Tuesday, November 22, 2016
On my first day of 7th grade, I was the new-kid at school in a very small town. I had just moved from a private Catholic school in the Mid-West where I wore uniforms for several years. So when I showed up on my first day, not knowing what to wear and among a sea of unfamiliar faces, I was terrified. Every kid at my school knew each other, some since birth and most since pre-k. Everyone stared and whispered which made me feel even more terrified until one curly-haired, olive skinned girl that looked a little like me strutted up to my desk and introduced herself. She was friendly, loud and made no bones about asking me who I was, where I came from and did I want to sit with her and her friends at lunch?
I am pretty sure she does not remember doing this, but I have never forgotten this one small gesture of kindness. She took one of the most terrifying and vulnerable moments for me and made everything feel warmer and safer. This is what we need more of. We need people to nicely ask the questions and extend some kindness. Her actions that day exemplify how I want my own children to behave when they see someone who is an outsider that may feel scrutinized or whispered about. I hope that they act just like her by extending a hand and offering to sit with someone that may need a friendly face.
When I think about acts of kindness bestowed upon me over the years, she always comes to mind. This same girl is now the grown up mother of 5 boys and is taking them on a Disney Cruise after Thanksgiving.So it felt like a coincidence when she asked me to help her with her Fish Extender gifts, I was ecstatic to do so. I could not help but want to pour a little extra into making her gifts just right for her cruise mates. I hope that the recipients of her gifts can feel the kindness that was poured into them and I hope she feels it reflected back towards her family on their vacation. I always love special orders, they allow me to be highly creative but this time, there was something extra special about working on soaps for someone who set an example 26 years ago for the kind of behavior the world needs more of right now. RJ, you are the bomb!