This time of year people seem to be scouring for ways to give. Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year's seems to make all of us introspective and suddenly caring about others. "Up All Night" created this gem:
Last month I spent a few hours composing a blog entry to only have the wonders of my computer and the Internets make it disappear and I didn't have the energy to re-write it at the time. So I am going to try again, because I feel I need to. When everyday the little things we do may just be touching people in huge and significant ways we just don't know about.
We have these two neighbor boys who sometimes come by with their puppy dog for a play date with Woodrow. We never know when they will show up, but sometimes around 5:30 there is a knock at the door and we end up with two very happy puppies. These boys, from what I can gather are raising themselves. The oldest is about 15 or 16, he is in High School and has the responsibility of caring for his younger brother who is 10 and in 5th grade. I only get snippets from the older boy about their lives but from what I can gather, there is no male figure. The mom works a lot in order to provide for them. These boys pull at my heartstrings. They remind me in so many ways of so many of my old students whose parents were struggling. They are the example of the working poor. They represent the loneliness and hardships of some childhoods. One day while the boys were hanging in the backyard watching the dogs play, the older one asks me parenting advice. "Since your a Mom, can you tell me why after holidays some kids get all crazy. Cause Billy (not his real name) won't listen to me and is crazy since Halloween. How can I get him to listen?" This young boy who should be playing and enjoying his childhood by playing too many computer games is asking about parenting his younger brother. In some way I hope that our home if only for the hour the boys come over and hang out in the backyard is a safe haven for them.
Today I walked Cookie to school. It is a cold and wintry day...It was in the high teens and we had all bundled up against the cold. We were fortunate to be on the receiving end of winter jackets from two friends last year. Therefore we have a couple extra. I noticed a little girl at Cookie's school was wearing just a hoodie for warmth...It is in the teens people! No gloves no winter jacket. I had brought Jelly with us in the Chariot, and happened to have a spare pair of mittens for Jelly in it. I gave them to the little girl, and even though they were too small, even though she seemed a little embarrassed she wore them any way. I ran home, dropped Rebecca off with her Daddy and drove back to the school with one of those extra jackets in tow and a pair of mittens. I informed the teachers that she did not have a winter coat or gloves and that I was leaving the jacket and gloves for her to use for the day...if she didn't have any at home, she was welcome to keep them.
This little girl is sweet and kinda shy. Last month she was in my daughter's half-day Kinder class. One day she was moved to full day Kinder. Her mother, left the family, or at least this is the scuttlebutt I heard. The mother left the father alone to raise three young children....she just left, checked out, gone. Not even in the "I'm divorcing you" but in the divorcing the whole family left. As much as I may complain about my sweet little ones, I could never ever leave them. As much as I envision myself running away screaming in my pajamas pulling at my hair some mornings, I could never leave these beautiful wonderful girls.
My village may be small here in Colorado. My village may sometimes only consist of us and our closest neighbors, but sometimes a kind thought or word, a thoughtful gesture means more than serving Turkey to homeless on Thanksgiving. Maybe today, maybe every day I interact positively with those boys will make the drudgery that is their lives better. I learned that in teaching, one word kind or cruel can touch a child in ways we could never imagine...those words will stay with them forever. Today I choose to be kind.