What I am about to tell would be more appropriately titled, "Funny How God Works, Part II," but we'll go with "Easter Bunny" because, well, that works as well.
Anyway...I woke up this morning with a very strange feeling that I should help someone today. I couldn't put my finger on how or why or any of the obvious answers. So, I came downstairs and poured my coffee to clear the cobwebs, checked my email for a lovenote from my hubby, and then for whatever reason decided to check craigslist...and not just my usual spots (baby/kids, pets and clothing and accessories) - no, today for whatever reason, I clicked on "Wanted," which before this morning I did not know existed on this site. There was a single posting this morning from a woman who has 5 children (ages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) and no way to provide them with "an Easter." Well, I emailed her and I am sure she was skeptical of me (why wouldn't she be, she doesn't know me from anyone), but I told her I had a kids birthday party to attend today but I would like to help them out and could bring things by afterward. She gave me her address, we went to the party and then to Target (which I have to say I was a bit dismayed at how many people were in the Easter aisle, and being rude to each other at that).
I bought 5 baskets, 5 packets of fake grass, a book for each child, a puzzle for each child, candy, plastic eggs and 5 stuffed bunnies. I had also collected 2 large trash bags of toys that my kids no longer use and brought them along just to give them away. Mind you, through all of this, I had no idea what financial situation these people are in, other than her posting this morning.
So I'm following my little GPS down...to...THE HOOD. I must say I had no clue that parts of COS even existed like this. I arrive at the house, which I won't even go into detail about, because it is irrelevant. It is snowing like crazy at this point, but I pulled all 5 bags out of the car and headed up to the front door...where I was greeted by their pet wolf (uh huh - the thing was nearly as tall as me). The front door opened and 5 little faces appeared. As I believe anyone would do in this situation, my eyes darted everywhere. This is only what I saw: beanbags on the floor, a tiny television (i.e. maybe 9"?) sat on a milk crate, 5 children in diapers or underwear and nothing else (people, it was SNOWING OUTSIDE)...basically, nothing is what I saw.
It was all I could do to speak when I handed everything over to this family. The woman's mouth dropped open and she must have said "Thank you" a dozen times. I smiled, said 'Happy Easter!' and walked back to the car. I think I drove about 15 yards and the tears started - and would not stop. I cried the entire drive home, and I did a lot of praying.
I believe that God is using me right now as a vehicle to help others. I began to realize this about 3 weeks ago when I had some clothes listed on craigslist to sell and a girl was going to buy them but then told me the day she was supposed to meet me that she had no money and could not afford to buy them. Something - someone, dare I say? - told me to give those clothes to her, free of charge. Come to find out, her husband is in his 3rd tour in Iraq and they are young with 2 small children living on a PFC salary. Then people like that started coming into my life with more and more frequency and it just dawned on me one day that these men are risking their lives and sacrificing everything to fight a war that they all so solidly believe in. And yet at home, their families are struggling to even clothe their children. It isn't right.
We are so fortunate - SO FORTUNATE. I truly did not realize how much until today. I believe that Easter is a time of rebirth and hope and I can only believe in my heart that on some small level, maybe I gave some hope to that family. Maybe they will see that there are good people in the world who pray every night for people like them. Maybe, if they haven't already, they will open their hearts and Believe.
Well you truly know you've done your job as a parent when after all the harping, reminding, cajoling, etc pays off and your child actually does something without being asked! Today was one of those days for both my children.
My precocious 2yr old loves to throw her empty wrappers on the floor, which I usually have to then remind her to pick up and throw away in the trash (which becomes a drama in and of itself with regard to WHICH trash is acceptable to throw it away in.....
Secondly, my 16 month old, who began speaking in 2-word sentences at 10 months old, has finally become more understandable lately. Perhaps it is because when she tries talking with the dumb pacifier (aka "Fier") in her mouth, I pull it out and say, "Whaaaaat?" and I think she gets the point now. Anyhoo, today in her highchair, she pointed to the dog and says, clear as day, "Rosie go lay down!" Parental achievement numero dos! Thank GOD there were no, um, expletives associated with that directive!
So, I do have a sense of accomplishment, just not entirely sure it is a good one!! lol
I am feeling very grateful today. I have had some interesting things happen lately (this always seems to be the case when my faith needs some renewal). I have been feeling very, very overwhelmed by being a single parent right now ('A' has been sleepwalking, having continual temper tantrums, etc etc and 'E' has been having night terrors and waking for various reasons...basically I get very little sleep) and found myself the other day (in tears again) wondering why I felt SO sorrrrry for myself and how why can't I just get some help?! It was intended to only be a rhetorical question, as who in the world is going to really help me? So I decided to pray - I prayed for help, I prayed for strength, I prayed for patience...all the things I felt I desperately needed at the moment.
That night, a fairly new friend of mine called me up to ask if she could come over for dinner the next evening with her kids and that she was bringing dinner with her. Well, YAY! Following that phone call, my absolutely wonderful next door neighbor (whose husband has been deployed many times) called to invite us for dinner on another night. I should mention that this neighbor's oldest daughter is my most favorite babysitter in the world and the entire family LOVES my kids and just have so much fun spending time with them. So going to their house for dinner means I literally get put in a chair, handed a glass of wine and told to relax...and the kids take care of my kids and I get to just be an adult having a normal conversation with someone else.
The next thing that happened is that my sister recommended a very good daily devotional (Everyday Grace by Max Lucado) to me. I couldn't wait for it to arrive...and I have been so good about reading it daily. In fact this morning, I was scurrying around trying to get ready and all of a sudden my eye caught this little book on my dresser and I sat for 15 seconds to read today's passage. And of course, as usual, it was applicable...it was about how when people are desperate, God always rescues them when their heads are on the proverbial chopping block.
THEN...as if this wasn't enough, my MOPS table got together today for a mom's day out and I had SOO much fun. These ladies are just a kick in the pants. Its just amazing how people come into your life and change it for the better.
So in short (haha) I have realized today that it really will all be alright. This too, shall pass. And I have someone always watching out for me.