My second day of doing Random Acts of Kindness was my actual birthday. I knew it would be a busy but low key day for me. My hubby was out of town and wouldn’t be back until the weekend. I had planned to go the the gym (I’ll do anything for that stress-free shower), pick up a few groceries, volunteer at Josh’s school, and enjoy doing an afternoon full of Random Acts of Kindness. Of course things don’t often end up the way I plan. Maybe the universe is trying to teach me to be more flexible. I’d like to think it’s some special life lesson rather than the universe toying with me for it’s own pleasure. I am a little suspicious though..
I still got to go to the gym and shower, shop for groceries, and volunteer at Josh’s school. I got to do a few Random Acts of Kindness, but not as many as I planned or even the ones I had planned. But sometimes what you have planned isn’t really what needs to be done the most.
Here are my Random Acts of Kindness continued:
5) Be home to wake up hubby. Sound like a weird one? It is. In a surprise twist, I woke up on my birthday to a text from Jesse that he was coming home early from his trip and would be here soon. Aww, sweet right? Leaving a business trip early to spend the day with his wife? Yep, my hubby is a pretty sweet guy, but remember – the universe likes to toy with me. (I mean, teach me life lessons.) It was duty calling that cut his trip short and brought him home. Something very serious had happened at work that needed his attention. He showed up at the house first thing in the morning looking pretty exhausted. Instead of sleeping that night, he had driven three hours and gone in to work. Talk about dedicated. The only thing allowed to intrude on my sleep is a tiny person that shacked up inside my womb for nine months. There are four such creatures on this earth and even their all-nighter privileges have been revoked. So this exhausted & stressed hubby of mine was home for a nap before showering and heading back in to work in a few hours. On his way upstairs, he asked me if I would be home at noon. And if so, would I make sure he was awake so he could get back to work in time for a meeting. Well, no I wasn’t planning on being home then. Remember those RAOK I had planned to do? I would surely be out doing random nice things for strangers. Busy crossing random acts off of my kindness checklist. Thankfully it didn’t take me long to realize that a Random Act of Kindness for someone I love would be the top priority that day. So my answer was yes, I’ll be home to make sure you wake up on time. I knew he was exhausted. And I knew that once his head hit the pillow and he stopped worrying about work for two seconds – that man was going to crash and crash hard. No alarm clock is a match for that kind of tired. So Jesse went upstairs to squeeze 8 hours of rest into a three hour nap and I headed to the gym for that shower. It was 12:01 when I shook him awake. There was no sign that an alarm clock had ever even attempted to pry open his sleepy eyes. It must have admitted defeat and turned itself off to avoid further humiliation.
6) Leave money on a soda machine. I did this in the teachers’ lounge at Josh’s elementary school. It was the perfect place. As I taped the money to the soda machine, I realized that I should to do little random things for them more often. Maybe I’ll sneak in and drop off cookies or leave a dollar on the soda machine once every week or so. With all the talks of budget cuts and larger class sizes, they could use some random kindness along the way.
7) Leave quarters on bubble gum machines at the mall. Amazingly, this might have taken the most effort. I think the universe tried to get to me to go home and enjoy a glass of wine, but I was stubborn and refused to listen.
I took all four kids. To the mall. At dinner time.
Our first stop was for food. Well, actually cash, because Noah wanted Teriayki chicken from the Japanese place in the mall and they don’t take debit cards. I had money for the candy machines, but not enough for dinner. So a quick stop to the ATM and I’d be on my way. Have you ever swiped your ATM card and had the machine completely freeze for five minutes? I have now. It instills a bit of panic as you wonder why and are afraid to leave in case it spews money and a receipt with your bank balance on it the moment you walk away. Finally, it started working again, but it was out of cash. “Go home” said the universe. I can’t bring myself to admit what we ended up eating for dinner that night.
Next stop: get quarters. The local mall has what seems to be about 900 quarter machines for gum and candy. And about 200 of those lovely ride-on toys. You know, the rocket ship, ice cream truck, and monster truck that take 3-4 quarters for each 30 second ride. And I can’t forget the 50 machines where you try to maneuver the mechanical claw to grab a prize from a bin crammed tight with stuffed animals and toys too big or too heavy for that claw. (I may exaggerate my numbers a tiny bit.) Kids all over New Hampshire must be in therapy from shopping and having to pass by a gauntlet of toys taunting them with their shiny colors and bright flashing lights. Taking kids to the mall here without a quarter is like taking them to Chuck E. Cheese only to eat pizza. With all those machines, I knew they had to have a change machine. But where? Unfortunately the guy working at Guest Services had no idea if there was a change machine in the mall nor where it would be if they did have one. I found it though. On the absolute other side of the mall. With four kids in tow. Did I mention they weren’t getting along very well? (Perhaps it should be one of my Random Acts of Kindness that I didn’t leave them in a dressing room at the Gap.)
Finally we were able to leave quarters on the machines. It was fun thinking about the excited kids that would find them. Noah and Riley both thought they should be one of those lucky kids. So we re-taped them back to the machines and disappeared to let them be discovered. Then I scurried home for the night to avoid further punishment so I could continue in the morning.
8) Take snacks to the guys working with my husband. Remember how it’s been really stressful for him at work right now? If they are too busy to sleep, they probably aren’t taking the time to eat either. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to send some love their way. I thought they might need a bit of nourishment to keep them fueled during their marathon work weekend. I bought bottled water, apples, bananas, strawberries, granola bars, pretzels and nuts for the guys and we surprised Jesse at work with our goodies. It was a bonus for the kids, because he happened to have a few minutes to spare to hang out with them. Hopefully he dropped one of those apples in his pocket before he rushed back off to save the world.
9) Let someone go ahead of me at the checkout line. It felt good. It might have taken me an extra two minutes to check out. But it sure did make the lady happy.
10) Pick up an item someone drops. I wouldn’t normally go out of my way to pick up a lady’s Chap-stick when it falls right under her feet. But I was making an effort to do Random Acts of Kindness and I couldn’t let an opportunity pass me by. She thanked me and went about her business. But then she turned back and started a conversation with me. I was thrilled. This time I got to reap the rewards of my good deed. It’s not that I wanted to get something back from it. It was that I saw firsthand that it made a difference.
11) Leave dollars in the dollar bins at Target. Target is my second home so naturally I should do a RAOK there. We left a few dollars hidden among the toys and jetted off to spend more money on things we don’t need.
12) Make an extra effort to thank someone. Us introverts don’t always like to say nice things to strangers. We think them, we just don’t always say them. Now I always try to say “thank you”, I just don’t elaborate very much. So I made an extra effort to say a proper thank you. The local high school has an Animal Science program and they have a barn. Yes, they have an actual barn with a cow, horse, sheep, alpacas, bunnies, geese, a donkey, etc. The school held an “Open Barn” which was staffed by the high school students in the program. They shared cute facts about the animals and let us pet them. We were there for almost an hour and one student in particular practically followed us around so she could tell us about the animals. As we were walking out to the car, I realized I hadn’t thanked her since she was busy talking to another family when we left. I walked back in and thanked for volunteering her Saturday so we could enjoy the animals. I felt great leaving there with her knowing that her time and effort was appreciated. As a side note, newborn bunnies must be the most adorable things on the planet.
These were all the Random Acts of Kindness the kids and I were able to do in two days. Since I want them to experience this with me, I have to work around school schedules and sporting events. The kids are having fun but they’re most looking forward to the Random Acts of Kindness we have planned for tomorrow. I love that they are excited about it.