Thursday, January 7, 2016

Tell Me a Story (Updated)

I need your help, Internet. This is a rough week for me, so I'd really appreciate it if you would tell me a story (or two or three or however many you can think of). Tell me about times when you tried to do something kind and thoughtful for someone, and that made their day or turned out to be JUST the thing they didn't even realize they needed. Or you carefully planned the BEST! SURPRISE! EVER! for someone and it turned out PERFECTLY or even better than you'd dared hope. Or when someone did something kind and thoughtful for YOU, and that helped you hang on a little longer or was JUST the thing you needed. If you don't want to post publicly, feel free to email me at stilldoingmybest (at) gmail (dot) com.


Thanks, friends.
*******
I thought of some fun surprises that I've blogged about!

Click on the "Crappy Day Presents" tab above, scroll down, and there are lots of posts about Crappy Day Packages I've been lucky enough to receive!

A lovely surprise from the internet

The creation of a fun surprise (this was SO! FUN!)
Such a sweet surprise

46 comments:

Megan said...

I have two, but they're about my dad.

1. Several years ago at Christmas he heard on the radio that Toys for Tots was short some huge number of toys. It was very close to Christmas at this point. He got to the office and knew that they had some year end money to spend so he wrote a check and sent everyone in the office to Toys R Us to buy a big number of toys. A good friend of mine worked for my dad so she called me to tell me what they were doing and I joined them. He told me this Christmas that he still remembers me calling him to tell him how much fun it was to shop and what a great thing it was.

2. My parents were on vacation, I can't remember where but it was somewhere snowy. They were at dinner and toward the end of their dinner someone at a nearby table proposed. My dad told their server that he would like to pay for their dinner, but he wanted the server to wait until my parents had left to tell the couple. He said to tell them that he and my mom had been married for 40 years and he hoped that the new couple would be as happy as they had been. My parents leave and as they are waiting outside for their car, the waitress comes running outside to say that the entire restaurant staff was crying over his gesture. (My mom told me this story because my dad firmly believes it's not a good deed if you tell someone about it.)

Swistle said...

1. On a day I was feeling like EVERYTHING WAS MY JOB and that I COULD NOT get it all done before Christmas, a small package arrived in the mail: fox-themed lip balm from my cousin, with a note saying, "I just felt like you HAD to have this." I actually cried.

2. There was this one time when there was a bird towel I liked, in Swistley colors, but I couldn't get up the oomph to place an order. And then some time later, a box arrived containing not only Hershey bars with almonds (the source of all quality oomph), but also towel after towel after towel. And not only the towels, but also each one was from a different person who had gone to trouble and expense to buy one from me. I actually cried.

3. I dropped Elizabeth off for a week of Girl Scout camp, and I felt very, very uncertain about it, and when I got about 5 minutes away there was an astonishing downpour, the kind where you should pull over because you can't see, but you can't pull over because you can't see, and we'd been instructed to leave allllll her possessions in a pile in the field, and I could just imagine everything being SOAKED, and I was quite upset. (Follow-up: nothing was soaked, everything was taken indoors in time. But I didn't know that for a week.) Anyway, on the way home there was a toll, and I held out my dollar and the toll booth operator said, "The person in front of you paid for you," and I guess it was "only a dollar" or whatever, but it made me feel as if humans were GOOD and KIND and DEAR. I actually cried.

Jennifer Mendelsohn said...

Here you go! https://www.facebook.com/mendelsohn.jennifer/posts/10153314368792532?pnref=story

Dr. Maureen said...

The year I took up running more seriously and decided to train for a half marathon in the fall, my husband bought me for my birthday quality earbuds that wouldn't pop out while running and a stop watch. I liked and used both items, but I was even more touched by the way they showed his belief in me that I could do it. (I did it.)

Saly/Sara said...

Just before Christmas, Ed got a centerpiece delivered from one of his business partners, and since I didn't answer the door, it was taken over to our elderly neighbors across the street. When I went over to get it, I asked her if she'd just like to keep it since her family was coming and it wouldn't be appreciated over here. She burst in to tears and kissed me. Her daughter lives in Australia and usually sends a centerpiece but it was too much money for her this year. She hadn't realized how much she was missing it until I'd offered. By the time I came back home I was in tears too.

Swistle said...

