the readers.

reading glasses

His eyes were closed when I walked into the room. He had fallen asleep wearing his readers and they were almost at the tip of his nose. I had to fight the instinct to go and gently adjust them so they were closer to his eyes.

In this brief moment, he looks so much like his own father. My sweet Grandpa. When did that happen?

I quietly stand at the foot of his bed and take in all the tubes, wires, and machines surrounding him.

His eyes slowly open…they crinkle up at the sides as he smiles in recognition,

“Q” (His nickname for me…the shortened version of Lizzy-Q.)

“Hi Dad.”

“You made it.”

We both smile.

I wore those same readers last night just before I fell asleep.

I like to think of it as looking at the world (or even just a good book) through his eyes.

As I get older, my perfect vision is not so perfect anymore. His readers give my eyes the added boost they need…the words on the pages are larger, clearer and sharper.

This is part of my grieving process. I do this every single time. I hold onto a piece of them until I am ready to let go.

My “transitional objects” upset my dad.

He did not like it when I wore my brother’s watch until the band broke.

“It is not healthy, Q. Every time you look down at the watch, you’re reminded of him. I don’t think you should wear it anymore.”

He did not like it when I held onto John’s last letter or wore Brian’s Red Sox cap or stored too many boxes of my grandma’s old knickknacks.

“It’s just stuff, Liz.”

I stopped sharing with him that I held onto these things. It hurt too much to have a mirror put in front of my face and told what I’m doing is not healthy.

And then my mom died, and I did the same thing.

I was not ready.

But, Death does not wait for when we are ready. So, I fell back on my usual coping mechanism to soften the blow, but, this time, I did not talk about it with my dad.

His opinion hurt too much. Maybe he is right?

But, then he called me when I accepted the best offer on the house with the red door.

“This house. It is your heart, Liz, and it’s being taking away and you cannot stop it. I am sorry you are hurting. I think I understand it now.”

A gentle shift in our relationship…
An understanding…
His approval.

All I ever wanted was my dad’s approval.

His readers sit atop a book on my bedside table now.

I like looking at the world (or even just a good book) through his eyes.

(originally posted to Facebook on 10/13/2017)

the seismic shift.

dad thumbs up

Charles F. Benda, Jr.
September 23, 1947 – August 26, 2017

 

My brain is still processing
this seismic shift.

I still hear his breathing,
I still listen for his stirring,
I still sit in silence awaiting him to call my name,

But, in my heart, I know he is gone.

My dad.
My dad has gone home.

We knew he was close.
All of us.
We sat vigil alongside his bed
Overlooking the river
“This is what he always wanted,”
We whisper and pray…
It makes it easier.

The same hands that…
Held me as a baby
Lifted me up when I fell
Gripped mine in “Left on, Brotha” solidarity
Gathered up my children,
Leads the way…

Yesterday, those hands
were clenched in fists…
Not in anger,
but a natural reflex,
a response to the impending –
His body shutting down.

I chose to pry open both hands
Carefully unfolding each finger
The urge to wash them immediate.

The water in the pink plastic hospital bin just right.
First, the left
(Left on, Brotha)
Lathering up with sweet-smelling baby wash
Pat dry.
Careful, so as not to spill,
I gather up the bin and walk around his bed to the other side.
Move on to his right hand.
Unfold.
Lather.

“Is he still breathing?” his wife asks.

We all look down
I am still holding his soapy hand
It is still warm
We had not noticed the rattling had quieted down
The short breath I saw a moment before,
His last.

It was a good death.

My brain is still processing this seismic shift.

(Originally posted to Facebook on 8/27/2017)

leading the way.

dad holding my hand

I may be 46 years old, but this is still how I see myself with my dad.

He is strong, kind, handsome, patient (most of the time), intuitive, caring, the best direction-giver and “wicked smart” (per one of the cardiologists who used to work with dad when he was in pacemaker sales).

He is the perfect dad. He holds my hand whenever I need him (and that’s been a lot lately).

He also tells me he loves my writing and wants me to keep at it. And so, I write…

A little over a week ago, my dad called and asked if I could talk for two minutes. He led the conversation with discussions about the unemployment rate and all that was going on in Charlottesville.

Then, he paused and said, “Lizabeth, the third reason I called is…I think I’m dying.”

Now, anyone who knows my dad knows that he is the best story-teller, totally hilarious and tends to exaggerate from time to time. However, his tone of voice told me that this was not a joke. I shifted gears and tried to encourage him to seek medical attention. He declined because he did not want to go back to the hospital due to some negative experiences with previous hospitalizations.

