.

Addie: Yeah and it's good that we're nice right, Mommy?

Mommy: Right, Addie!

And so I leave you with photos of the drawings that a few lucky unsuspecting strangers received tonight...

Life is good. Hold your little ones close tonight.


Desiree Cox said...

My day starts tomorrow just trying to be half as wonderful as you are. Thank you for every smile you and your family make!

Anonymous said...

Your daughter is wrong, but you need not tell her. You are beautiful both inside and out and the greatest gift you are giving to the world is two loving daughters that have learned it is better to give than receive and so you will know your passion will continue on in the next generation. I wish I could grow up to be like you. Love to you and your family, Patsy

Niffer said...

Thank you, both of you. Hugs!

Kelly said...

As usual, I am humbled by your kindness, and the wonderful and compassionate kindness your teaching your children. If more people followed your lead, there would be no room in the World for hate.

My small kindnesses pale in comparison, but here they are:

1) I took a small, decorated Christmas tree to a lonely, old man who did not have one.

2) I carried food to an elderly couple so the woman wouldn't have to worry about cooking that night.
3) I bought a lovely poinsettia and took it to the local high-rise apartments where many older and disabled people live. Left it in the lobby so all could see it and enjoy it.

As I said, small compared to you and yours, but I feel good about it because it did bring smiles to a few faces.

Angie said...

I'm sooooo proud you are my niece, Gniffer!

Niffer said...

Kelly, thank you for sharing your deeds! It put a smile on my face.

Angie, I'm glad to make the family proud. lol.