Monday, December 15, 2008

Playing Santa is a heartbreaker

In my last post, I quoted a craigslist ad posted by a woman trying to give her kids a Christmas. Well, on Friday morning, she showed up with her three adorable kids to pick up the box of goodies - arts & crafts supplies, plus a game of Clue - in my lobby. She started crying, in a tears-only, no-sobbing kind of way, and I may have gotten more than a little choked up myself. Here I'd spent the whole week freaking out about my lease renewal and lack of business, and meeting this little family gave me back some perspective.

Saturday, I took the train home to visit my mom and told her about the experience. When we got up in the morning, she was still curled up under the blanket when she said "I can't stop thinking about that mom and her kids". So we went shopping for another batch of presents for them...she really wanted to give them the ingredients for a nice Christmas breakfast (she's a huge fan of all breakfast food), but that just wasn't going to work logistically. Instead, we put together a very motherly care package amongst the toys - cold medicine, toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo, cake mix and candles for the next birthday in the family, dishwashing liquid and new sponges, odd things like that in addition to Twister, Uno, Hanna Montana bits, Krazy straws.

Years of living in Manhattan have made me averse to allowing new people into my life, and I normally would have avoided this type of situation in case it resulted in frequent requests for money or support. As a fledgling attempt to overcome my minor paranoia, it is so far working like a dream. I'm more likely to give when not being pushed, and I really do like knowing whose life I'm improving in some small way. I also caught an undercurrent during the brief meeting in my lobby that I was some kind of proof to her abused children that good people do exist. I wasn't looking for know, I don't think I really thought through what I was doing at all. I just wanted the feelgood of giving someone a Christmas, but it has turned out to be so much more than that.


Christine said...

Yeah to mom and loving Breakfast food! She knows a good thing...

No, you both know a good thing. What you two are doing is utterly fantastic... and inspiring.

I really enjoy how you find charitable events in your local area. And have proved that it doesn't take a lot to lend a helping hand.

You've inspired me to lend a helping hand. I donated $5 to city shelter which will provide $125 worth of food. I helped my friend and her family (hubby just laid off) by raising mass orders of tamales so that she has $500 for Christmas for her family. And I hope that I can keep doing these little things.

Thank you for you and your mom's inspiration! Happy Holidays!

Schevus said...

I often hear "I didn't know people like you existed" or some derivation of that when helping someone. It really makes you wonder how rare of an occurrence it really is for someone to get the help they need.

- Schev