Feeling completely helpless living so far away, I sought help from one of the helpers – my friend and a paramedic. Because of her advice, my dad changed his mind and his wife, Pam, was able to get him to the hospital for treatment.

This experience has been completely different for my dad.

He is at peace.
He is vulnerable.
He is in charge.

He is able to have his family around him 24/7. In fact, we had the biggest slumber party in his ICU room one night filled with side-splitting giggles, a few tears, loads of heated blankets and crappy coffee. I know he was filled with joy having all of us together. It was honestly one of the most special nights of my life – all of us coming together to be there for the man who is and was always there for us.

He is also becoming the mayor of this awesome hospital. The nursing staff, patient care technicians and room service staff know him, stopping him in the hallway to see how he’s feeling as he’s made his way to/from ICU and back again to a regular room. He is smiling at and charming everyone in this place. He is also having intelligent conversations with the physicians. They are speaking WITH him, not around him about his health care. He is being treated with dignity and respect. And he feels it.

The high-level quality of care that he has received has allowed him to become stable enough to go back to where he wants to be – HOME – on his terms. There, he will be with his team: his wife, kids, family and medical professionals who will keep him comfortable for the rest of his days.

Now, I know I spend a great deal of my life advocating “life is good” – but sometimes we have to have difficult conversations about death and dying.

We have had a couple of those conversations.

His response, “Lizabeth, you are learning something here.”

How do you have a good death?

The answer is probably different for everyone.

There is no one size fits all solution.

For me, my dad is serving as the ultimate role model.

He is still holding my hand and leading the way.

(Originally posted on Facebook 8/22/2017)

my mom and first communion

I miss my mom.

Like, really, really, REALLY miss her.

Of course, I think of her and miss her every day, but today it is different.

Today, Brian is making his First Holy Communion.

I have been looking forward to and dreading this day for weeks.

I have felt edgy and unfocused, my stomach has been tied up in knots.

This morning, I walked into our family room, just like I did on Emma and Kate’s first communion days. Only, unlike those mornings, this time, the room is empty.

Quiet.

Each of those mornings, when I went to sit in “my spot” on the sofa and turn on ABC news, my mom was already sitting in my spot, the television changed to NBC.

“Good morning, Baby,” she looked up at me and smiled. Her face had changed so much, the scleroderma had really taken its toll.

I said, “Good morning” back; however, I was not sincere. I was more annoyed that my morning ritual had been altered. I’d have to walk a whole two extra feet to sit down on the couch and listen to a different newscaster.

Why wasn’t I more focused on the journey she made to be here, in my family room, the day of our children’s special occasion? How difficult it was for her to pack for the trip? To make her way to the car? To sit in the car all of those hours from Chicago to Fairfield?

No. I was more worried about my morning routine being slightly changed and the day ahead.

I knew how sick she was…you could see how sick she was, how people looked at her when we pushed her into the church in the wheelchair. She was withering away, her face almost mask-like, her skin gray.

Somehow, it was easier for me to just revert back to my younger, adolescent jerk-self, when all I did was walk around with a gigantic chip on my shoulder and talk back to my mom, than it was to just sit with her.

It hurts to just sit…to just sit and be with the pain.

The morning after Kate’s first communion, when I scrolled through pictures, I realized with a panic that I deleted the only picture of my mom with Kate because I didn’t like the way I looked. We didn’t have a single picture with my mom and Kate in her dress.

“Kate, would you pleeeeease put your dress back on?” I pleaded.

Sitting at the bottom of the stairs, her arms folded across her chest, tears in her eyes, she cried, “Please don’t make me put that thing back on! I can’t stand that dress. Please! No!”

I tried reasoning with her, “We don’t know how much longer we have with Grandma. Please. She’s really sick. I don’t have any pictures of the two of you together in your dress. Please, honey. You can take it off right after the picture.”

Even as I said those words, I didn’t believe it…

My mom will always be here.

It was those words that convinced Kate, she said, “Okay” and walked up the stairs to change.

Minutes later, she walked into the family room in her crumpled dress and sat next to my mom. I grabbed the wilted floral headpiece and planted it on Kate’s head, her bedhead hair soft and curly around her face.

I snapped the picture.

image

Mom complained that she didn’t like the picture because her robe looked like a straight-jacket.

I posted it anyway.