This is a small one, but it was so satisfying. I was at a client's house, and we had just come back from a shopping trip and she was tired and chilly. I was puttering in the kitchen and on impulse said, "Would you like me to make you a cup of coffee?" and she said "YES!" and I said, "And maybe a doughnut?" and she said "YES!!" It made me feel as if I'd read her mind, and had a very high rate of return for such a small impulsive act.

Jaclyn/AttacJac said...

Last year we had a group chat for our playgroup meet-ups. One lady I didn't know especially well commented that she wouldn't be coming that day because she and both of her kids were very sick, throwing up and fevers. I'm usually quite shy about reaching out to people but I knew she didn't have a car and so she was TRAPPED in a house with a puking baby and toddler so I sent her a message to please let me know if I could bring her anything. And she said yes! So I picked up the very basic things she needed at the grocery store and dropped them on her porch. She was so appreciative and it was really not a big inconvenience to me. I was so glad I asked. Plus it was the start of a closer friendship between us and now we get together without the playgroup at least once a week.

HereWeGoAJen said...

Years and years ago, Matt and I were getting back from a business trip and we were both sick. We got home from the airport and discovered that animals had gotten into our trash while we were gone and there was garbage all over our yard. I was too sick and tired to do anything about it just then so I went inside. About an hour later, I came out with a garbage bag to clean up (and it was cold and rainy) and it was all gone. Someone mysterious had cleaned it up for us while I was inside. I still have no idea who it could have been.

@meaghanmml said...

Oh, I'm really sorry you are having a bad week. Here's my story. I think it is pretty amazing and that we the luckiest people ever.

Three years ago at Christmas, my children were one and three. Every week my husband and I would go to church, towing them along, and hang out in the choir loft, hiding from everyone else, because my kids were so uncooperative and squirmy. Normal stuff, but the congregation at the Mass we went to was pretty old. And the choir loft wasn't really even the best choice because they were always yelling for water or dropping loud things or trying to climb over the bannister. And disrupting the organist, who was eclectic but friendly.

An elderly old man sat up there in the loft with us every week, but hidden in a back corner almost. The reason: some years ago, during a church restoration project, he dedicated a stained glass window to his late wife. Now he sits by it(her) every week. I know this because when I was 40-weeks with my first, late to Christmas Eve Mass and standing in the farthest reaches of the Church, I was hot and sweaty and a little dizzy. I went to open the window for some air, but it had a DO NOT OPEN sign. He started to open it; I whispered "Oh, the sign;" he said, "It's my window, I can open it if I want to!" and he did. And then I noticed the plate in her honor. Swoon.

Ever since that interaction, I was incredibly fond of this man. Is there anything sweeter than a widower's devotion to his late wife? And also because he was so obviously amused by my children's antics. He is a quiet man and the type to rush quickly out of Mass, but frequently he stopped to smile and gruffly comment on my son's shenanigans. But I didn't know his name or much else about him.

Anyhow, on that Christmas Eve, I was burned out. We were at Mass, early, so we could actually have a seat. We were in a different part of the church, because the choir was actually occupying our usual spot. Making the perfect Christmas magic all season long had taken its toll and I was cranky. Entertaining the kiddos was boring and long. The church was hot and crowded. Yadda yadda. My husband noticed him waving to us from a few pews away and they mime-conversed about meeting outside after the service. I was intrigued.

As we walked out at the end of the service, we stopped at his big red truck. He parks in the same spot every week, right outside of the building so he can make a quick exit. Out of it he pulled a handmade rocking horse. He was beaming - so obviously pleased to give it to us. I have never been so floored in my life. To think of him working on that in the weeks leading up to Christmas and thinking of my children. It the most magical Christmas moment of my adult life. Like in "Yes Virginia." Santa truly does exist. My children were thrilled and I just spent the next few days shaking my head in awe at his kindness. My memories of that year always have a glowy golden haze around them.

I've since seen him gift the rocking horse to other little children and I hope that those families feel the same way. The rocking horse will be one of our most treasured Christmas heirlooms.

shin ae said...

1. When I gave birth to my first child, I hadn't considered what it would be like to come home on that first day. He came early, and I was unprepared even in those areas I HAD thought about. Anyway, my husband and I brought the baby home, were totally panicked about it (how will we keep this tiny person alive outside the sterile environment of the hospital, where medical professionals are waiting to fix whatever goes wrong), totally unprepared mentally and house-wise, and also...hungry. Starving and panicked. Oh, and extremely short on money. It was too much to think about, getting dinner, the baby was crying and everything was going wrong, and my friend called, demanded a dinner order. She arrived at our house with the bag full of takeout and to me she seemed like some kind of ministering angel. I will never, ever forget it.

