We had some holes in our walls. More than one, quite a lot more. To be fair, our house is old and the walls are crumbly, not terribly hard to puncture. But still…
Let’s fix the walls, I said to Dave. But we may not be past the holes in the wall time, Dave answered. I think, I replied, that we need to do it anyway, to see a reflection of where we want to go rather than where we’ve been.
I sent an email to our neighborhood listserv asking for names of people who could so some wall repairs and a guy down the street we barely know, a guy who I’ve seen once or twice when he’s borrowed our wheelbarrow said he’d be happy to come over and do it for us.
We’re happy to pay you, I said, it’s sort of a big job.
No, no, he said. I needed to learn how to do this some time ago and I’m happy to pass it on.
He came, three times actually, with his putty and spackle utensil-thingy, his good cheer, his careful work and instructions, and never once asked how we came to have all the holes.
I’m grateful for kindnesses.
A woman at my support group this morning said she wished she’d win to the lottery so she could hand out wads of cash to moms she witnessed in the middle of a struggle time with their child out in the world. She said, “I’d say, you’re doing an amazing job. You’re amazing.”
I loved the sentiment. But I don’t have extra wads of cash around. So I thought, you know what? I’m going to make cards that essentially say the same thing, carry them around in my purse, and when I see a parent in the middle of a jam, working hard to hang in there or working hard to ignore the stares and clicking tongues of other people who can’t find their compassion, I’m going hand it to her. Or him. Here. I see you. And you know what? You are amazing. And so is your kid.
Print them out. Hand them out. Or better yet, make some of your own. Write down whatever you’d like to hear from a perfect stranger when you’re losing your shit and dropping your purse and starting to sweat and pee in your pants just a tiny bit because the bladder? She’s a little weary. Write down what would make you feel seen, feel brave, feel less alone. And pass them out.
Let’s do it. Let’s spread the kindnesses around. All around.