I am linking up with SheLoves Magazine today to take part of their month of advent. A month of random acts of kindness from our sisters. I was trying to think of something amazing to have Owen (my oldest son) in on; something that would forever inspire him to goodness.
Then I met Michaela.
She arrived at the SheLoves Christmas party I was hosting this year for the writers and editors. She was the first guest of the night, and as soon as I took one look at her, I wanted to squash her into a mother bear hug. This being our first meeting ever, I refrained. Sometimes I frighten people, I think.
As the evening was drawing to a close, I was desperately trying to pawn off all the chocolate and cookies. I have zero self-control and it has taken me 24 months to lose 8 pounds. I knew Michaela had a daughter so I offered some cookies for her, every kid likes cookies. She told me her daughter could not have cookies but her and her husband would enjoy them. It was in that moment I realized I was missing something very important.
When we were saying good-bye that night, I mentioned to her that I had not had a chance to read her article yet, and meant to soon. She looked at me and had me promise not to feel awkward when I read it. Cue awkwardness, too late sister, I was already there.
I read her story. I urge you to read this, just do it right now. I cried and cried. She is living with a time clock on her daughter. This is impossible for me to understand. Have you ever wanted to step in front of someones pain? Like seriously take it from them, even for five minutes? Not the beauty that can come from this pain; just all the ugly bullshit stuff that no one should ever have to deal with….ever. (I am sure I could have found a more “p.q.” adjective, if you can think of a better one for this, let me know.)
I messaged her and lied saying I did not feel awkward.
I told the truth and said that I was honoured to have met her and had her in my home. To host her and eat half of her ridiculously delish appetizer. (It was a big dish #dietfail)
I promised to stay connected with her…..if she ever needed anything….
How often do we have that moment? We are moved, make a ton of promises, but then life takes over and the moment is gone. We go on, they gone on. It was a nice thought, if only we were not so busy and life did not take over….
My day for an advent act of kindness was approaching and I got wind that Michaela had been in and out of respite care at Canuck’s Place with her daughter. She is exhausted from her season in life, and was not putting out the Christmas stuff this year.
I am a combination of Martha Stewart and Clark Griswold when it comes to Christmas. So I started to plan, I recruited my friend Idelette to come along for the ride, I enlisted my friend Megan, who has recently written this very poignant article on lasagna and grief to make a lasagna. For the record, Megan really stepped up and made her very first lasagna ever. She is my hero.
I bought a potted tree, because I had a feeling Michaela would dig planting a tree. I handmade decorations for it. Idelette baked cookies.
Then I knitted. I made a scarf for Michaela and mini one for her sweet Florence. When I finished Florence’s I bit back tears, and then I let them fall for her. Jesus, some things are impossible to understand.
For the record, we did not surprise her, but it was a lovely afternoon. I went to my very first Indian restaurant and they talked me through the menu and my fear of curry. I think I handled it very well. We hit a couple of shops on Granville and had girlie laughs. I almost got evicted from Anthropologie when I dropped a stunning stack of ceramic muffin tins.
I told Michaela that day, I did not need a day of Advent to do this. I needed this as much as she. I want to be on this road with her, whatever that looks like.
This is a tough place she walks in, she needs a “rise-up” army beside here and I am in, unless she thinks I am too stalky, then I will be out.