December 17, 2012

Please Help a Stranger and Hug Your Kids.

Posted by Ethne~

Sorry about our lack of posts this past week, Friends.  For my part, it’s just been nuts and the girls have been off the wall with what I can only guess is Christmas mania.  I know Lori had a really busy week too.

My Thursday was especially horrific (in its way), and I was going to write to you about it on Friday in my usual irreverent sarcasm, but then the shootings of those kids and teachers happened in Connecticut and it just didn’t seem fitting.  I still get tears in my eyes when I read about those little kids, and the teachers protecting them and covering them and hiding them in bathrooms.  That horror just didn’t compare to the mundane of my Thursday.

I still want to tell you about Thursday, though, now that a few days have passed.  It’s kinda funny, and touching, and laughter is a really good thing.  When you hear my full story, you’ll understand why I want to tell it.

So Thursday morning I woke up to KD very cheerfully getting dressed.  Then I realized that she was wearing an outfit I had seen A LOT OF recently.  I looked twice and it was TOTALLY DIRTY.  I told her she can’t wear dirty clothes, EVEN IF THEY’RE HER FAVORITE, because her school teachers will think we neglect her.  This sent us into full-scale nuclear meltdown.  She told me she hated me, I was ugly, she wished she never had a mother, she wished she never had a family, she kicked me, she punched me; she spent some time in time out, but we don’t have a lot of time to spare in the morning, so I ended up dressing my 5-year-old myself.  In clean clothes of my choosing.

In the meantime, I was also monitoring the dressing of Easy Mac.  She didn’t want to get up because she claimed she was sick.  I told her it wasn’t possible she was sick because I took her temperature and it was 96.3; and also because she just got off antibiotics.  This sent her into nuclear meltdown as well.  She kicked and screamed and refused to get dressed.  The whining, oh Lord, the whining.  Then she wanted to eat raisins and said she couldn’t go to school because she felt like she was going to throw up; I reminded her that if someone feels like they are going to throw up they don’t have an appetite for raisins.  Boy, this set off a new round of s%*tstorm.  She kicked and screamed as I dressed her, and then tried telling Shaun that she COULD eat raisins because she WASN’T sick.

By the time we got to putting coats, hats and mittens on, Shaun and I were ready to run for the hills.  Not literally, since we live in the plains of the Midwest, but pick your metaphor for mode of desertion.

Work, fortunately, was inconsequential, just standard and busy, but then I had to truck down to big city for a dr. appointment – don’t worry, I’m not dying, just a routine check-up.  After my appointment, I went to get out of the parking lot, and I noticed that there WAS NOT THE LITTLE VISA/MASTERCARD sign on the outside of the pay booth.  I knocked on the window, knowing darn well that I did not have but pennies in my wallet, and sure enough, they only take cash or check.  Bonus: I would have to trek a good block through the innards of United Hospital (and get lost in the birthing ward on the wrong floor) trying to find the ATM for a total of $4.00 I owed.

But that’s not the end of the story.  When I finally found the ATM, the PIN number I am SURE is correct, was rejected.  I about died.  I walked away from the machine and called my sister, in despair.  “What am I going to do, Whit?  There is no way I remember my PIN.  I am stuck in this lot in downtown St. Paul!” I whispered.  I told her I had to go call Shaun and see if he could look it up online for me or something.  Well, I had gone a few feet and some angel came up to me and said, “How much do you need?”  I said, “Four bucks.”  She handed me a ten dollar bill and quietly walked off.  I don’t even know her name.  I almost cried except I was right there in the lobby and felt dumb for not having any money in the first place.

When I finally made it back to my car (I got lost again on the way out of the hospital), I paid, and I kept the remaining $6.  I plan to put $1 in a Christmas ornament to remind me of that nice stranger’s goodness, and I will pay the rest forward to someone else, when I see a need.  I won’t brag about it, though, since I think that cheapens the good deed somehow. 

All I have to say, Friends, is just doing one small deed can make all the difference in the world for another person.  That lady had no idea I was having the day from hell.  She just overheard me tell my sister I couldn’t remember my PIN number and I was stuck in that dumb lot over $4.  But boy, did her small deed make my day a million times better.  I was able to get to the girls’ daycare to pick them up on time, and they were excited to see me; we had to dicker with them a little bit at dinnertime, but they were noticeably better Friday morning (having picked out *approved* clothes the night before) which made a huge difference as I yearned to hug them all day long as I heard reports of someone killing little kids at an elementary school in Connecticut.

So, you see, the stranger helping me out not only got me out of the parking lot on Thursday, but she also made the rest of my day better and that rolled into my Friday morning being better and that rolled into me not feeling guilty about having yelled at my kids (since I didn’t) as I heard about other people’s terrible, terrible tragedies.

God Bless.  Now please go hug your kids, help a stranger and say a prayer for those teachers and kids.

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