Sunday, September 15, 2013

I'm Celebrating My Birthday a Little Differently This Year

Inspired by Robin over at The Birthday Project I decided to celebrate being on this earth for half a century (how can something sound awful and good all at the same time!?) by doing One Random Act of Kindness for every year of my life.  Ok, so maybe they're not all totally random since some necessitated advance planning, but I also kept my eyes open to moments of serendipity.  I also didn't do all of them on my actual birthday, but spread them out through almost two weeks.   I also enlisted the help of D and the boys.  Here's what I did:
  1. Let cars into traffic.
  2. Let people cross the parking lot/road.  
  3. Held the door open for several people (these first three feel like cheating, I do those every day)
  4. Gave a gift card to a family shopping for school supplies at Walmart
  5. Contributed to the impromptu dinner we all brought over to Grandma's and
  6. Carried her laundry upstairs for her
  7. Put out muffins, donuts & bagels out at the bus stop for the neighbors to enjoy while we waited for the school buses on the first day of school.
  8. Hey, the bus drivers have probably been up since 5 a.m. and it's their first day too.  They could probably use a muffin or a bagel right about now.
  9. Decided to invite the neighbors from the bus stop down the street to have some breakfast too! 
  10. The three-year old 2 doors down really liked the blueberry muffins so we sent him home with what was left.  (wow, see how that happens, one kind thing multiplies practically on its own!)
  11. Left some quarters in the laundromat for people to find.
  12. Paid for the car behind me at Tim Horton's.
  13. Treated P's class to ice cream (my original plan was to bring the teacher & aides lunch but they requested this instead so everyone could join in and it was fun to meet P's new classmates).
  14. Put a surprise donut in M's lunch.
  15. Took flowers to the assisted living facility down the street and asked the receptionist to give them to a resident who didn't have any family nearby. ("You want to what?  Why?"  The receptionist was shocked and called everyone out of the office to gawk at me.  LOL  "But who should we say they are from?"  Just from someone who loves them)
  16. My neighbor hurt her back so I called her from the grocery store to see if she needed anything.
  17. While I was there I decided to cook dinner for her family so she wouldn't have to be on her feet any longer than necessary.
  18. Paid for a different car behind us at Tim Horton's.  (Honestly we are there so much I could probably very easily do this 50 times.  LOL)
  19. The town is mandating that all the broken sidewalk on our street has to be fixed.  After talking to the contractor we decided to replace the whole sidewalk in front of our house rather than just the 4 blocks that are damaged.  Technically the one at the end is on the neighbor's property but we're replacing that one too.  (This is kind of an unofficial rule in the neighborhood.  Our neighbor on the other side replaced "our" block when he redid his sidewalk.  But there are probably an equal number of people who don't do it)
  20. Delivered a box of chocolates to the NICU at the local hospital.  This one was really important to me since there was no NICU when I was born and the hospital I was born in closed long ago. I remember going to visit the nurses there when I was 4 or 5 but I didn't really appreciate why we were there.  I would give each and every one of them a big hug today if I could find them.  (The unit secretary looked at the boys and asked "Which one of you was here?" Not them. Me. Well, not me.  None of us actually.  She looked puzzled at first, but seemed appreciative once I told her the story)
  21. Sent a card to a friend who is battling cancer.  (I wish we lived closer so I could help more.)
  22. Got my neighbor's kids off the school bus and watched them while she was at the doctor.
  23. Put money in the collection jar for the local food bank.
  24. Donated a big box of books and DVDs to the local library.
  25. Left $5 with the circulation desk librarian and asked that they use it to pay the fines the next person who owed them.  ("These aren't your overdue fees?  Who are they for?  You don't know?  Some person you don't know?  Wait a minute...")
  26. Wrote a note to a co-worker telling her how much I admire her (she sent me a very sweet text thanking me).
  27. I work for a non-profit that is heavily dependent on volunteers.  Tonight is new volunteer orientation so I left some treats for them while they fill out paperwork.
  28. Due to a Phineas & Ferb episode, M. has been wanting to try a croissant.  Saw some at the store today so got him a chocolate one.  He pronounced it very good.
  29. Got D. the expensive chocolate bars, the ones he doesn't buy for himself.
  30. Did not freak out when neighbor kid put her foot in the new concrete.  (I think that counts don't you?)  No damage, it had dried juuuuuust enough.
  31. Donated some books on Down syndrome to the local Parent Network library.
  32. Made a donation to the United Way.
  33. Made pasta salad for P and let him take it to school for lunch.
  34. Found  out it was National Chocolate Milkshake Day, so threw the kids in the car to get some.  ("Mom, are there more National Days like this?  How do we find out what they are? LOL)
  35. Gave up a chair for someone who needed it.
  36. Let a large family go ahead of us in line to visit the tall ships.
  37. Made a donation to a charitable organization with a booth at the Canal.
  38. Tipped generously when we got lunch at the food trucks.
  39. Went to four Tim Horton's until we found one that had mac & cheese, which P really wanted.
  40. Gave our phone numbers to a family member of a friend who's travelling through our area, in case they have a breakdown or get lost or need advice on where to stay, etc.
  41. Put some quarters in the candy machines at the mall.
  42. Paid for the car behind us in the toll lane, even though we have EZ Pass.
  43. Returned grocery carts in the parking lot.
  44. "Rounded up" our bill at the grocery store to donate to the Food Bank.
  45. Instead of the usual love notes I put in their lunch boxes, I drew cartoons and made up riddles (not very good ones, but hey, it was early in the morning!)
  46. Let homework go until Sunday night (definitely not the usual routine!)
  47. Got a whole pile of ironing done in anticipation of upcoming business trips, rather than do it last minute like usual.
  48. Had a family movie night on a weeknight instead of a weekend.
  49. Brought in the garbage cans and
  50. Unloaded the dishwasher (two of the boys' chores).
In reflection, I think this was a really good thing and I'm going to continue doing intentional random acts of kindness, not just on my birthday, but all the time.  I was in an exceptionally good mood the whole time I was doing this.  I also noticed that I was able to let go of a lot of little things that I would normally let irritate me.  The boys and D. definitely benefitted as well, not just as beneficiaries of a lot of the kindnesses, but I noticed them going out of their way to do nice things as well, like bringing gatorade to the guys who poured our sidewalk and helping a friend at the bus stop.  I want to give the kids an awareness that there are little things they can do to make the world a better place and that they should just do them as they see a need or as they think of it.  I hope that message sank in and I'll keep leading my example.

I also noticed that almost half of these have to do with food.  Hmmmm.... might have to work on that a little bit...