A few hours later, my mom left.

As they pulled away from our house, her head barely clearing the passenger-side window, she locked eyes with me. I could see she was crying. I started crying too.

Did she know?

Did I know?

One month later, she was gone.

That was three years ago.

I am worried I will cry during mass this morning. The songs, all of those familiar songs, from my childhood are now a part of my own children’s history.

I used to get so annoyed with my mom at church. She sang louder than anyone. It wasn’t only that she was loud…it was also more like opera singing with a head-bob. It was seriously embarrassing.

She couldn’t sing toward the end because the disease started hardening her lungs…it was hard enough to just breathe.

I will take some deep breaths today and think of her.

I will stand behind our son as he receives this sacrament.

I believe.

Maybe I will sing really loudly this morning too.

I miss my mom.

be the bear.

“Be the bear.”

That’s what I suggested to my dad a few weeks ago when he was debating about how to approach a difficult and sensitive situation. “Dad,” I texted, “You should be the bear.”

Having just watched the short animated YouTube video, Brene Brown on Empathy, this seemed like the most logical way to proceed. In the video, the bear character demonstrates empathy when his friend needs him most, when she feels most alone. Dad watched the video and seemed to agree with this sentiment for the most part. I did a fist pump in the air and said out loud (to no one), “Yes! Be the bear!”

It’s been a few weeks since that interaction and I’ve thought a lot about “Be the bear.” It’s allowed me to reflect upon the following:

  • Do I truly have empathy for others?
  • Am I able to consistently enter into one’s suffering without judgement or an agenda?
  • Am I able to just listen without filling the empty quiet space with useless advice? 

Not always. But I am working on it.

This morning, when I went into my son’s room to make his bed, something, er, someone, struck me. I present…Chicago Bear.

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Chicago Bear and Blankie

We “built” Chicago Bear six years ago when we were only weeks away from moving from Chicago to Fairfield. Only two years old at the time, our son had zero interest in football or the Chicago Bears. However, there was a reason for my choice. I selected this particular bear because of my love of the team and what the Bears represented to our friends and family. Holding on to that piece of my history made me feel less nervous about our move and I loved the idea of passing those traditions down to our kids. Chicago Bear sleeps next to our son every single night, regardless of where he is sleeping. And, CB greets me with that goofy grin every morning too. Looking at the dog-hair-covered-fleece and his ruffled fur, I realized, Hey, he’s sorta like the bear in the empathy video and here’s why:

Chicago Bear…

…is always there for you (unless he accidentally falls between the bed and the wall).

…is always willing to listen.

…is soft and very hug-able.

…does not give bad advice.

…is never without a smile.

…does not judge (he never makes remarks about morning breath, crazy hair, B taking up the whole bed, etc.).

…provides you with a sense of comfort and security.

…never interrupts you.

…does not get angry when you’ve thrown up on him (a couple of times).

…is love.

Crazy that a little old bear propped up on top of my sons’ pillows can inspire so much. But, it’s true – sometimes the most simple things have the biggest influence on our lives.

So, I not only aspire to be a good (decent) mom, wife, friend, sister, counselor, student, writer, suicide prevention advocate, kindness activist, etc…I now aspire to be the bear.

homesick

Every time I shift in my seat, there’s a distinct sound…shhhhrrp…sort of like duct tape being pulled off the roll. It is hot and humid and my chubby thighs feel like they’re glued down to the hard green seats. While I was grateful that I was able to squeeze into my cousin’s hand-me-down shorts earlier, I am now regretting my decision to choose the shortest pair I own. At eleven years of age, I am already well-aware that I am what people call “pleasantly plump” and should not have worn this outfit. I look over at my friend, Ann, to see if she’s heard the sound. From the looks of it, she has not noticed. She is completely absorbed in the game. Ann looks so cute in her colorful striped t-shirt, little blue shorts with white piping along the sides, and her too large Cubs cap pulled down so low that I can barely see her soulful brown eyes. Her catcher’s mitt sits at-the-ready on her lap. I am inspired by her ability to focus and decide to stop shifting and tugging at my shorts and watch the game myself. I copy what my friend and her parents are shouting at the players, although I am always a moment too late. They do not seem to notice. Ann and her parents are in their happy place. One of them asks me if I want a hot dog, “Yes, please.” Now I am in my happy place too. :o)

By the bottom of the second inning, I find that as hard as I try to focus, I just cannot do it. I blame the sun in my eyes, the slow action on the field. I don’t understand this game. I fold my arms across my chest in frustration. It’s so hot that the sweat collects in the creases of my arms. I unfold my arms and start fidgeting with my too short shorts again. I decide I like basketball better. Basketball players are in constant motion – more my speed, I guess. What’s the big deal about this game? 

