"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
I was inspired by this article I read about a woman who celebrated her birthday by giving back and doing one act of kindness for every year of her life. It was fun to think about and decide what 'acts' I would do. But, I would be lying if I said it was easy to execute them all. Turns out it's sometimes awkward to give someone a gift you don't know very well or do something for someone and they don't understand why.
I found 'random acts of kindness' cards on the Internet. They were perfect, as they chose the just the right words for what I was trying to do.
1, 2, 3. Flowers to our grandmothers. We were able to visit Monu personally and give her the flowers, but for my grandmothers they arrived courtesy of the mail.
4. Cookies for my mail(wo)man. I think she appreciated it because she left me a thank you note in my mailbox the next day.
5. Compliment someone you don't like. This one was hard. Hard because it took me a while to think about someone I genuinely don't like, and then once I did, it was really hard to find a sincere compliment for them. Of course, I'm not going to say who it was or what I said. Just know that I completed this act of kindness.
6. Sleeping in for Steve. Neither one of us are early morning risers. It's often a 'rock-paper-scissors' game for who has to get up with the kids on Saturday morning. I really surprised him because on Mother's Day I quietly got up and closed the door letting him sleep in until he decided to get up--It was about 10:30 for anyone wondering.
7. Pick up trash. Gavin's flag football games were played on these huge open fields that left trash blown all over. After one of his games the kids and I took time to clean up the area.
8. Pay-it-forward. See that truck in my mirror? I bought their lunch. It felt really good.
9. In honor of my Dad I donated a care package to our troops overseas.
10. In honor of Chewy I donated money to his home before ours.
11. Donate clothes to the Leukemia Texas. It was easy, they even came by to pick it up.
12. Treats to the police department- This was a huge failure. I loaded up the kids and headed to a police department that was "closed due to budget cuts." A little frightening? You bet.
13. Treats for the local fire department- Their treats doubled with the closing of the police department. A little disappointing at this stop also because no one answered the door! I really wanted my boys to see how good it feels to give to others and all we felt was the sting of unanswered doors.
14. Pick-up an extra carpool shift.
15. Treats for the trash men (or sanitation engineers as I've learned they are called.) I know it may look bad to have put the cookies on top the trashcans, but for THREE WEEKS I tried to run out to meet them and missed them every time.
16. Play a board game with Harrison. Honestly, not my favorite thing to do, but he loves games and was thrilled I asked him to play.
17. Read to Cannon. You may be thinking, "Greta, you should be doing this all the time with Cannon." You are thinking nothing I don't know already. And we do read books, but not as often as I'd like or should. So, on this kind day I took the extra time to read extra books.
18-23. Wrote letters to my mom, mother-in-law, and special friends. Letters with things I've thought and perhaps haven't expressed or just an overall 'thank you' for being a positive force in my life.
24. Smile at 5 strangers. This one was more or less a freebie. I smile at people all the time. What if that's the only smile they get all day?!
25. Use reusable bags at the grocery store. This is only hard for me because I forget the bags in my car. But, I've made a conscious effort to remember them. I'd say I'm 70% successful.
26. Bring in my neighbors trashcans. I failed at this one. My neighbors are Johnny-on-the-spot when it comes to bringing in their trashcans.
27. Return the loose shopping carts in the parking lot at the grocery store. I'm hoping a teenager appreciated that one.
28. Let someone cut-in on my way to work. This is HUGE! I drive down I-35 to get to work. It's a congested mess that can work the nerves of Job himself.
29. Snuggle extra long with Gavin. Left to his own demands I would sleep in Gavin's bed allowing him to 'spoon me' all night long. On his special night I lingered longer then usual giving him the extra hugs and kisses he is always wanting.
30. Tape money to the vending machine at work. I'm hoping one of our NICU parents received this one.
31. Cookies for our cleaning lady at work. What a thankless, yet completely necessary job. She comes in every morning with her hair fixed nice and smelling good and always makes a fresh pot of coffee in the break room. She deserved the treats.
32. Pay-it-forward at Starbucks. Steve pooped on this one saying it's so overdone, and he's probably right. But, it's still nice to receive a free drink and I did it at the one near my work so I'm hopeful a hospital employee (probably working nights also) started their shift feeling a little more kind.
33. Make a meal for someone- I've been waiting to finish this blog post because of this act. Our kitchen has been under construction for the duration of May and my cooking has been greatly limited. I would have felt a little cheesy bringing someone chicken nuggets and steamed green beans. While I have not completed this act yet, I do know who I'm making it for and what I'm going to make.
34. Surprise Gavin's preschool class with cookies for their snack day. I picked peanut butter cookies and everyone seemed pleased and excited.
35. And one to grow on- My friend, Kristen, said one of my acts should be that I've encouraged others to do the same thing for their birthdays. It didn't feel valid enough to count as one of the core '34', but I'll take it as my one to grow on. Hopefully I have encouraged or inspired someone to do even one act of kindness. It felt good and it felt right in a world that seems to have so much wrong lately.