Today was full of the good things: Mailing a special drawing to Grama and making a trip out of the walk to the mailbox. Walking in the morning sun in the crisp morning air that is no longer too cold to bear. Getting paid. Making homemade pizza and letting Abby do the kneading. Taking a nice, long nap on my bed and wishing that maybe the penetrating afternoon sun would colour my cheeks just a little.
Make no mistake about it: We take nothing for granted here. We are always learning the art of gratitude and feeling its dividends in our days. When the babies turned one a couple of weeks ago, I got teary looking at birth pictures and teeny hospital bracelets, but I didn't feel sad for days gone by. Instead, I felt immense gratitude. A year later, I look back and feel how loved we are and remember how many people offered us help when we were learning how to handle twin newborns.
As the girls' birthday approached, you all answered my call for donations to the Whitehorse Food Bank and made my heart swell again. Call me hormonal or, perhaps more accurately, call me sentimental but I was touched. People we love dearly immediately stepped up and donated in Hailey and Robin's honour. Then people I'd never met before but "know" online made donations. Then, as it turned out, people I've never connected with made donations too. I am so touched and can't wait to tell Hailey and Robin about the gifts that came from across the country for their first birthday, and how those gifts went on to help so many people. What a beautiful thing. What wonderful karma for you all, and for my littlest girls.
I am dismayed to say that the food bank staff have not been able to tally the total donations made. Some were made, but not specifically in Hailey and Robin's honour, some were made in person, some online and some anonymously. That and, to be frank, I think they are quite busy and didn't have time to follow up on my request! Suffice it to say, based on the emails I received, notifications in my e-mail inbox and rough estimate from the staff at the Whitehorse Food Bank, hefty donations poured in and are already at work making a positive impact on our community's hungry families. It is overwhelming and, to me, such a powerful demonstration of how good people really are. Whether you stop to notice or give people the chance to shine, people are surprisingly good.
It is easy to get downtrodden and depressed about what kind of world in which we are raising our kids. Following Hailey and Robin's birthdays, I am happily rejuvenated. I feel like we are raising them among a community of people who love, who give and who will be there in your moment of need, even if the rest of the time they exist somewhere on the periphery. I felt so happy to walk into the food bank with heavy bags of donated food from their birthday party. I felt bashful when they thanked me, so I immediately explained that it was everyone's doing.
I will tuck this experience away in my file folder of "good things that make me smile" and revisit it when I am again feeling a touch of despair or loneliness. For now, I will return to my living room where two increasingly mischievous girls are learning to climb the couch, fling themselves off, and laugh when they realize they haven't broken their necks.