There is a child in my daughter’s class who has a bit of trouble at school. His family struggles financially as well as with knowing how to address his special needs… Perhaps because his mother has been critically ill for more than a year. As such, his father works 14-hour days to make ends meet. There’s barely time for much of anything let alone birthday celebrations. Yes, I heard that it was his birthday this past week.
Typically, when a child celebrates a birthday, his or her Mom delivers a special birthday treat to school to be shared with the class. Sadly, no one had made any such arrangements for this boy. His birthday, apparently, was more or less overlooked. Except by two very special people. The night before his birthday, Christina, another of my daughter’s classmates, told her Mom that it was this boy’s birthday the next day. She was worried that no one would “bother” to celebrate it in school. In response, Eileen — who I am honored to call my friend — baked a birthday cake, created goodie bags for everyone in the class and delivered them to school the next morning so that there would be a celebration in honor of this troubled young man!
Even as I type this, a few days later, I am in awe of, and teary eyed over, the incredible compassion Eileen and Christina showed towards this boy. Especially this boy… Who, though he has a big heart (he happens to be very partial to my boys), is saddled with issues beyond his ability to manage. And, who, admittedly, has disrupted more than a few days of his classmates education… Please do not misunderstand me. I do not place any blame on this child for his behavior as his issues have gone untreated through no fault of his own. I am merely stating the facts, his behavior is disruptive to the class on nearly a daily basis. I must also note that I know of no one busier than Eileen — class mom to multiple kids, Brownie scout leader, day-caretaker to other children, PTA mogul and so much more — TRULY! She is a gem of a friend who gladly steps up with a sincere offer to help when others avoid eye contact lest they be “chosen” to help out in the slightest way! Eileen has bailed me out of a jam by taking Olivia when the boys’ after-school pick up encroached on Olivia’s due to traffic mishaps en route. Eileen is the go to Mom… for everyone, I think. I’m also certain that she is as proud of her daughter’s compassion as I am to say that I know them (Eileen for some 25+ years). I was not surprised that this kind deed was done by this mother-daughter pair.
So, Eileen and Christina are my Angels Amongst Us this week. They more than impressed upon me the notion of paying it forward and performing random acts of kindness when it counts — even though it may not be particularly convenient. In these tough economic times, too many folks have fallen into the me-first mentality and forget that they are not alone on this planet. People like Eileen restore my faith in humankind and Christina gives me hope for the future of our youth when, sadly, I see so few that show a strong sense of right and wrong or who have principles or values that bode well for our society as a whole. Thanks Eileen and Christina for a beautiful lesson in what matters!