2. This week a package I was expecting was delivered to the wrong house, not terribly nearby. Neither I, the post office, nor the sender had any idea where it could be. The neighbor was kind enough to walk it over and it was a happy surprise. I thought the package would be lost forever and had been pretty upset. But no!

3. Once upon a time a dear, dear friend spent untold hours making a blanket for me. Every time I look at it (daily) I think about her kindness, and it has greatly comforted and encouraged me in sad and confusing days (and on good days too).

wendryn said...

1) K's first word was "Hi" and she never had a stranger danger phase. We were at the grocery store and I was getting something in the bulk section. She started talking to a guy. I turned around to look at him and it was this huge guy dressed in motorcycle leathers with lots of tattoos. Looked like he'd been on the road a little too much lately. I smiled at him and went back to what I was doing, translating when K wasn't completely intelligible. When we moved on, I said "Say goodbye to the nice man!" because he'd been very patient and actually talked to her. He said, "Wait a minute, please?" and I turned around. He said, "Thank you. Most people would take one look at me and tell their kid to not talk to me. I know I'm a little scary looking and I really appreciate that you didn't get weird about it like so many people do." He actually had tears in his eyes. I said "Of course! She likes people and you were being kind and patient. Thank you for paying attention to her." It made me happy that we made him happy.

2) K and I just went on an 8 day trip to visit my in-laws. My husband stayed home. By day 7 I was about ready to be done, get in the car early and go home. I was exhausted and the family was getting a little impatient with being around a four year old with SO MUCH ENERGY. K was asleep and I was going to go to the store, but my MIL said I had to stay for a minute or two. She came out with two small packages, one for me and one for my husband. I opened mine and it was a beautiful handmade pen. They know I love to write and they found something perfect. It completely made my day, it surprised me, and I've never had a pen that beautiful.

I hope you are doing well! *hugs*

craftyashley said...

Quite a few years ago, we had just had the twins and bought our first house, and things were super tight in the budget. We never talked about it with anyone, especially not in our new ward, we wanted to make friends! Not be downers! So one night there was a knock at the door and in a plain envelope there was enclosed $100. No note. Nothing. I still don't know who did it! With that money we hired a sitter for two hours & went out to eat. It had been so long since we'd had a break & a little fun money to go to something other than bills, diapers, & formula, we were GIDDY.

It has not been that long ago since the big Portland debacle, but I still think back & cherish those kindnesses that you & awesome Twitter friends did for me while we were waiting to hear if my Husband had a job, or would come home. After a particularly awful excursion to school Math Night, trying to haul three kids in a crowded place by myself, I gave up and was so glad to have that DQ gift card you sent to drag them out of that place and instead suggest we all go get ice cream. It was a lifesaver!

Nowheymama said...

I had a full on breakdown at Bible study when my youngest was 18 months old and there was no new baby on the way. (I had been going through baby items to pass them on and make room in the house but had only gotten them as far as the trunk of my van.) The next day, three of my friends showed up on my doorstep with a framed photo of my children complete with a little poem about them growing up and a shamrock plant. Of course I burst into tears. Then they kidded me, as only close friends can, about just wanting to see me cry again. :) Almost four years later, the photo is on my dresser and the plant is in my dining room. It was just the sweetest thing at a time when I needed it so badly.

kathleenicanrah said...

1- I was in a very serious car accident in September. I was 37 weeks pregnant and my 20 month old son was in the backseat. Our car, along with the car that hit us spun many times and we landed in someones yard (only inches from hitting their house). The homeowner immediately came out, along with TONS of neighbors (like 20-30 people instantly arrived- or at least that's how my memory remembers it) and went into action. The homeowner and her neighbor, both moms my age, sat me on the curb and got my son out of his carseat. They brought my son a sippy cup of water. I didn't know, but I was pretty bad off, and when the ambulance arrived they insisted on WHISKING me to the hospital, and the two moms said they would bring my son. Looking back it seems strange, but the EMTs were like "she (me) has to go NOW" and the two moms said, "we will stay in eyesight of the ambulance as best we can. I'm calling your husband with our info so he knows who we are and that we will meet him and you at the hospital." It was extraordinarily kind. ALSO, the cherry on top, was that when they got back from the hospital they took our clothes from inside the car (we had been at the beach, so had wet sandy clothes) and washed and dried and folded them. Even just thinking about it makes me cry.

kathleenicanrah said...

one more! one of my good friends got bumped on her flight on christmas eve this year and was planning to spend the night in the airport to catch the next flight out in the morning. another friend heard this and immediately booked her a hotel at the airport. so simple! so nice.

