Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Unexpected Gifts

I like to think of myself as the type of gal who is willing to “pay it forward” when she can. I’ve done little things like paying a toll for the person behind me and bigger things like surprising my first adopted soldier by paying for her wedding hair appointment. She had no idea until she went to pay and they told her I had called and taken care of it. I don’t do things like that to get some big dramatic thank you or anything and I generally do not tell other people when I do stuff like that. It just makes me feel twinkly inside. So yeah, it is all about that giddy feeling. Call me selfish.

I missed out on a tremendous opportunity to do something nice about a year ago and I’m still bothered that I didn’t seize the opportunity when it came up. We attended a hockey game the night before Easter Sunday, and I realized on the way home that we needed some ingredient (more likely ALL the candy for the Easter Bunny to put out) for the next day. EN stayed in the car with the girls and I was one of ten customers in the store. I brought my stuff to the one open register and waited for the family in front of me. It was obvious they didn’t have a lot of money and they were a little “slow.” I looked at the belt full of items and realized that they were buying everything for their Easter dinner, many of the items were obviously marked down as being day old or damaged.

When it came time to pay for their purchase, the card they were trying to pay with was declined. They all sort of looked at each other helplessly and moved over to the side and the cashier cleared their order and rang up my purchase. That’s where I went wrong. I should have whispered something to the cashier, paid for their order too and beat feet out of there before they knew what I had done. Every once in a while, I think of that family and wonder what they did for Easter dinner. Funny, the shit that bothers me a year later.

I think of that because over the last 24 hours two (count ‘em, TWO) people have done something nice for my family or me… In each case, the ‘something nice’ was unexpected and overwhelmed me just a little bit. The two instances together? Well, I’m a lot goofy today so I don’t cry at my desk. No one wants to witness that mess!

Several weeks ago Spice’s old teacher sent me an email asking if she could bring Spice to Build-A-Bear. She wanted to make a stuffed animal, but didn’t want to do the dance in the store. This is the very same teacher I talked about before, the mother of four grown sons that needs a little “pink” in her world! Yesterday was the big day. Spice dolled herself up in every pink item she owned for this very special trip to the mall. I waited on pins and needles to hear how it went. I got an email saying that they had stopped at the teacher’s house for a snack, but would be back at the daycare shortly. She sounded excited saying, “Wait until you see what we got!” Because I drilled into Spice’s head that she was not to ask for anything, I expected that Spice would come home with a little BABW outfit with the money we gave to her teacher.

When I picked Spice up, she was aglow, dying to tell me how the trip went. I was alarmed to see that she had an entire BABW box and looked inside… Oh my, Mrs. N and Spice had been very busy. They built and clothed several bunnies. Then Spice rode the carouseland they had ice creams… I glowered at my child and asked, “Did you ask her for these things?!” Spice got teary and said, “Oh no Mama! She asked me and I just told her ‘yes, please!’” As much as Mrs. N wanted a taste of girl time, Spice got an outing where she got to be an only child for a change. I’m not sure who was more excited about the time spent together. I was really overwhelmed by the generosity that was shown to my daughter. It was truly unexpected and totally appreciated. I was also terrifically amused to hear that Spice considered naming her new bunnies Sprinkles and Twinkles. It brings to life the things I write about on this blog.

The second something nice occurred at work. I call one of the newer engineers Anti-Ed. His name is Ed, but he reports in to someone named Ed…and they are complete opposites. Anti-Ed communicates well, seems engaged with his employees and is a generally nice guy. We talk occasionally about his teenagers, mostly so he can make me cringe with what I have to look forward to.

Yesterday, he shared that he was taking his daughter out last night to a reading and book signing by Jodi Picoult. I have read most of her books and enjoy them, despite a few qualities that bug me. And what book nerd wouldn’t jump at the chance at hearing an author discuss her work? Seriously?! I told him I was insanely jealous because I knew she had a new book coming out yesterday that had piqued my interest.

I didn’t notice Anti-Ed walking towards my office this morning until he was standing right in front of me, holding an autographed copy of “Sing You Home.” For me. I probably come across as the most ungracious person in the world when someone does something nice for me. I get choked up and start to cry a little, my words come out jumbled and don’t make any sense. I think he got the point though.

Oh God, now that I’ve written this, I wonder if he gave me the book and expected me to offer money? Hmmm….

So if you have ever been one of the people that did something nice for me or my family, know that I appreciate it. Whether it was babysitting for my girls when we were scrambling for help, paying for me to get a massage and pedicure… I send out my heartfelt thanks and know that I make every attempt to pay it forward when I see an opportunity. 

Ice Princess

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