Written by Jessica Harris 07/13/2021
On the 14th day of September, I left the hospital to pick up my older kids from their bus stop. The baby was in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) still sedated after having a long night of testing and multiple rounds of blood transfusions. Unfortunately, their dad had to go back to work. I was set to return to work that day, but given the circumstances I was able to continue my maternity leave for a few more weeks. Our jobs were aware of the family emergency, but we had not discussed the extent of the situation to anyone. Not even to our children who were three and six years old at the time. They were aware that the baby had to go into the hospital because he was not feeling well. But the details of how bad it was was discussed with our children until much later.
So, I picked them up and brought them to the grocery store with me. I’ll never forget walking into the store, grabbing a shopping cart and just standing still. I couldn’t move for what felt like minutes, but was probably only a few seconds. At that moment, the last 24 hours started to play back in my head. My mental check list was no where to be found. I felt lost and confused. All I wanted to do was cry, but I knew that I would look foolish. No one would understand why I was crying.
Shoot, I was still trying to understand what had just happened. I had just witnessed my baby sedated, intubated, and watched him go through rounds of blood transfusions that didn’t seem to hold past a couple of hours. I honestly felt like I was losing my mind. Yet, I had a three year old and a six year old who were depending on me to get it together. They needed me to remember the long list of groceries that we needed for the week. They needed me to be able to make their school lunch and dinners. Most of all, they needed me to be okay so they would not have to worry about their baby brother.
The Day before…
I was in my kitchen opening up cabinets trying to figure out what to make for dinner. While at the same time, making a list in my head of everything I needed to buy for the week. For those of you who write it down and remember to bring the list with you, I give you kudos. That is my weekly struggle. Anyways, this was the second week of school for my kids and my older son only liked home lunch. Of course home lunch consisted of two jelly sandwiches, fruit (oranges, blueberries, or black berries) and a pack of muffins. He is a stickler for making sure his lunch box is packed in his bag before heading out the door. I rummaged through the cabinets before adding jelly and a bunch of other items to my mental checklist.
My Challenge for you…
This is how quickly life can turn upside down. One minute you are getting your shopping list together and the next you are rushing to the hospital. The next time you go to the grocery store and you see a person who looks a bit off. Stop and consider that they may have just had their life flipped upside. Show kindness to them. Some may openly appreciate it and others may continue onward. That’s okay too.
This week I challenge you to show a random act of kindness to a stranger. It doesn’t have to be monetary. It can be with your words or actions. You never know what someone is going through and how much a smile can change a person’s day. I want you to come back and comment, “I chose to be kind”. I don’t need to know how you did it, I just want to know if you did it.
Instead of reacting negatively when:
- That one person is flying through the aisles in the grocery store as though the store is on fire
- The cashier was in a cranky mood
- The person ahead of you in line looks disheveled, upset, sad, frustrated, etc…
Let’s smile more and choose kindness.