Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thoughtful Tuesday

I asked my dear friend Katie of Clarendon Lane fame to guest post about a service opportunity she has experienced. She was so sweet to do it and I hope to continue this great guest posting series on a regular basis.

Let me first tell you a little more about Katie. We grew up in the same small town in Eastern Oregon. She has always been beautiful, talented and driven. She also does very hard things. Her husband was deployed for a long time and she was a tough cookie taking care of her kids. I admire her determination and strength. 

Katie is also incredibly talented. She can take junk and turn it into something amazing and beautiful. You should definitely follow her blog. Oh and she's moving soon and I can't wait to see her new digs. I'm sure she'll make it beautiful!

Here's Katie's experience in her own words:

My act of service was a spontaneous decision, really. I saw a need and I simply filled it. I think there are so many opportunies to fill a need if we just look- and then act.
In my case, I was at the Post Office with my son and daughter. Afton was in the stroller and perfectly content with a bottle, while her brother pushed her and I held my 8 packages that had to be shipped out. While I was paying, I couldn't help but notice this struggling mother who held an 18 month in her arms and a 3 year old at her feet. At first, they seemed fine, but soon the baby grew impatient while waiting for his mother to package a gift for someone. While he began crying, the three year old kept doing what 3 year olds do...not holding still, whining, etc. I could see a look on the mother's tired face that looked just like mine usually does.
On this particular day, my other son was at pre-school, so that made one less kid to handle, but also somehow Afton was sitting so still and quiet in the stroller. This is NOT how it usually is. Most days, I haul three kids in there, one screaming to get out of the stroller, two boys fighting over who gets to open the drop box or running at full speed-cutting off every elderly person they pass while doing it- don't forget whining about why we're there, how long we have to stay, etc.
It seemed like forever til the Postman was done calculating my totals and we were done. I could see (along with everyone else) that the mother was still struggling to quiet her children. Instead of leaving, and saying "whew, I'm glad that's not me today", I decided to do what I wish more people would do for me. I decided to help her.
I didn't want her to feel that I was judging her, or making her feel bad, but just sincerely helping in a mother to mother "I understand" sort of way. She accepted, I smiled, and I took her 18 month old in my arms and her three year old followed a few feet away, where Vince, Afton and I entertained them for a few minutes while their mom finished her errand. I thought she might say no, and think I was a stranger or weird for asking. But she didn't.
It wasn't hard, it wasn't weird. Why are we so scared to talk to strangers or even help others? Especially mothers. We need each other! We can relate in a world where it seems like everyone else has forgotten how hard it is to raise children.
When she was finished, she simply said thank you. It wasn't a big deal, just a small thing I could do to help another mom out. But I felt like Vince and I got the better reward. It felt good inside. And it felt good to offer a hand when at least 12 others in the same room didn't.
My kids are 5, 3 and 18 months, and they are a handful! Especially all together. But life requires errands, and grocery trips, and unexpected stops along the way...whether our baby has had a nap or not. I hope to be more observant like I was today- and LOOK for opportunies to help others. I know that they'll be grateful, and/or at the very least, we will be blessed and grow because of it.
 This week for Thoughtful Tuesday I would like to encourage you to keep your eyes open to those spontaneous opportunities that you can help someone. These aren't big things, just small things that you can do to help someone when you see they need help. I'm excited for this one. I really want to work hard to do something every day. 
Thanks for the inspiration Katie! 


DeAnn @ The SIP project said...

What a fabulous post! The world would be a lot different place if we all tried to random acts of kindness. Awesome, awesome, awesome!!!

aje and h said...

I've been the mom helped in this story so many times, only no one helped me. My girls think the post office is a time to run, touch, scream, break the 10 windows of floor length blinds the USPS feel necessary to install, all while trying to answer serious questions about liquids, fragile, or perishable items. Oh, and pay. Sometimes, I really want to leave them in the car, buckled, unsupervised, and illegally...but, I brace for the embarrassment and drag them in. I've even tried strapping into the double stroller, with treats and diversions, but they still sit there and scream. what you did was such a big thing. good for you!


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