I know I’ve been grumpy this season, stressed out, wanting to streamline, but already too overcommited to do so. But in my overcommitment, I was able to kind of put things into perspective.
I volunteer at a local Boys and Girls Club, and last night we hosted their Christmas party. I admit, going into it, I was kind of dreading it. It was freezing cold and I didn’t want to drive 45 minutes across town and be away from Lil Man. All I wanted was to stay home, play and snuggle with my baby boy, have some QT with my DH, and put up our Christmas decorations. But I know that special occasions like these are so exciting to kids, and I had already committed to being there, so I slapped on my happy face and off I went. I even got into some Christmas music to lift my mood on my way there. I mean, being around kids is always fun. I just have a hard time remembering that sometimes.
I ended up working at a card-making station and was helping a little girl. She wanted to make a card with each family member’s name written on it (in glitter, of course). I noticed that there was no mom’s name. Just her dad, her brother and herself. When she did mention her mom, it would always be in the past tense. And then she asked me if she could stop to put some ‘lipstick’ on (lip balm, but it’s always lipstick to a little girl, isn’t it?), because her daddy told her she had to put it on otherwise her lips would hurt. That’s not something dads usually worry about. I don’t know the whole story, and I didn’t want to ask and be a downer (it was, after all, a party, right?), but she just touched my heart. The heartbreak she must have from not having a mom around, was sad enough. And thinking of her dad having to learn how to raise a little girl, and worrying about making sure she has chapstick totally broke my heart.
All the kids were so polite. Always saying please and thank you, asking if they could go get something, instead of jumping up and running off. Some even went back to finish homework when they were done with their activities.
Looking at all the kids, you can tell that their lives aren’t easy. Some are having trouble at school, some are having trouble at home, and make sure they do their best. They all have different strengths and are eager to help each other out when need be. They are all trying to be the best people they can be (sorry if I sound like an Army ad), and they are doing this all year long, not just at Christmas.
In my volunteering, I’m supposed to go there and teach them skills for school and life, teach them that an education is important, that self-respect is just as important as learning, to teach them some tricks to make sense of math and spelling. But I think I might be getting just as many lessons from them as they are from me. Possibly more.