Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Random and Kind

It was my birthday last week.
I am 32.

Birthday Pancakes. Yes sir.

It's a little bit thrilling for me to write that number down and own it. Thirty-two. I'm a grown up. And I've got the numbers to prove it.

Not that it's interesting to anyone else, but from here on out, I have been driving longer than I haven't been driving.

I haven't been able to put my thumb on it, but something feels official. Some secret threshold has been crossed. I keep checking my mailbox because I'm pretty sure my secret decoder ring will arrive any day now...or maybe it's a membership card...or a license of some kind. Whatever it is, I think I'll fashion it into a broach and wear it always, even with my pyjamas, because, dude, I'm IN!

My birthday cake. Hand painted chocolate having trillions of virtual calories. 0% of which go straight to your thighs. Enjoy!

This year, to combat any age related trepidations that might have been running black-ops with my emotions, I declared the day: A Day for Kindness. I committed random acts of kindness and asked friends and family to do the same, creating much collateral damage in the form zen-like driving, positive reinforcement rather than name calling, and looks of bewilderment on the faces of strangers... Bad moods were dying and dismembered all over the place.

And I felt like I inhaled for the first time since Thanksgiving.

I bought lunch for a couple behind me in line that day. The cashier gave me up and they walked over to my table and thanked me profusely. The gentleman made earnest eye contact with me for several seconds in order to communicate how wholly thankful he was. I think he would have hugged me if he knew for certain my kindness would extend to not suing him for touching me. My face burned. It was more than I bargained for, to be on the receiving end of kindness. But grace ruled, and I only sounded like a guffawing Water Buffalo for a moment before I wished them a happy lunch.

Later, my three year old left a quarter in a gumball machine. Not turning the dial on that machine was akin to Not claiming one's lottery winnings for her, I think. But she did it. And we left a note explaining our intentions. It was such a simple gesture, but the genuine sacrifice behind it has marked me.

I've wasted 32 years not leaving quarters in gumball machines. No more. For the next 32, there will be quarters.


flutter said...

I just love this

painted maypole said...

happy birthday.

what a great idea. i love the idea of inviting your friends and family to join you in a day of random acts of kindness, and then sharing their stories. what a wonderful gift to share with the world.

how lucky for us that you were born.

Christine said...

you have the biggest heart.



ps it's not a decoder ring it's pamphlet with instructions about the secret handshake. ;-p

stefanie said...

Oh, Emily. I love that last line. May there be thousands upon thousands of quarters.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for commenting on the WC site regarding fixing my father a bologna sandwich--I know he would love it! I have enjoyed reading yur site and will return often and soon! My fathers's last name was Lynn--he still attneds his class reunion every year in June--I think he said they were down to 5 this last June. He said he does not know if he will attend this year or not. I encourage him to do so because I went with him two years ago and the stories I heard were amazing. I believe he still holds a record for basketball at the high school--e is very proud of that since he is only 5-7.

g said...

What a wonderful thing for a child to do - it's perfectly on kid-scale to leave money in a gumball machine. Your child is learning kindness and compassion at an early age.

Keetha said...

(Visiting from the Women's Colony)

My birthday was last month and OH if I'd only thought to do this. What a way to celebrate. I love that.

I'll be sure to do that, on my birthday, and before, too. Why wait?

I enjoyed the visit.

Stephanie said...

Happy Belated! I love the idea of declaring a day of kindness--and the gumball thing is pure genius. I plan to use that one tout de suite!

Furrow said...

Yes! Let there be quarters! What a wonderful lesson for a 3-year-old. I'll have to remember that.

So 32 is when you're a grown-up, eh? I thought it was 35. See, I'm giving myself a few more months. But you're obviously more mature than I am.