Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Loving Others Day 3 + 4

Did you know there is a Random Acts of Kindness Week? And that it's this week? I was so surprised to find a post written about it on The Storque, Etsy's blog. I thought it was particularly appropriate given my goal of giving or doing something for someone else beyond the norm for the next 30 days. An artist named Heidi Burton even created some random acts of kindness cards that you can download here if you want to get in on the kindness action.

My in-laws came into town yesterday and my goal has been to cook them good food. Yesterday I made a beef stew from my new favorite cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking by my new hero Julia Child. Today I am going to try and make a Santa Fe chowder from the Moosewood Cookbook and some fresh buttermilk bread. I may be overly ambitious though because I am bone tired.

This morning I brought the girls down to the Upper West Side to meet the grandparents at the American Museum of Natural History. As any parent of young ones knows, getting kids ready, fed, dressed, and out the door is a feat that deserves a special medal. If you have two or more kids, this quadruples the stress per kid because coordinating various personalities and moods is a challenge. The outing went fine and both kids did great, although the Ergo carrier I'm using for my younger daughter is killing my back. On the way home, I caught the B train uptown to 125th Street, and then crossed the platform to wait for the A train. Of course the A train just pulled away as our train entered the station. We stand at the platform and a D train comes. The C train comes. Another D train comes. Then the B train. B train again. C train. D train. At this point, we have been waiting on the platform for 30 minutes and I am ready to lie down on the grimy ground to relieve my back of the weight of my daughter. I silently curse the MTA in my head. Finally, finally the A train comes. We get on and I collapse into a subway seat.

When we arrive at 181st Street, I exit the train and a woman with two kids gets on. One of her kids drops a red plastic lei as she enters the train and despite my back seizing up I remember the goal of kindness and I lean down, pick up the lei, and quickly hand it to the woman as the train doors close and barely miss capturing my wrist. The little girl smiles at me through the subway windows. She has a beautiful smile.

I join the masses of people heading up the stairs and a very kind man offers to carry Kaela in her stroller up the stairs for me. Poor guy did not know how heavy Kaela was (plus my bag was in the stroller basket), but he did his kind deed with a smile. I thank him profusely and he brushes it off. He makes sure to open the service gate for me as well so I can get through with the stroller. I wish him a very wonderful day and say a prayer that Jesus would shine good things upon him.

I find that the crowded, communal, contact sport that is living in NYC makes these acts of kindness particularly important. The opportunities to love other people and the opportunities to accept help are abundant. Maybe that is why I love living here. Does kindness give you energy? Because I feel better able to get through the afternoon now, cooking chowder and baking bread and everything else that comes with mothering, loving, living.

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