Well as I write another winter storm is working its magic outside. Freezing rain is covering the trees, the yards, the roads, the cars, and it looks so pretty on the branches. How can beauty be treacherous? How can we push ourselves to see and understand what is below the surface? How can we appreciate the beauty before us and be prepared for the unknown? Why do we present what is going well and hold back what let’s others know the struggles? Why do we not see the struggles of those we love and embrace at face value all that is going well? Seems to be a day to reflect on the idea of authenticity – what we present to others; what others present to us. Who is responsible for taking the steps of vulnerability to show the ‘true’ self?
“Be every watchful for the opportunity to shelter little children with the umbrella of your charity; be generous to their schools, their hospitals, and their places of worship. For, as they must bear the burdens of our mistakes, so are they in their innocence the repositories of our hopes for the upward progress of humanity.”
This week Leila presented her charity funds to the Ontario SPCA Sudbury and District Animal Centre as Leila says, “Who doesn’t love animals?” Leila has a charity piggy bank that receives 10% of her allowance as well as some money gifts. Each January we empty it and along with contributions from her fundraising she chooses a charity. This started when she was 5 when her friend, Logan needed special glasses. The transition from me strongly suggesting she choose to raise money to her choosing who or what agency would be the recipient was rather quick. I really believe it was Logan and his family’s gratitude that showed Leila giving matters. She doesn’t question the distribution of her funds – charity, education, retirement, savings account and discretionary income, not always happy about it – lol, however, moves forward.
This being said, this past week or so is when Leila demonstrated she really does understand the gift of giving. A teaching colleague shared his grandson really wants to become a goalie and he was reaching out to see if we had any goalie equipment or where I could direct him to get some. He also thought it would be nice to bring his grandson to see Leila play. When I shared the story with Leila, she offered to give the goalie stick she has grown out of to him. And so, this weekend at the Wolves game, Leila handed over her stick with a lesson on how to tape it. She also went to someone who works with the Wolves at the end of the game to ask for a puck, which she was successful in attaining. She was so happy she could give Aaron a Wolves puck along with her stick. These are the proud moments, the moments that remind me of her caring heart.
We are no different than so many other homes with moments of frustration, reminders to pick up things, put things away, move faster, etc. etc. etc. Thankfully, the moments that remind me she is a remarkable human being bring me back to recognize everyday living can be painful, aggravating, rushed, but they do not define either of us. They simply remind us we are growing into ourselves and patience is a virtue. Our moments of “I love you”, hugs, laughter…. far outweigh the not-so-pleasant.
Last night we visited Auntie Di. This is the home where Leila’s has been marking her growth from the time, she was almost 4 years old. Auntie Di is moving, and Leila was unsettled by the decision as Leila clearly stated, “I have so many childhood memories in this house.” In true Auntie Di fashion, she came up with a solution, she found a plank so we could transfer over Leila’s growth levels. She has grown from 3’5” to 5’¼” – 19 ¼” in approximately 7 years. Leila arrived at Auntie Di’s as a typical 11-year old and left dressed as a Minion in a fur stole carrying her favourite homemade bread. Transitions come in many shapes, sizes and looks. Even as I write this paragraph my eyes tear up, these are memories that are the treasures of connection. Intergenerational friendships that teach the heart what matters most. Witnessing Auntie Di and Leila over the years has been endearing.