Holy cow, today at work I was working on our weekly newsletter and I was writing about our many holiday donation drives at our campuses. As I was typing the “wish list” for the drives, I was humbled. New or used blankets, shirts for women and men, coats, canned food, new and used toys, volleyballs.
The requests are so simple, yet receiving something from the list could make the recipients holiday.
Scanning that list, I felt like the richest person in the world – rich in life, not monetarily. Some of the used toys will go to adults with brain injuries. I am so thankful that I am healthy and that everyone I know is healthy. Most of all, I am thankful that my precious baby is perfectly healthy. She had one heck of a journey since she was born 3 months early and had to overcome a serious lung condition while in the hospital (and after Googling the condition the other day, and looking at the odds of survival, I’m more aware than ever of her warrior spirit).
Back to the list, COATS. Can you imagine NEEDING a coat. Not needing a new one. Not needing a more fashionable one. Just NEEDING a coat. For the sole purpose of keeping warm. Can you imagine that there are people who don’t have homes? I mean, yes, I know that poverty, and hunger, and homelessness exist, but during the holidays, looking at lists for much needed donations, it really is a reality check. I wanted to run out the door and go buy everything on the list before even finishing typing the list! I wanted to go hug my family and friends for being amazing and for everything they all do for us and one another. I wanted to go build homes so no one has to live outside. I seriously can’t imagine that kind of hardship. I also want to make a concerted effort to do more for others year round, not just at the holidays.
Toys for Tots has always been an important organization to me. My dad grew up incredibly poor and never received a gift until he began dating my mom – which was after he graduated HS. Literally, he got no presents growing up. Kids are smart and can reason through some things, so they may be able to understand on some level that their family can’t afford designer jeans, but Santa is MAGIC. Santa doesn’t have an issue providing gifts – he visits millions of kids around the world. So, I cringe at the thought of a child going without presents, because they must think that Santa – this magical man who visits all of the their friends – must hate them. So while toys aren’t the most important thing in life, I can’t deal with the thought of a kid not having a gift because there’s not a logical reason to explain why Santa would visit some kids, but not the less fortunate kids. Ugh.
With everything my daughter experienced, helping other families in the NICU has become very important to me. I’m passionate about preemies! My daughter is the 2017 Charleston March of Dimes March for Babies ambassador, and we’re proud to help support their mission and help other babies born too soon, but we want to do even more!
It’s tough to think about all the people in need and not be able to help everyone. As much as it stinks, I guess it’s most realistic to pick one or two things and work hard to help in those areas. But, as I go through my day, I am going to make an effort to be my best, be continuously thankful for the life I have, thankful for my health and the health of my family, thankful for all of the amazing family, friends and pets in my world, and look for opportunities to help others.