After his early dismissal, Scotty and I trekked off to our local police station with a large platter of homemade cookies in tow. We were greeted by a waiting room of all men who looked at us funny. I couldn't figure out how to sign in, so I just stood there awkwardly for about 10 minutes, fidgeting uncomfortably under the weight of these men's stares. Was there a sign-in sheet? Do I take a number? My experience in police station procedure was sadly lacking. I was also trying to keep Scotty from touching everything in the waiting room while catching the eye of a person behind the desk ("Hi! Nice mom with some yummy cookies! Please acknowledge me! We really want to leave!"). Nothing. I moved back into the foyer and rather reluctantly pressed the button of the window where you check your firearm. No, I did not have a gun, but I did have a bunch of nicely decorated gingerbread men. I stood there sweating, fearful pushing the button was the police-station equivalent of faslely pulling a fire alarm, but not only did I not get in trouble, nobody showed up. I finally called it when another gentlemen left the waiting area and purposefully sat near Scotty, trying to strike up a conversation with him. Okay, I'm all for random acts of kindness, but I am not about to put myself or child in a potentially dangerous situation with strange men (regardless of the fact we were literally at a police station.)
So we left, cookies still in tow.
My mood plummeted further when CNN's breaking news app popped up on my phone with coverage from the NRA press conference. More guns, not less? Armed guards at our schools? Has the world gone completely mad? So I did what any defeated mother would do: I sat on the couch with Scotty watching Bubble Guppies and proceeded to eat every single Rice Krispie treat on the platter. At least it numbed the pain. Mmm, feelings are delicious.
By Saturday, I was still on Act #16 and my motivation was failing fast. I was half-tempted to throw the whole idea out the window, but decided even if I don't make my self-imposed deadline of Christmas Day, I can easily keep trying well into the new year. I also began wondering what truly counts as an act of kindness. For example, I did not smother Brian in his sleep on Wednesday night, despite the fact his head cold was causing him to moan - yes, moan - loudly in his sleep. Instead, after tossing and turning for hours, I simply gathered my pillows and the baby monitor and quietly retreated to the guest bedroom, where I proceeded to sleep on 1/4 of the bed because Zigmund, my mom's 14 pound black cat, refused to move over. He rewarded me by eating his kibble loudly at 4am, one loud crunch at a time. That whole night was an act of kindess, no? I mean, everything in my house was still alive in the morning.
I thought about #26Acts on Saturday and whether or not to continue the project. I asked the Universe to send me some signs that my kindness was working, that it was helping others, and this was not a gigantic waste of my time. After all, now I'm sleep deprived, woefully behind on my Christmas prep, and two pounds heavier from all of those Rice Krispie treats.
Lo and behold, the Universe answered me.
First, I ran into an old, old friend at the butcher shop. Loved catching up with him. Than, at the Nutcracker Ballet later that afternoon, another dear friend gloriously and spontaneously asked if my mom and I wanted to come backstage after the performance. (She works for the Nevada Ballet Theater.) Do I want to come backstage? Is that really a question? My nine-year old inner princess practically leaped out of my chest. Yes, I want to see ballerinas up close! Yes, I would LOVE to see the costumes and the set and feel like a VIP. It was such a simple gesture by my friend but it is one that my mom and I will long treasure.
(side note: ballerinas are tiny. Like, the size of my right thigh. Insane.)
And then, when we returned home that night, I received yet another sign that brought tears to my eyes. A friend had dropped off a pile of presents at our door - just 'cause. An ornament and a car for Scott, two books for me, and best of all, a $50 donation in my name to "Room to Read," an organization that grants education to children in the developing world. The money will go to the girls' education program.
My heart suddenly was very full again.
And so, I made yet another batch of Rice Krispie treats and refilled the platters. This morning, Scotty and I set off through the neighborhood, passing out cookies. I'm going to make a donation to the "Room to Read" website, and make some snowflakes to send to Newtown. We are back on track, folks.
Yes, I will complete the #26Acts. I look at this temporary hiccup as reassurance that there is still good in this world. It's hard to get out of your comfort zone and be kind to strangers. Regardless, I guess the joy is in the act, not the response. Sometimes, you just gotta believe.
I'm trying, though, and I hope you continue your acts, too.
If you'd like to donate to Room to Read, the website is: www.roomtoread.org
If you'd like to make snowflakes for the kids in Newtown, here is the info and the website: http://www.coolmompicks.com/2012/12/snowflakes_for_sandy_hook.php
Good luck, friends! And Merry Christmas.