28 December 2007

It Matters

We got a very heavy snow tonight. The kind of snow that makes each scoop of the shovel bend under its weight. The kind of snow that makes your shoulders ache for days following its arrival on your doorstep.

When we were headed out the door, I saw my neighbor across the road finishing up her driveway.

I've only had one interaction with her so far, and it was the day she came knocking on my door with my recycle bin which I had left on my curb for two days. "I was just wondering if you needed this in the house. You know that the recycle was picked up on Monday, right"? (Don't judge, people. When you're lugging a two year old, a brief case and a diaper bag, snagging the recycle bin just doesn't cross your mind).

I've thought about her many times. Her house is never lit, I'm assuming to save on the electricity. I wonder how she makes it over there, in that big old house, on her own. I've never seen children or grandchildren there, or even another car in her drive. No wonder she kept such close track of her neighbors lack of good citizenship.

Tonight after I finished my drive, I thought about my last post, and I decided to cross over and do hers. The slush was so heavy, I couldn't stand the thought of her trying to scrape herself out. As I was just about finished, she tapped me on the back and nearly gave me a heart attack. I hadn't heard her approaching since I was listening to Gordon Lightfoot sing his warnings to the sun.

"Who are you and what are you doing", she questioned as I slipped my ear pods out.

"I'm Jenn, your neighbor over there. I just wanted to dig you out. The snow is heavy and I don't have my girls and I just figured..." My heart was pounding; I was afraid that I'd insulted her; trespassed upon her property and perhaps taken from her a chore that she enjoyed.

I looked into her eyes as she tucked a gray hair behind her ear. "I'm overwhelmed", she said, biting her lip.

"Oh, well, don't be. I think about you all the time, and tonight I didn't have my girls, so I thought I'd just fill my time this way".

"I didn't think I had a friend in the world," she stammered as the tears welling in my eyes fell from hers. (Trust me lady, I know that feeling).

"I'm overwhelmed," she said again. "What can I do to help you sometime"? I smiled and asked her to just help someone else out and think of me. "I didn't think anyone cared anymore" she said, wiping her eyes.

"Merry Christmas", I smiled at her as she said she'd let me get back to what I was doing.

And what I was doing was shoveling and sobbing. A half an hour of my time gave her something that she obviously desperately needed, something much more than a clear driveway.

And it gave me something, too. Hope. Hope that little by little, I can do it. I can make a difference.

And so can you. So can you.

27 December 2007

Let's Change the World, Shall We?

Recently, my lovely friend Jen gave birth to an idea of gigantic potential. I want to spread the word, and get all of you to register for the baby shower.

Her post reminded me of a quote from Mother Teresa: "If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one".

Often when volunteering, it is sometimes frustrating--wondering if what you are doing is really making a difference. You look next to you and see small change, maybe, you look at the world outside of you and can become crushed in all that needs change. How can it ever be done?

Let's try it anyway, people.

If you can't volunteer time, volunteer talent. If you can't volunteer money, volunteer kindness.

You don't have to register with a group, go to a shelter, belong to a church. You just have to want to change some part of this world for the better....who doesn't want that?

I volunteered to send out a couple of cards or letters each month to places where people might need them: hospices, nursing homes, shelters, etc.

What can you do?

Let us know, so that everything can get tied together and posted for the new year. Let's make it the year of the Blogger. We all talk about how wonderful this world is--let's try to make that world happen outside of our computers, too.

10 December 2007

Weeping Over Wicker

I cleaned it out and put it away over the weekend; the above bassinet.
I sobbed like the babies that have lain within it over the course of the past thirty-five years when I lifted it into my hands and put it in the corner where it will sit until it's needed again, for someone else. I suppose the day that I retrieve it, I again will cry.
I sobbed for what was, and for what won't be again. That very piece of furniture held me on the snowy night my parents brought me home, and my siblings after I. It held my cousins, and then their children. It held my babies and the babies of my sister.  It will probably hold the babies of others in my family.

I can feel the way that they will set the lives from them within it; I know that motion by heart. I know how they will rest their hands upon the sleeping beings, I know how they will stand there and hold their hearts and wonder how they will care for something so small and yet so very big.
My heart ached from the memories of first using it and the memory of the day that I knew that Little A wouldn't use it again. My hand went to my stomach, feeling the marks left permanently upon me from carrying the children that I've carried, reminders of youth passed and blessings given. Then my hand moved to my chest, and began tapping on it as I gasped for breath. 

I cried for what won't ever be again. For the babies that I won't ever carry, the flutters of first movements that I won't feel again, the kicks that won't make my shirt move, the anticipation and the wonder of what the face looks like within me, the face that I don't already and never will know.

How, how can it be that I've grown from a baby sleeping within that furniture to a woman weeping above it, wondering where the years went?