My mind and eyes wander away from the game and up beyond left field. I notice something that piques my interest. However, it is not in the ballpark; it is across the street. There are two guys holding either side of a cooler walking on top of a building. For a brief moment, I expect them to pull out their tools and perhaps grab a bucket of tar or shingles or something, to start working on the roof. I mean, why else would they be up on the roof? But, they don’t pull out tools. They set the cooler down, open up the top, grab a couple of beers, close the cooler and sit down on top of it. “What are they doing?” I ask Ann’s dad while I point to the guys. He laughs and tells me, “They’ve got some of the best seats in the house.” I look around the ballpark; there are plenty of empty seats all around us. Ann’s dad notices this, laughs again and says, “Their seats are free and the beer is cheaper.” I think I understand.

As the innings pass, I look up every once and a while at the guys who are watching the game from across the street. One had gone back downstairs and returned to the roof with a radio, which was now propped up between them on top of the cooler. The guys are throwing their heads back in laughter, slapping their knees, pacing the roof from time to time and cupping their hands around their mouths as they shout at the players. It doesn’t take long for me to realize…this is why people love baseball.

For the last several weeks, my first trip to Wrigley Field keeps playing in my mind along with so many other memories of growing up on the North Side with the Cubs – games with neighbors, high school friends, work outings, bachelorette parties, before kids, with kids, in the rain, in the cold, in the sun and in the relentless wind. There were the games before the corporate rooftop seats, before there were lights and then the fun-filled night games complete with “awkward family photo” pictures. :o)  There was the time I went with some co-workers the day before the Air and Water show…I was talking to my friend when a huge wave of cheers overwhelmed the crowd…Did Sammy Sosa hit another homerun?! My friend pointed up and there was a stealth bomber – a real stealth bomber – hovering over the field. There it was, like, almost in the field…and then, just as quickly, it raised its nose and exited. The thrill of that moment! The first and only time I saw Mohammed Ali in person was at Wrigley Field. Again, there was the deafening noise of the fans in the park, “The Champ is here!” Another thrilling moment! We were lucky to live close enough to be able to walk the four or so miles to the park on a couple of occasions, although we mostly took the “el”. Those el rides were just as much a part of the experience. One of my favorite moments took place while standing on the crowded Addison platform. I had just left the game with a then 18-month-old Emma, when an elderly woman offered her some fruit. And I let Emma take it from her without hesitation.  It didn’t matter that she was a stranger…she was wearing a floppy Cubs hat! The smiles shared between Emma and that woman…well, that’s just the way it is there. There is this indescribable feeling of human connection, a hopefulness, a beautiful pure happiness.

There have also been other memories…

The Cubs winning the World Series (it’s still so weird to say this!) reminds me of the people we’ve lost who would have loved this historical moment. I think of the people who took me to my first game, my Cubs AND Sox fan (yes, really!) friend, Ann, and her sweet and patient dad. I also think about my mom’s North Side pride, my grandma and my aunts and uncles in Niles. Every time we visited Aunt Betty and Uncle Harold, the set was turned to WGN and the Cubs game (or the Bears in the winter).

Most of all, I think of my brother, Brian. He loved the Cubs. When he went missing, the CPD asked for a description of what he was wearing, my sister reported that he had on jeans, a dark winter coat, and, of course, his Cubs cap. He rarely went anywhere without that cap, unless he was wearing his Red Sox cap from our dad. As much as he was a die-hard Chicago sports fan, he had an even deeper appreciation of history…and especially the underdog. He would get angry with people who jumped on the bandwagon when a team was doing well. In fact, he would probably be super annoyed that I’m even writing this, because he’d say I’m not a “real fan” as I don’t watch every single game or read the sports section cover to cover every day. And, that’s okay…he’s right, I don’t. But, I do feel connected to him and others because of this game. And, I think he’d be okay with that. Actually, I think he’d be more than okay with it and here’s why…five years ago on December 13th, I was having a terrible day (as I often do on his anniversary). I was texting my friend while walking around the aisles of Target trying to get my s@#t together. As I hit “send’ on my phone, my eye was drawn to the home decor wall. Hanging up between some Mets and Yankees pictures, was a vintage picture of Wrigley Field – IN THE MIDDLE OF TRUMBULL CONNECTICUT…ON THE DAY OF MY BROTHER’S ANNIVERSARY. I took a picture and texted it to my friend…could this be real? We both took it as a sign and I quickly put the ONE picture left into my cart. I didn’t allow myself to burst into tears until I hung it on my wall later that day. A little bit of home in our home.img_8242

All of these memories flooding my brain this week have made me feel incredibly homesick.

