The Kindness of Strangers

It's pretty unbelievable that Christmas is less than two weeks away! This is usually when I start to panic. It doesn't matter how many lists I make or how many presents are wrapped, I always forget something and end up running multiple last-minute errands.

This year is different because I'm lugging around a 22-pound munchkin everywhere I go. Last-minute really isn't an option. Last week, we headed to our nearest shopping center completely prepared. We were bundled up, had snacks galore, a fully stocked diaper bag, coupons...I was practically giggling with pride at how well-prepared I was.

After three stores, no tears and multiple items knocked off our list, I decided to make an unplanned stop at Barnes and Noble. I hurriedly ran into the store with P, bought a few things and rushed back to the car. Somehow, in a flurry of unlocking the car, calming a now crying baby and juggling shopping bags, I locked my keys...and diaper bag...and cell phone...and wallet...and gloves...and sippee cup...in the car.

I have made A LOT of stupid mistakes in my life, but I have NEVER locked my keys in the car (well, there was ONE time, but I was, like, ten - not nearly old enough to be counted as a stupid mistake). 30 phone calls, two tow trucks and tons of tears later, we finally got into the car, but only after they had to break my sunroof.

As we were driving home with some newspaper and duct tape protecting us from the elements, I started to feel sorry for myself. It was horrible luck, it was thoughtless, I was a horrible mother. Sitting at a stoplight, I glanced at something on the floor. It was a cellphone charger that the tow truck driver had lent me before we left to charge my (of course) dead phone. I realized that I had no right to think about everything negative that had happened. Throughout the entire ordeal, people had gone out of their way to help us. Countless people offered for P and me to sit in their car while we waited for the tow truck. A store manager let me use his cell phone and even called a friend to come help us. A very nice man lent me his Blackberry to call 411 and went to buy a flashlight so we could see inside the car. The two tow truck drivers each worked over an hour to try and pry the doors open. And it was COLD! No one asked for anything in return, they all just wanted to help.

It's sappy and cheesy, but that's what the real spirit of Christmas SHOULD be. I shouldn't be stressed out about buying presents or planning a meal. I should be thankful for everything we have and try to do kind things for others. I think I actually said this out loud as we proceeded through the signal, hoping that a bit of my new-found wisdom would somehow reach P while she snoozed.

On that note, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and receives - AND GIVES! - kindness. I'll be posting through the 24th and will hopefully have a newly-designed blog by the first of the year. Oh, and here's one of the shots P's extremely talented auntie took during our Fall photo shoot...

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