My birthday came and went without much fanfare. I'm touched by the family and friends who remembered me, by the special birthday dinner and cards that Garry and the kids made for me, and the gestures of love all around. It was a good day.
Like last year, I set out to make people glad I was born by doing 35 acts of kindness during the week before my 35th birthday. Here's what made me happy this week.
1-4: Driving extra kids to and from school every day last week (we had Monday off).
5: Rocking and singing Kate to sleep when she was sad at nap time.
7: Donating lots of FHE ideas/packets for an upcoming Relief Society activity.
8: Talking to a friend who was sitting alone at a stake meeting.
9: Helping a friend's daughter with a really difficult piano piece.
10: Taking bell peppers to a friend who loves them.
11: Visiting an elderly friend.
12: Taking extra kids home from mutual.
14: Sorting and delivering donated baby clothes (not from me) to a soon-to-be-mom in need.
15: Returning something to a store for a friend who just had surgery.
16: Rehearsing and playing for a musical number at church.
19: Taking one of "my" Beehives to a store when she needed a ride.
22: Going visiting teaching.
23: Watching a little girl before school.
25: Giving up my seat at a middle school meeting for a hugely pregnant lady who was sitting on the floor.
26: Writing thank-you notes to all of the kids' school teachers.
27: Taking dinner to the family of a crazy-busy friend.
28: Talking to and suggesting resources for a friend who needed support on a bad day.
29: Delivering homemade rolls and strawberry jam to four friends (would have been five, but the kids raided one of the plates).
30: Giving the kids a pass on Saturday chores.
33: Setting up the sprinkler for the first time this year, just because the kids wanted me to do it.
35: Donating fabric and cardboard for Cub Scout Day Camp forts.
I'm not gonna lie: I had some hard days last week, and sometimes it was a stretch to think of things to do for other people when consumed by my own frustrations. However, my stressed-out heart always warmed up when I was helping people, particularly those I love. Last year I did more things for strangers, and that was great, but I really enjoyed serving people, often spontaneously, in response to specific needs that I recognized. Some of my acts of kindness, like taking extra kids to and from school and talking to my friends, were things I do every day, but it made me feel good to realize that I help my small, personal community in my regular life. I was also more aware of the ways that people serve me every day.
This particular birthday feels harder than turning 30. I've been feeling old and ineffective lately, so this project gave more purpose to my life for a few days. I hope it brightened a few other souls, as well.