But then I remembered the vivid dream I had of my mom just over a month ago. I was standing in her kitchen, it looked the way it was when I was a little girl. She was sitting on “her” stool, her back was against the wall oven and she looked healthy and peaceful. I felt such a sense of calm and peacefulness too. It was the “I’m so happy, I could cry” feeling. When I asked her if I felt this way because I was back with her…in her kitchen…in my childhood home, she responded, “Don’t you feel at home in your own kitchen, with your own children?”

What was she trying to tell me?

I have given this a lot of thought…I felt like I was home when I was texting with my childhood girlfriends into the wee hours of the night during the series. I felt like I was home when Kate came to kiss me goodnight and then wished the Cubs good luck before she went upstairs to bed. I felt like I was home when my husband, a huge Mets fan, greeted me every morning of the series with either a “Congratulations!” or “I’m sorry about your Cubs” depending on the outcome. I felt like I was home when my two friends made sure I could see Game 7 on the teeny tiny screens when we went out to dinner. And, it felt exactly like home when I sat with my friend in the “booth of truth” at Chef’s Table with a FB live feed playing the Cubs parade on Friday morning.

Here’s the thing…I was always home.

It doesn’t matter where I am.

I am home.

(I think this is what my mom has been trying to tell me.)

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IMG_4524

#304. Ordered a Cubs World Champions souvenir for a local pizza delivery man, who has followed the Cubs for many, many years.
#303. Sent a small gift to a friend just because…
#302. Returned a woman’s shopping cart while I was on my way back with mine.
#301. Donated leftover Halloween candy to troops serving overseas.
#300.Vanessa Rich fund donation.
#299. Picked up garbage and re-shelved some items that had fallen on the floor at Stop and Shop.
#298. “Booed” several neighbors with kids in our little ‘hood.
#297. Held the door for a bunch of people (important to note: EVERY one said, “Thank you!).
#296. Sent a small token of appreciation to a friend.
#295. Brought a dinner to a family.
#294. Sent a thank you note.
#293. Helped out with kindness challenges at kids’ school.
#292. Pushed (another) random cart back to store.
#291. Left a YAB sticker with a note on a car in parking lot with “Stella” (my late grandma’s name) license plate.
#290. Volunteered at kids’ school.
#289. Sent a note of encouragement to a friend.
#288. Gave a nice tip to some delivery men.
#287. Pushed a cart in parking lot back into store.
#286. Gave an uber driver a nice tip.
#285. Let an aggressive driver go ahead of me in traffic (and did not honk/swear)
#284. Spent several hours on prep/planning for kindness initiative at kids’ school.
#283. Let a spider go…😱
#282. Did not charge for a college counseling session.
#281. Made a donation to a special cause.
#280. Donated clothing to Good Will.
#279. Gave our puppy a much-needed bath.
#278. Held the door for several people.
#277. Complimented a stranger.
#276. Raised money, recruited teammates and Walk for AFSP OOTDW.
#275. Bought DQ ice creams for person behind us in line (a neighbor we don’t know very well).
#274. Picked up a bunch of fabric softener sheets that were all over laundry room floor.
#273. Re-shelved some items that fell on ground.
#272. Volunteered at school event.
#271. Returned a couple of shopping carts in parking lot at BJ’s
#270. Smiled at everyone I walked passed in airport
#269. Let dogs sleep on sofa all night.
#268. Gave a compliment to a stranger.
#267. Gave a nice tip to delivery man
#266. Took some political campaign materials from a solicitor
#265. Paid for teenager behind us at 16 Handles.
#264. Sent a card to a friend.
#263. Made a donation to an important cause.
#262. Served at 7am mass (it’s hard, but worth it!).
#261. Let someone in at traffic stop.
#260. Picked up a piece of garbage on playground.
#259. Helped a student with a class project (Missouri).
#258. Sent a note of encouragement to a wonderful friend.
#257. Shared some great laughs with a friend through new technology😂
#256. Wrote a thank you note.
#255. Made a donation for a special cause.
#254. Picked up garbage on stairs before class.
#253. Prepped for kindness project at kids’ school.
#252. Gave a $5 Starbucks card to barrista to pay forward.
#251. Wrote another letter for TWNMLL
#250. Wrote a letter for TWNMLL
#249. Smiled and said good morning to a LOT of people this morning.
#248. Wrote a thank you note to a friend.
#247. Spent several hours devising a creative plan to accommodate 53 applications for kindness initiative.
#246. Helped put back some chairs that had been moved around at the Duck Pond.

