Here in the Philadelphia area temperatures have been hitting record lows. Earlier in the winter, my mom had signed up through her church to be a volunteer with a community program giving shelter and meals to homeless people. Now my mom, although selfless to a fault and extremely giving, is also not the kind of person to go to dinner alone or go see a movie by herself. In other words, she is not one to get out of her comfort zone. So at nearly 60 years old, she decided to take action. For her, a very bold move. I couldn’t have been more proud. She has spent late night hours and early mornings serving food, cleaning toilets, checking people in. The stuff other people think about doing but she actually took the steps to do. And the basic duties like those make a difference. Then this…
I spent the night at my parents’ last night. After we went out to dinner, my mom couldn’t stop thinking about the people sleeping at shelter. She had asked colleagues at her work to donate McDonald’s gift cards so that the people had means to get a hot meal and a warm place to sit when the shelter closed during the day. So last night, she took more than $200.00 in gift cards over. She also had seen a young couple – not any older than myself and my sister – a few nights ago. She grabbed her UGG boots and said to those in charge to give them to the young girl. The director questioned the gift but my mom said she could always buy another pair.
My mom then woke up at 5:00 a.m. this morning to help with the clean up shift. I was sitting watching the news sipping on a warm cup of coffee when she got home. With tears frozen to her face because temperatures had dipped below zero, she walked into the door sniffing back sobs.
“The girl had my UGG boots on.”
I reached out and pulled my mommy into my arms as she dropped the bath towels she had brought back with her to wash. She feels so deeply, so genuinely for other people. In her heart of hearts, she just wants to help feeling so grateful for all which she has been blessed. In that moment, I thought to myself, I hope as a mother I can have even half the perspective, grace, strength and altruism of my mom.
“The one man didn’t even have gloves,” she continued as she left my arms to go search through my dad’s winter gear to find an extra pair. Together we gathered scarves, gloves and hats to take over tonight.
It truly is the little things that make my mom so incredible. After all these years, she manages to still surprise me with how much of herself she is willing and able to give to other people. I hope I have been taking good enough notes because if I can be to my little girl what my mom is to me and to all those around her, I’ll consider my mission accomplished.