Bethany West said...

This is one of my favorite Christmas stories: http://www.grass-stains.com/2010/12/christmas-story.html?m=1

Julie said...

A little over a year ago right before Thanksgiving 2014, the alumni group for the college my mother, her sister (my aunt who was a 2nd mom to me), and I all attended was holding a tea in my hometown 700 miles away from where I live to honor my mom and my aunt for their years of dedication to the college. My aunt was battling ALS at the time and was declining rapidly. My mom had made several comments about wishing I could be there. About a week before the tea, I approached my husband about trying to take my son and go to the tea. Without even so much as a question, my husband was on board with the idea and we made plans to surprise my mom the night before the tea. The look on her face when we knocked on the door that night made the whole trip worth it. She had called me about an hour before we arrived and had no idea we were coming. I got the same reaction from my aunt the next morning at the tea. We were only able to spend two nights in town but I would do the whirlwind trip all over again just to see them both so happy. Sadly, my aunt passed away 3 months later but luckily, I have that memory to cherish.

Joanne said...

One time I was having my fourth baby and I felt verrrrry unsure of my whole life but I had this internet friend who sent me the CDP of all CDPs, including onesies and a beautiful, beautiful blanket that she had made for me. And even though that baby turned four in October I still look at and use that blanket nearly every day and, in fact, it's making me cry just to think about it now! Can you imagine having that kind of internet friend? :)

stephanie said...

My husband had a less than stellar childhood and many simple things that you think all kids had - he didn't.

For his 32 birthday I called a bunch of our close friends, bought a bunch of steaks and made his favorite apple pie. He has been having a really hard time with his PhD and just mentally was in a bad place. We were in the driveway playing with our son and our friends just started rolling up in the driveway one by one. There ended up being four other couples and their kids. He was so surprised. We ate and laughed. When I carried in his apple pie with candles he was almost crying.


Later that evening be told me he couldn't remember a better birthday. All because of a few friends, some food and some candles.

Ginger said...

This year, Christmas was really tight since I lost my job. We knew the kid was taken care of (advance planning, plus 4 sets of grandparents helps), but gifts for my husband and I were basically out. We told everyone not to get us anything, since we weren't going to be able to reciprocate, and I won't lie, I was bummed. I know it's not about gifts, but Christmas is my favorite holiday and I can't help it, I love the magic, and I was sad. Until Christmas eve, when a box full of gifts just for my husband and I showed up--my mom put a note in that said "because MY little girl needs some Christmas magic."

alyce said...

I didn't realize how awful a week it has been until I glanced up just now and saw my face reflected in my computer monitor. I am an ugly crier. Red-faced, snot everywhere and woooo boy. These were lovely. I can't wait to come back and read more.

Anonymous said...

Just a few weeks ago, I was tired and stressed and just trying to get through the day and get the kids fed and into bed so I could go to bed and it was just a bad day all around. In an effort to at LEAST make dinner survivable, I took the kids to the McDonalds drive thru for a quick, easy treat dinner. I ordered the usual kids meals and even splurged for the McFlurries (a very rare treat) in an effort to just finish the day on a good note. Well, when I pulled ahead to pay the very nonchalant teenager at the window mumbled, "The person ahead of you paid for your meal and said 'Happy Holidays'." It took me a minute to register what happened! I actually blurted out, "But they don't KNOW ME!" The teenager just shrugged and said, "Um, it's paid. Next window." I was so shocked by this sweet, anonymous gesture that I burst into tears! The poor kid at the window had no clue what to do with my outburst and the look on his face was priceless. Middle aged mom with kids in a minivan crying over a free meal?!? Anyway, I did pay it forward this week and the face of the shocked, confused man behind me gave me a laugh, and made me feel better about being so weird when a stranger did something nice for me! -Lisa

Swistle said...

