Sunday, December 10, 2017

What I've Learned

Last October, when I was feeling helpless about work and blue about my finances, I found that physical activity and putting someone else first made me feel better. That day, I got pleasure from the stationery bike and seeing Randi, Napoleon's "mom," engrossed in the book I'd given her as she sat on the corner, panhandling for change.

Today I put that theory to the test. I had an errand to run, and instead of sticking to the mall that's virtually across the street from home, I walked 15 minutes to the big grocery store. It was nice to be outside, to have Christmas carols in my headphones, to breathe fresh air.

I picked up what I needed to get. Then I thought about the cash in my wallet, the money I didn't spend last night because I didn't go out for tapas and sangria with Joanna. Why not put a portion of that cash to good use?

So I collected little things throughout the store for Caleb and Randi. Chapstick, cough drops, tissues, earmuffs, slipper socks and gloves. Pineapple chunks and a packet of tuna. An oversized candy cane filled with M&Ms. I put all of this, along with a $10 gift card and a like-new copy of Racing in the Rain that I got for free last summer at the library book fair, in a holiday gift bag that I had in the cabinet. I've also enclosed a little something for the homeless couple's cat, Napoleon. I'm giving him the heavy metal comb I always used on my beloved old Joey. I don't use it anymore, but I can't bear to toss it away. It makes sense to give it to Napoleon.

On the way home, I cut through the mall and stopped at the book store for a birthday card. I remembered the toy drive in the lobby of my office building. It's specifically for abandoned and abused children. Yes, I already gave to three other toy drives this season and yes, I am broke. But I'm so broke that an additional $5 won't really make any difference to me and this book might make a real difference to the boy who receives it. With the hurricane relief efforts on the news, perhaps Clemente's heroism will seem especially relevant. Certainly his talent and charisma on the diamond will appeal to some young reader. This is the kind of gift I like thinking of Santa handing out on my behalf.

All this reminds me that a movie, tapas and sangria are luxuries. Small ones, I grant you, but they are not on Mazslow's heirarchy, are they? And I must remember that I  chose not to see Betty and Will Saturday night. I have friends who care about me and want to celebrate the season with me. That, while sometimes life wears me out, I have a lot to enjoy and a lot to be thankful for. That I have heart and imagination to share.

I am feeling Christmas-y.


  1. I put together my angel tree gifts--gift cards for the local teen hangout/coffee shop, make up brushes, a hoodie, and other small school supply type goods. It felt so good to do it for two teens this year (a male and a female).

  2. Gal, you are a good person. :) (This BookMama, but I can’t figure out how to make it say that. Lol)