Maybe it's just because Thanksgiving was this week, maybe it's just been a good day- but I've been having a lot of feelings of gratitude today, about all the super nice things people do. I figured I ought to write it down because some days I have the opposite feeling and I need reminded that yes, there are lots of good people out there, doing good things, and that my belief in the power of random acts of kindness is not unfounded.
One nice person who is always tops on my list is our neighbor. My neighbor's wife was born in their house- she moved away, lived other places, and about five years ago (I've lived in my house for 8), they moved back. They are the best neighbors anyone could ever ask for. After I was divorced in 2006, I noticed every time I thought my lawn looked shaggy and I ought to mow it, it was mowed before I'd get home. Finally, I caught the neighbor doing it. I told him he didn't have to do that. He smiled from ear to ear and said, "I know. I WANT to do that." He is 76 years old, and he still always beats me to the lawn. He and his wife are super kind to my children. In the summer, they'll sit on the porch with them for hours and listen to their stories, answer their questions, and tell them lots of amazing things about their lives. They are always kind, always patient, and people I feel so very fortunate to know.
Another person who never ceases to amaze me with her kindness is my middle daughter's Big Brothers/Big Sisters big. She will often take both of my younger daughters, as her daughters are in the age range and they all play well together. My daughters have been with them for over 2 years and they have definitely become family. They go to church with them (7th Day Adventist) and my daughters have gained a second church family as a result. Her husband is an excellent role model of how a man should treat his wife and children with respect. The Big is a person who always makes sure people are taken care of; if someone's house burns down, she makes sure to help find them clothes and furnishings. If someone is sick, she sees them, brings them what they need, and makes sure others connect and help, too. She makes everyone feel like they are the most important person in the world, and I am so glad my daughters have her for a role model. Recently, she took in some rescue dogs that included a pregnant mama dog, and she knew that the breed mix was heavily skewed toward ones that I am very fond of (Jack Russel/Rat terrier), so she offered us a puppy when they were born. We get to see the puppy every week and now that it's big enough, it visits me and the big kids on Saturdays while she has the littles at church. We named him Dove; he's a precious little white fatty thing. Hopefully he'll get along well with our little min pin (Turtle) so our elderly boxer can have some peace! I'll attach a picture so you can see the darling little Dove! Our family and the Big's family have two cabins at a state park reserved for Christmas, and will be spending the holidays as a family combined celebration. We are really looking forward to it! A lot of people pretend to be nice, but this family is just really, truly, and always nice!
Another nice person I think about is my oldest daughter's friend's mom. My daughter has known her daughter since kindergarten, and they've been in dance classes together all that time. She helped me out one year with taking one of my kids to dance when it was at an early hour, before I got off work, and now, she takes them all. She doesn't have to, she just likes to, and it gives me time to get the other kids taken care of and dinners made and so on. I appreciate her soooo much! She has a teen son that my boys like to play video games with (we have nothing but game boys at our house) so they love it on dance days when they get to hang out, and he treats them like they're his own little brothers.
Speaking of dance, my children's dance teacher is another person I am very grateful for. The lessons she teaches my kids go way beyond dance. She has taught them about following through, about doing something because you love it, about hanging in there when things are hard, about accepting differences, and about how to be part of a team. She always has a minute to chat, whether at the studio or bumping into one another at walmart. My kids know she cares and her dance studio is a place they feel loved.
In addition to the people by whose kindness I am humbled on a regular basis, I had an amazing thing today that made me feel like the recipient of a random act of kindness. My kids and I love to do costumes and cosplay, and I have fair sewing/design skills, but that's it. It takes me a long, long, long time to do a pattern if I have to start from scratch, and there was a costume my oldest daughter and I really want to do. So I had been putting off getting started. Well, I happened to see an ad for someone who was a design student that lost their portfolio when her computer was stolen, that she would do 10 costumes for only the cost of the materials, and will work on a budget. I wrote her and told her about me and my daughter, and that we would LOVE to have her do those two costumes for us. She accepted our commission and we got our measurements for her and talked on the phone today and she was sooo nice! And so we get our awesome costumes, done better and faster than I am capable, and for only what it would have cost me to buy the materials anyway. Wow, that is SO nice!