Oh, oh, I thought of another one. I was having my final baby, by c-section, and the hospital asked if two EMT trainees could sit in on it. And I said yes, because the more the merrier. And one of them was a young guy who basically did his best to stay upright through the whole thing. And the other was a youngish woman who held my hand and talked to me during the epidural, making me think, "Hey, why don't they always have a Talker/Hand-Holder for this, because this is SO MUCH NICER?," and stayed near me during the c-section prep (Me: "Am I...exposed?" Her: "You were for a minute, but now they've got you covered up again---and [the young guy] closed his eyes!"). And after it was all over and I was back in my room, a nurse brought a gift bag of crossword puzzle books and candy bars and a teddy bear from the girl EMT trainee, thanking me for letting her be in on it and congratulating me on the baby. It was super, super, super touching to me, and almost 9 years later I'm still thinking of her.

Dalziel said...

When I was about 19ish (18 maybe?), I took a job tree planting out east. I was a university student, had no money and borrowed enough from my parents for a flight out there (one way). Anyway, the job went poorly, I quit after a month and had to borrow more money from my parents to get home. It was complicated (greyhound, then flight) and I couldn't get a flight the night I got into the larger city I was flying out of so I planned to sleep over night in the airport before my flight. Except, I didn't realize it wasn't a 24hr airport. But, no problem; I decided when I arrived and realized the airport was closed already, that I would sleep in the bus station. Except, it wasn't 24hrs either. I called my mom and told her my predicament, letting her know I would figure something out. A lady dropping her son off overheard me talking and offered me her guest room overnight. She took me home, cooked me dinner and breakfast, made me call my parents and tell them where I was, took me sightseeing quickly in the morning and then to the airport for my flight. I was so very thankful for her kindness that night.

kakaty said...

Backstory: One of the places I worked had a program for employees of 5+ years or more to apply to get $5,000 to help fund a "dream" (i.e. one guy went to Poland to trace his family tree, one guy went to swim in the bioluminescent bay in puerto rico, one lady went to Peru on a knitting tour). Anyone could apply and they gave out two "dreams" each summer.

So, my boss then was a mentor and someone I had known since I was in college and she ALWAYS talked about how she wanted take ballet classes again. She did ballet for 14 years then gave it up when a (horrible) teacher said she was too tall to be a REAL ballet dancer when she was trying out for the Nutcracker. She hit the 5 years of work mark and applied for the dream gift, saying she would see the Nutcracker in NYC and Chicago then take a year of ballet lessons and try out for the local symphony + ballet nutcracker... she didn't get it. So she started taking lessons on her own and after 3 months scored a part as a "party guest" in the local production. We all went to see her.

The next year she applied for the dream gift again and was again turned down (the committee wanted her to "dream bigger"). She was so disappointed. With 2 young kids she felt she couldn't keep doing her lessons and remain fiscally responsible. So I contacted everyone I could that knew her (she was a great mentor to SO MANY people and I was able to sent requests to about 50 people) and asked them to contribute to her ballet dreams. I was able to collect nearly $800 - we got her a gift certificate to cover 6 months of lessons, another GC for ballet wear/shoes, an amazing Nutcracker ornament with a photo from her first performance, and cash that she could use for babysitting during her class times. I wrapped it all up in a toe shoe box that was wrapped with toe shoe ribbons, with a note that said "next year, the Chinese Dance!"

She was FLOORED - first at the gift then at all the names and notes from the people who contributed to it. And you know what? That year she WAS in the Chinese Dance scene! (under a dragon, but STILL - she did it!) This was about 10 years ago, she's still dancing today, has been in 6 or 7 Nutcracker performances, and every christmas she sends me a picture of that ornament and thanks me again.

@mamabagels said...

Many years ago, a co-worker (with three kids and a husband) mentioned to all of us that they would probably have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Thanksgiving because money was so tight. When I shopped for my Thanksgiving dinner, I got double of everything including the turkey. The store had some kind of promotion and the turkey was actually free. I took the bags to her house and left them on the porch. The dog that usually barked and carried on at every leaf that blew by didn't even wimper. After Thanksgiving, she told everyone how these bags of groceries were mysteriously left on her porch -and the dog didn't even bark. She had no idea where they had come from. It was so much fun, except I couldn't tell anyone it was me!

Clare said...

