Borderline Genius thought of the day: The core of a child’s heart is where the most raw, untainted, and genuine kindness is made.
I’m a BIG dreamer. Maybe it’s the writer in me (or the creative borderline genius as I’ve come to know it). One of my dreams is to be able to help others and give back. I’m willing to bet most people think about this too, but my dreams take me to far distance lands where I’m giving away cars, vacations, paying off someone’s student loans, paying college tuitions, and donating massive amounts to charities that are dear to me. Yes my dreams are big. Waiting to achieve them is a slow burn, and I’m impatient.
Unfortunately, some dreams will remain just that; dreams. All we have control over is the here and now and the means in which we have to give. My giving has been standard and consisted of purging the house for items we no longer needed and donating them. I’ve donated monetary amounts when the opportunity presented itself, and have supported local organizations and causes.
As a mom I wanted to teach my boys the value of giving and I always hoped they would grow up to share that same compassion. I may not have been achieving it on a grand scale, but it was all I had to give. When my oldest son was old enough to understand I started including him in the yearly purging of the house. At first, it wasn’t well received by him, and I recall him looking at me with devastated eyes as we sorted through toys in his room. It was the ultimate sacrifice for such a little boy. The instructions were simple: 1 pile for toys he currently played with and another pile for toys he didn’t play with anymore. In my mind I knew which toys should be in which piles. We ended with only 1 pile. All toys that he suddenly needed to be playing with. It took a few tries to explain the concept to him in a way he would comprehend. When I told him there were children that might not have toys to play with something seemed to click. While he sorted back through his pile of toys I could tell that he was struggling with this idea that others didn’t have what he had.
As the years went by we continued on this routine. He became more and more willing to let things go. Pride and happiness radiated from him every time we dropped the donations off. This lesson transformed into learning the value of a dollar which in-turn created one of my most favorite memories of him. It was during the holiday season when he was 7 years old. There was a toy he had seen in the stores weeks before, and I encouraged him to save money to buy it. He began doing every little chore around the house and I would even donate spare change for good behavior to help him along a little quicker. The ziplock bag he chose to hold his money in was tattered from the weight of the coins that it contained. He had counted his money on a regular basis so he knew where he stood financially at all times.
Finally, the day had come and he had enough to buy the toy he had his eye on. He had twisted the excess of the bag at the top and looped it around his little fingers, and off to the store we went. We were in the heart of the holiday season and the parking lot was packed. Just before walking into the store he noticed the lady standing outside ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, and he stopped me. He asked if he could donate all the money he had saved instead of buying the toy. I wanted to melt into a puddle of my own tears right then and there. My heart ached with happiness and sadness all at the same time. Those feelings surprised me. In that moment I was happy that he felt so compelled to give up his hard earned cash, but also sad thinking of the emotions he might have been feeling as a result. Was he sad thinking of people in need? Giving can be an emotional roller coaster, especially when you think of people hurting, and struggling to get by. It’s a weight on your shoulders that is hard to manage and keep at bay, and that was a lot for a 7 year old to bear. The sound of the coins hitting the deep red kettle echoed in the entryway as he emptied his bag into it. The lady ringing the bell was overly appreciative of his generosity and expressed her gratitude to him. He beemed back at her with a heartfelt smile. We continued into the store and I bought him the toy he had saved up for. It was a beautiful moment in time that I will cherish forever.
His giving heart only grew from there. From time-to-time I would host garage sales at my house for family and friends to participate in. One particular garage sale stands out to me more than the rest. My son, eager to earn more money, had put some items in to sell. A lady that attended the sale that day left her business card with me and offered to haul away anything left behind. She was collecting items for family’s in a nearby community that had suffered a major lost due to devastating flooding. As the day came to a close I came across the ladies business card and gave her a call. When she showed up she expressed her gratitude for remembering her and allowing her to take the remaining items. While we talked in the garage my son came out and listened to some of the heartbreaking stories of loss and what she was doing to help. He asked the lady if any of the families had children in which she replied “yes, there is one family with a son your age.” He looked at me and whispered in my ear, “mom can I give him my light saber?” Keep in mind this was not an item that was in the garage sale. Every mom of young boys KNOWS how cherished a Star Wars light saber is. It was one of his most favorite toys at the time and I was moved to tears at his kind gesture. I nodded my head and he ran into the house to get it. He handed it to the lady and asked, “can you give this to the boy that is my age?” She was just as moved by his kindness as I was and promised that she would make sure he received it.
This boy of mine was giving beyond his years. When he finally turned 10 years old we decided to have a big celebration. We allowed him to have 10 friends spend the night for his first sleep over and also had a local reptile show come to the house with all their creepy crawlies. Rather than receiving gifts for his birthday that year he requested that all his guests buy school supplies instead to donate to his school. His birthday is October 8th and school had just started back up the month before. The timing was perfect, and his idea was thoughtful. The world needs more hearts like his.
He is now 16 years-old and still has a heart of gold. It is with great sadness that I have to share a new focus in our lives though. One that has hit home for us. Earlier this week we received devastating news. A dear from of mine, our cherished family friend was diagnosed with ALS. She is only 30 years old and has a young family. We live miles apart but are doing what we can to fight along side her as best we can. Teaching my boys the lesson of giving has taken a whole new shape now. We are now in the eye of the storm. In the spirit of giving, helping, and dreaming big I ask that you reach out to this family and offer any support you are able to as she fights for her life. The world is a better place because of her and we cannot bear the thought of her not being in our lives. I’ve always cringed at the word “desperate” but I’m certain everyone close to her is feeling it. We are desperate!
THIS IS THE KIND OF SHIT THAT SHOULD BE BREAKING THE INTERNET PEOPLE! THESE are real life problems. I’m angry, sad, and scared for my friend and her family. I only started this blog 8 days ago and only wish I had a bigger impact to make a dramatic difference in their lives. My reach is small but I will continue doing everything I can for them. My big dreams of giving back on a grand scale still remains, and I will continue to forge ahead. Only this time I will close my eyes and dream EVEN BIGGER while waving my magic wand, kicking ALS in the face, and making this whole nightmare go away for my sweet friend and her family.
Let’s help relinquish the financial burden for this family by surpassing the goal on her go fund me page. I ask you to open your hearts, give more, love more, nurture that raw kindness inside your child’s heart so we can make this world a better place, and never ever take one moment for granted.
You can access the go fund me page by copy and pasting this link into your browser: https://www.gofundme.com/zjnfvw-living-with-als