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Intentional Acts of Kindness

It is a rainy winter day here in Northern California. If I were home, this would be a beautiful flurry. But I am in my new home, and I appreciate the rain all the more because it so seldom comes. I am inside, cozy at my table, looking out at my mountains all smoky with fog and drizzle. It is the perfect day to curl up with the dogs and a good book, at least until the baby wakes up.

As usual, the rain chose the perfect moment to fall. It really started coming down right as I was dropping off the big girls at school. We live half a mile from school so we all walk together in the mornings, and then the baby and I walk back home. Now, having lived through 2 years of getting caught in Singapore monsoons, this rain hardly qualifies for the title. It was maybe a light shower, and all of my girls know that getting a little wet in the rain is not the end of the world. We are blessed to have warm classrooms to wait in and a dryer with warm blankets when we get home. So to me, this rain was no reason to delay my planned walk to the grocery store and coffee shop on my way home, which cut our walk in half. I was literally only going to walk two blocks in the rain with the stroller before entering a covered walkway.

What happened in that ten minutes is why I love my neighborhood and why I try to build communities where I live. Our crossing guard, Bob, offered me the keys to his car. He passes our house on his way home, and he had a rain coat on, so he could just pick it up from our driveway. Completely sincere and generous, that man. I politely declined, after all I was only going two blocks. We’d be fine. It was only drizzling.

The rain was picking up, so Z and I were hustling a bit, when I noticed an SUV pulled to the curb ahead of me. As we approached the window rolled down, and a woman I do not know held out an umbrella. “Do you need this? I feel so bad you’re walking in the wet.” Such a sweet gesture for a stranger to make, but I only had half a block to go at this point. “No thank you, we are ok. I’m only going to the store.” I pointed because I can see it through the parking lot now. With a smile and a wave she continued on her way.

At the grocery store, I was picking up snacks and drinks for our UPS, USPS, and FedEx drivers who are working overtime this season to make our Christmas bright. I snagged a gallon jug of water for the house (long story) and at checkout the cashier discovered it was leaking. I asked her to ring it up and I would go swap one out. I was trying to load everything into the bottom of the stroller. When I looked up to pay, there was the fresh water jug. The woman behind me smiled. “I was just going to be standing here anyway. I thought I’d save you the trip back.” Random Acts of Kindness are always appreciated in this household. I hope that my effusive thanks and smiles stay with her the rest of the day. Such a little thing, but so lovely to a mother with a toddler in tow.

I had one more errand this morning, to pick up my phone from a repair at the Apple Store. When I turned it on, there was a missed call and text from my friend Yvonne, another mom at my school, offering me a lift home with the stroller if I needed it. How can I not put some of that positive energy back into the neighborhood today? Here’s my small effort.

To all of you who are part of my community today, please know how much I value you and the feeling we are working to create in our small pocket of the world. To all of you who have been a part of my community during our many adventures, I think of you often and hope you are well. Someone asked me the other day why I send Christmas cards. I’ve been thinking about it, and the closest I can get to a clear answer is community. So many of you have invested your time and love in me and my family. These intentional acts of kindness have seen us through some trying times. A card once a year to update you on our newest changes seems the least I can do. Merry Christmas to you all, and let’s keep today’s good mojo going. Go do something nice for someone in your community, nothing random about it. Spread a little compassion intentionally, just because. I guarantee you will be just as happy as the recipient, and who knows how it will come back to you.

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