My Uncle was recently admitted to ICU with a major infection and had a trach tube placed. He's slowly getting better and as of this week is conscious but he still can't talk because of the tube. Anyway, the other day I went to visit and he slowly and carefully spelt out using his letter board "pregnancy makes you beautiful". It was lovely coming from my cynical, priest uncle especially as I was nervous he'd be upset I have chosen not to marry before we have the baby.

Anonymous said...

1) Blood donors. Both my son and dad have had transfusions, and I donate as often as I can.

2) My midwife hugged me and THANKED me after delivering my son. Yes, I know it’s her job, but in the minutes and hours immediately following birth, she treated me with so much love and tenderness. She rubbed lotion on my hairy legs!

3) Nine years ago this week, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and had surgery to remove his kidney in the big hospital an hour away from my hometown and spent several days in the hospital. The day before his surgery, my aunt died very unexpectedly. It was a horrible week. When we returned home from the long stay at the hospital, my other aunt was waiting for us and had prepared a meal of chicken and noodles and mashed potatoes for our supper. No meal has comforted me more since. I can recall so many kindnesses from that time – the neighbor who cleared snow from my parents’ huge driveway (it made my dad cry, since he was the one who usually took care of the other neighbors, and that’s what paying it forward looks like), the strangers who checked on me after I drove my car into a soybean field after hitting a patch of ice, the friends who got together and sent my family frozen meals from Omaha steaks.

4) When I was failing miserably at pumping and nursing my brand new newborn, my mother hand washed all of those godforsaken breast pump parts after every nursing session.

-Kimberly B.

Anonymous said...

This just happened to me today. I am feeling super bad and sad about my church right now, and I got a random email from a friend, thanking me for leading song time with the preschoolers. I only do it 2x per month, and I don't really LOVE it, but I CAN do it, and they need help, so I do it. But her well-timed email made me feel known and appreciated, which is the exact opposite of what I've been experiencing lately. I haven't responded yet because I tear up when I try. It was such the right thing at the right time, and she didn't even KNOW.

katydidnot said...

I was going through a really, really challenging time just before my wedding. My job had broken me, leaving me in a spiral of anxiety and misery, and I was afraid I had thrown away the career I had worked so hard to build, destined to become a burden on my soon to be husband. Not my finest hour.

One of my best friends lives in London and, as much as we chatted and planned visits, I still missed her terribly. I was very much looking forward to seeing her at the wedding, though I knew it would be too busy for quality catching up time.

My bridal shower was at my mom's house a couple of months before the wedding. I was looking forward to seeing family and friends, and so grateful for the efforts everyone had made just for me, but deep down, I was a little sad to be without about half of my bridesmaids. (We had a flurry of new babies, plus distance issues.)

The night before the shower, I was hanging out with my parents and Kev; I think he was assembling their new patio furniture or something. My sister had gone to dinner with a friend and we were waiting for her to come home. She came in and had a bottle of the disgusting "champagne" my London friend and I used to buy each other to celebrate things when we were broke law students and said that my friend had asked her to pick it up for me to celebrate the big day. We all laughed and I picked up my phone to text her, but then there she was, standing there with a MUCH better bottle of champagne. I don't even remember what she said, I was too busy flying across the kitchen to hug and weep all over her. I could still cry just thinking about it! It was the most perfect gift, at the most perfect time.

Love to you!

Diane Stenglein said...

I've had a rough couple of days - my anxiety has been running rampant; my husband has been traveling.

Today, I woke up and felt better. And then I met a friend for our morning walk. She handed me a small package, telling me she meant to give it to me for my birthday a week ago. It was a set of Guatemalan worry dolls. Even better, the dolls are a tiny Nativity set - she remembered from conversation we had back in November - that I collect small Nativities. (One way I carve out a place for my faith.)

Rayne DeVivo said...

My second son was born 5 weeks early in an emergency c section. It was early August and we have a 3/4 acre yard. I had been on bed rest for several weeks and we had a preschooler, so not much yard work was getting done. My husband is pretty particular about how our yard works, but things fall apart, ya know. During the three days I was in the hospital our neighbors came over & picked up dog poop, mowed, weed wacked the fence line from both sides, and got it all ship-shape.

I have a pro-bono divorce client whose kids are in the same grades as mine. Every so often I send in double the field trip fee & ask that it be applied to her kids. Sometimes the teachers come back and say her kids are already paid for, but could they use it for another child whose parents don't have field trip $. Once I got a very nice thank you note from a mom who really appreciated the surprise paid for field trip.

