“Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need. ” ~Khalil Gibran
Some recent news out of Minnesota shocked me–no, it wasn’t the consistently terrible below zero weather or disastrous snowfalls (I’m actually very jealous of the snow!). It was the news that school districts had been throwing out low income students’ hot lunches if they couldn’t pay the 40 cent reduced price lunch. If the lunches were replaced, it was with a cheese sandwich (I’m sure the “cheese” was a far cry from the real thing), and a carton of milk. I guess something is better than nothing…but students need much more nutrition than a highly processed sandwich and ultra pasteurized milk. These are probably the same students who come to school without good breakfasts. How are they expected to perform well in school if they don’t have proper nutrition? How could this happen in my home state?
But there was other news that piggy backed with this that made me SO thankful for genuine generosity. A tutor in Texas figured that his students were probably experiencing this same thing, and he took the solution into his own hands. He donated about $500 to cover the outstanding balances on 60 students’ lunch accounts so they could once again receive hot lunches in their school.
So…Here’s to the Generous!
While we are not a low income family that needs sustenance, we have felt such wonderful, loving and genuine generosity since the birth of little Ava. Really, the generosity started even before her arrival!
The postpartum rituals for both mothers and babies throughout the world vary greatly, but many of them trend toward pampering the mom and babe for a few weeks while they rest, heal and get used to their new life together. In some Asian countries, mothers and babies are bathed and massaged daily and the mother isn’t allowed to get out of bed for up to a month! Historically, western cultures have also taken care of new moms and babies. When families lived in more proximity to one another, this was generally taken on by the mother of the new mother and sisters or aunts. While the new mom rested, healed and bonded with her new child, these women would cook nutritious meals, help keep the house tidy, take care of older children and make sure the new mom was feeling supported in her new adventure.
All of this makes me miss my mother! I know she would have done all of this for me, and more, if we had been in closer proximity (not 3,000 miles apart…). Luckily, we have a good network of friends here who have made the last month totally doable. And we have felt the generosity from afar via thoughtful gifts, phone calls and Face Time chats. The most amazing part, to me, is that many of these generous souls have spent time and money beyond what they have available just to help out our growing family!
Some of the highlights of generosity we’ve experienced:
-Amanda, whose property we live on, brought us food almost every day the week after Ava was born. She also walked our dog, did our dishes and brought me yummy tea. This all from a woman who works upwards of 60 hours per week, often 7 days per week and she has to commute about an hour each way into Anchorage for her jobs. Her kindness and generosity overfloweth! Plus, her husband graveled and sanded our whole walkway (it’s long) after it rained and froze into an ice luge death trap.
-Bix and Emma, who brought us two dinners and did three loads of gross poop and spit up covered laundry (the poop and spit up were Ava’s, to be clear). They also would have helped Evan move a cord of wood and chop it if it hadn’t been done already! These two adventurers are grad students with multiple jobs, so they don’t have much time or money to spare. Plus, they have to drive out here from Anchorage to visit.
-My old college friend, Jenna, who sent us an awesome care package. First off, she sent a bunch of warm booties, hats and socks from her daughter. The best part though, was all of the home made remedies for baby problems–home made baby powder, ointment for diaper rash and other ailments, and ear drops for ear aches. Plus, she spent a lot of time on the phone with me giving invaluable advice and a willing ear to listen to my worries and realizations both before and after birth. She is a full time working momma of 2 kids ages 2 and 4 months, but she found the time to create these amazing products and talk to her worry-wart old friend.
-Evan’s mom, Gail, who spent 10 days up here in Alaska with us to help with the whole new baby thing. She cuddled with her grand daughter, showered her with fun and pretty things and treated mom and dad to some delicious meals! This is all from a woman who has spent her life working long hours for others as a nurse and mom.
Finally, we received so many fun clothing items, books, toys and all around awesome baby stuff from friends and family all over. I don’t think we’ll have to get any clothes for this little munchkin for a year and a half! We also haven’t had to buy our own wipes (although one of the things Jenna sent is a home-made wipe recipe/instruction, so we’ll probably do that), and we only had to purchase two packs of disposable diapers before switching to cloth this week.
One other surprising thing, to me, is the support we’ve gotten from friends and family who do not have kids yet. I am amazed at the insight that so many of them have. Before having a baby myself, I never thought about helping out a new mom by doing dishes and laundry and preparing meals for her. I never realized just how taxing childbirth really is or how demanding a newborn is in terms of non-stop breastfeeding! Maybe other women are different, but there is no way I could have done laundry or the dishes, much less make myself any semblance of a real meal.
So, who says that we don’t know how to take care of growing families in this country? I don’t know, but I disagree with them. We feel SO supported and loved in this new chapter in our lives. Even living out in the boonies, generosity made its way here. Hopefully we’ll be able to repay these amazing favors in the near future!
Once again: Here’s to the Generous!!!
What are your favorite memories of generosity? I’d love to hear them!
Sending you peace and love,
Alex, the Rural Farmgirl