#245. Said “Bless You” while walking passed a stranger when he sneezed (he looked up surprised, smiled and said “Thank you!”)

#244. Kept my word (bike man)

#243. Smiles and said good morning to a stranger.

utopia

utopia
google images

On September 10, 2009, The Oprah Show hosted the Black Eyed Peas to kick-off her talk show’s 24th season. Unbeknownst to Oprah, the audience of 20,000 people had gathered hours before the live show to rehearse a carefully choreographed flash mob as a surprise to her.

When the Black Eyed Peas started singing “I Gotta Feeling,” Oprah, bouncing up and down, held out an iPhone and recorded the crowd. It was an unusual scene – the only person dancing to the music, besides Oprah and the Black Eyed Peas – was ONE brightly dressed and overly-enthusiastic woman in the front row. The rest of the people in the audience just stood there. Oprah kept dancing and recording.

And, that’s when it happened. Slowly, and with extreme precision, small clusters of people in the crowd began to join in the dancing. This continued until it reached ALL 20,000 audience members. When the cameras up above panned down on the scene, it literally looked like a wave. A massive, pulsating wave. Balancing Brian on my hip and bouncing along to the music, I couldn’t believe what I was watching from my living room. I quickly grabbed the remote and DVR’d the show.

After the flash mob, several audience members were interviewed about their experience. One man commented that he had never ever felt that kind of energy, that kind of JOY before in his life. He said it felt like Utopia, a perfect world where everyone worked together in beautiful harmony. With tears in his eyes, he commented, “This must be what heaven feels like.”

I swear my kids and I must have watched and danced along with that flash mob a hundred times. It really did feel like heaven…

On September 26, 2016, seven years after Oprah’s flash mob, I was lucky enough to experience another one of those Utopian moments at an assembly at our children’s school. It was a much smaller crowd than Oprah’s audience, but impressive nonetheless.

Brian Williams from Think Kindness gathered the students together to demonstrate the power of ONE and “paying it forward”. Without giving away too much, he created a “tidal wave” with hundreds of students and a simple gesture. Just like watching that Oprah episode, witnessing that kind of energy made my heart swell (even more so when two of the students came over to give me a hug too!). It was a great kick-off to this year’s kindness initiative. These kids WILL change the world one act of kindness at a time.

Seven years later. I gotta feeling that people sometimes look at me like that overly-enthusiastic (read: nutjob) woman dancing alone in a crowd of thousands. The good news…there are a lot of people joining me in this dance…this Utopia. :o)


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#268. Gave a compliment to a stranger.
#267. Gave a nice tip to delivery man.
#266. Took some political campaign materials from a solicitor.
#265. Paid for girl behind us at 16 Handles.
#264. Sent a card to a friend.
#263. Made a donation to an important cause.
#262. Served at 7am mass (it’s hard, but worth it!).
#261. Let someone in at traffic stop.
#260. Picked up a piece of garbage on playground.
#259. Helped a student with a class project (Missouri)
#258. Sent a note of encouragement to a wonderful friend.
#257. Shared some great laughs with a friend through new technology
#256. Wrote a thank you note.
#255. Made a donation for a special cause.
#254. Picked up garbage on stairs before class.
#253. Prepped for kindness project at kids’ school.
#252. Gave a $5 Starbucks card to barista to pay forward.
#251. Wrote a letter for TWNMLL
#250. Wrote a letter for TWNMLL
#249. Smiled and said good morning to a LOT of people i
#248. Wrote a thank you note to a friend.
#247. Spent several hours devising a creative plan to accommodate 53 applications for kindness initiative.
#246. Helped put back some chairs that had been moved around at the Duck Pond.
#245. Said “Bless You” while walking passed a stranger when he sneezed (he looked up surprised, smiled and said “Thank you!”)

#244. Kept my word (bike man).
#243. Smiled and said good morning to a stranger.