Jaclyn/AttacJac said...

Another/a new one! This morning I had a terrible headache and couldn't stand the thought of music circle time at the play centre with friends. When my friend heard why we weren't going she insisted I drop the girls for our friends to collectively watch at the play centre and go home to nap for a few hours! I picked them up tired and fed and ready for naps a little while ago.
It really is the little things!

The Awktopus said...

1) One time a family member whom I see maybe once or twice a year mailed me a necklace that my late grandmother had given her, along with a very nice multi-page letter with stories about my grandmother. It was such a nice thing to do and so unexpected!

2) When I went to college, I moved several hours away from home and I was SO, SO homesick. One day during my first semester I got a huge (and I mean HUGE) care package from some relatives with books, games, art supplies, room decorations, and all kinds of other things. Opening it was seriously like Christmas morning--just when I'd think I'd unpacked everything, I'd find something else hiding at the bottom of the box! It had come at exactly the right time and it made me so happy.

3) A year or so ago I had to go on a very long drive, and my aunt bought me an assortment of snacks for the road. (Seriously, do I have the nicest relatives or what?) After the trip, she casually asked me which of the snacks had been my favorite, and I told her that there had been a bag of fancy popcorn I'd especially enjoyed. A few days later, I received a box in the mail with probably six or seven bags of the exact same popcorn! It got me through many late-night snack cravings in the future.

4) This is such a small thing that I almost feel silly including it, but it made me happy. One time a girl at the childcare place I work at asked me if we could make smoothies during free time. I could tell she thought I was going to say no, but I got to blow her mind by saying yes! (It was a slow day and we had some fruit in the kitchen that was about to go bad anyway.) She absolutely lit up--you would have thought I'd just offered to buy her a pony. It was so fun to make her day like that, AND we both got to enjoy a delicious smoothie!

kathleenicanrah said...

I keep coming back to read the new comments. They are so wonderful.

I thought of another one-- I'm one of four kids and one year I felt inspired to rally my siblings to give my parents a very different kind of Christmas gift. We were all home for Christmas with our spouses and kids, and I told my parents that we wanted to decorate the tree late Christmas Eve to surprise them and the kids. In the previous months, I asked my siblings to send me their 20-30 favorite memories of growing up, and I printed them on fancy paper and cut them all out and put a string on them. We decorated the tree with all of our favorite memories. When my parents got up on Christmas they were confused at first (it wasn't the most beautiful looking tree, covered in tiny bits of paper) but when they started reading and got what it was....it was so beautiful. They both stood there and read them all and just cried and cried (as did all of us). It was a really really special thing.

velocibadgergirl said...

I'm on a private message board with about a dozen ladies who all met on the Knot hinty billion years ago. One of the girls lived in England until just a few years ago, but would come to Ohio sometimes to visit her husband's family. In 2008 I made plans to go visit her while she was there, but then secretly arranged for four other friends from our group to meet us. She had no idea! Her husband was in on it, so we had him bring her to meet me at a restaurant, but then we were all there waiting. It was great! It was the first time she got to meet the other four in person.

Jessica said...

One time I had an internet friend who liked to buy chocolate chips on sale and keep them in her freezer. (Probably because she's so generous about sending baked goods and other things to people!) Unfortunately, though, she was moving across the country and the chocolate chips couldn't come. So I flippantly said I'd take them and a few days later THEY SHOWED UP AT MY DOOR. An entire flat-rate shipping box full of chocolate chips! I put them in my deep freeze and, since I try not to bake too much lest I double my weight, they lasted over two years and every single time I saw them I thought of her. I still, in fact, think of her every time I buy chocolate chips.

Marcy said...

I'm so sorry about your friend and your week.

I don't have much mental energy to write up stories right now, but I have lots and your CDP package would make the list. Here's one I've written down, as part of this post:

http://quettandil.blogspot.com/2012/07/marian-call.html?m=0

"I was talking with [Marian Call] on twitter several months ago to arrange a physical copy of Got to Fly for a sister of mine in Hawaii, who didn't have the internet speed to download it herself. I could've paid for the download and shipped it out, but I thought I'd see if Marian Call had a magical office worker bee who could do it, and she did. I agreed to pay a little bit for her time. And then... March happened. So as we were finishing up the details, I told her "And one last thing: just received very very bad news this morning, and your music is helping, as usual. Thank you!" At which point she said, "Don't worry about the cost, it's on me." I explained that my bad news wasn't affecting my sister, who was going to be paying me back anyway, but she still gave the CD away for free.

