Finding your moxie isn’t always easy. I struggled yesterday, and am today a bit. I have the remnants of a cold and was feeling exhausted yesterday afternoon and laid down to rest my eyes after my oldest got home from school. About half an hour into my not-so-restful nap, my phone started to vibrate incessantly. I thought maybe I’d forgotten to turn off an alarm and picked up my phone to find multiple texts asking if my oldest daughter–a freshman– was okay. A teacher was shot while running on the trails behind her high school after school had let out. It’s an area that hunters frequent and we all seemed to think it was probably an accident. The teacher was her history teacher and he’s okay, but then it came through that our first grader was on lockdown at her school. My oldest was already home and safe, but now the threat of an unknown shooter hung in the air.
A neighbor offered to pick up the youngest and I busied myself as I put holiday lights onto the bushes in the front yard. Instead of Christmas Carols, the sound of nearby search helicopters provided the background noise. The neighbor pulled in with our kiddos and we invited the youngest in to play- they talked about an intruder drill at school but thought it was just practice. It was comforting to see their typical first-grader exuberance in the middle of a worrisome situation. The mom said she’d pick her daughter up in an hour and I finished up the decorating outside; all the while contemplating scenarios and worries. An hour went quickly and the neighbor came over, saying she didn’t want to intrude but she was inviting herself in for a drink–she didn’t want to go back home alone. My house has never been messier and while I was mortified about the mess, I was relieved she invited herself in. We sat and talked about possible scenarios, I served the kids dinner while they played and we shared wine and conversation. Anxieties lightened and it felt like a weekend night hanging out with her/them instead of a weekday with bizarre news. They’re new neighbors and we really only got to know them after our kids were trapped at school together last year during an ice storm. My husband was in the ICU that night, the roads were horrible and the kids slept on the library floor with the staff. They offered to get Layla that night as well and finally brought her home at 4am once the roads cleared after hours of trying. I was stuck at the hospital and knew my kiddo was safe with the teachers at her school and was grateful for kind, new neighbors like them. We thanked them with a handle of whiskey and have thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with them and having a fun family nearby since.
So, I’d planned on writing this blog last night and cleaning and finishing up decorating but instead spent a few hours connecting with a neighbor. Laundry can wait. Messy counters can wait. Toothpaste in the sink can wait. What happened instead was necessary time spent with a friend. We laughed and joked, took the friendship up a notch over shared worry for our kids and community. She left with some moxie goodies from this month’s box and we were all more at ease for the rest of the night. After she left, I asked my husband, “what difference does it make to try to make a difference?”… maybe I had the wrong idea. Usually I’m the one giving pep talks around here but he turned it around and said, “making a difference starts only a little bit at a time.” I wasn’t sure.
Our youngest was cranky and tired but refusing bedtime. I set down the laundry and took her into my room and laid in bed with her. Ever the buddy, our golden retriever, Maya jumped up to join us. She somehow wedged herself onto her back between Layla and me with her paws in the air. Layla and I talked for a few minutes over her furry belly and Layla’s mood started to soften. Out of nowhere, Maya got into a sneezing fit- sneeze after sneeze sent Layla and I into a giggling fit. It was good to laugh, to have the goodness of this little moment. It was good to have everyone I love safe in my house. It’s good to have good neighbors that don’t care if your house is a mess.
He’s right. The goodness starts small. And it’s all important because it all adds up. I’m a day late with everything but that’s ok. Filling my home with love and friendship and laughs is the goal anyway, right? Even though it’s not the way I planned, it’s more than enough to push me forward today trying to make a difference. It might be small, but I think I’m on the right track. I hope you’ll join me.