This really touched me, possibly more than anything anyone else did or said at that time. It wasn't much perhaps, but the fact that she'd do it, as a stranger who had no idea at all what my bad news was about? It meant something, at least to me."

Marcy said...
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momof3 said...

I have 2 stories: 14 years ago 2 of my daughters (5 & 3) &I were involved in a horrific car accident. My 3 year old had a severe traumatic brain injury and spent 1p days in the PICU and was transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation hospital. We spent Christmas there and a friend I hadn't seen in a number of years delivered a lovely meal for us.

7 years ago, we had a small kitchen fire which caused a lot of smoke damage and made the major living areas,of our house uninhabitable until it could be thoroughly cleaned and relaired. Friends of ours invited us to their home for a lovely home cooked meal.

momof3 said...
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Doing My Best said...
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Ashley said...

I'm sorry it's been a rough week! :(

I love all the kindness stories.

The most kind surprise ever bestowed on me was in March of 2013. I had a miscarriage and only told a few internet people initially. Those few Twitter people banded together and sent me the best care package OF ALL TIIIIIME. Chocolate and margaritas and junk food and an Amazon gift card and just...a whole box of love. It helped replace the feeling of loss with love even just for a bit. I still get warm fuzzy feelings when I think of how loved I felt in that moment.

Idena said...

Oh these stories are wonderful!

Here's one:
I'm one of four girls. We're all in our 40s and 50s now and live all over the country. My mother always talks about how great it would be for all of us to be all together, but that hasn't been possible for well over a decade. So a few years ago the three of us that live too far to drive arranged to fly into the city near our hometown -- with our flights arriving near the same time -- and the one sister who lives nearby picked us all up at the airport and drove us to our family house. My parents only expected that one sister for the weekend. When she went inside the house, the oldest sister ran to the back door and rang the bell, then when my parents were shocked to see that sister, I came in another door. During all this excitement, the sister that lives farthest away, and whom my mother knew would never be able to fly across the country for a weekend, made her way into the kitchen and was just sitting at the table. My parents were speechless! It was awesome and such a wonderful gift for them!

Bethany West said...

I don't remember how I found out about the CDP exchanges, but I'm so glad that I got it on it. I've done it twice and have found 2 very rewarding relationships on twitter because of it. I practiced caring for melisdramatic and shrinkingbeth just so that I could be an encouraging voice in their feed and now they're my friends!
You are an excellent facilitator of love. You show admirable restraint when sharing about difficult times in your life (I never learned the appropriate boundaries there). I find a kindred spirit in your tweets that just makes me love you more.
Good luck fighting the dementors. You rock.

MV said...

I've saved this post for a while, and since I'm having a godawfull day, maybe finally answering will cheer me up as well. Here's hoping.

I'm a general practitioner (in Germany, so bear with me if I misspell or slaughter grammar). Quite a few years ago, a patient of ours ame to us with his wife. She was the patient, he was fine. While waiting for her to be treated, he fell off his chair in the waiting room with a heart attack. What are the f-ing chances to have a heart attack at your doctors office? Crazy. Anyway, I was pretty bew to family practice, having spent the previous 2 years regularly working shifts at a cardio intensive care unit. I treated him according to standard procedure, really very easy, if you know what to do. It always seems like magic to the patients, but it's really not exactly rocket science. His ECG normalized before the paramedics showed up to take him to the hospital, which is obviously a good sign.

Fast forward to a few weeks later. My nurses told mme to go to one of my colleagues rooms, because someone wanted to see me. This is very unusual, and since he wasn't my patient directly, I didn't even recognize him ar first. It turns out that pretty much everybody from the paramedics, to the cath lab, to the ICU, to the peripheral ward, to rehab had told him how lucky he was to have gotten such excellent primary care. Again, I don't think I did much except follow procedure, but there you go.

He obviously tried to thank ne, but couldn't, tears welling up in his eyes. This 80-something year old man just ended up taking my hand in both of his and bowing to me in tears. Then he walked out without another word.

It was one of the most moving moments in 14 years as a doctor, and still keeps me going on rough days 10 years later.

Maybe my day isn't so bad, compared to his back then. Thanks for letting me share.