Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Good Ending to a Hard Day

I wasn't sure how yesterday was going to go. I knew in my head that the electoral college wouldn't save us. Wouldn't protect us from Trump. Wouldn't vote differently than people in their state requested they do. I knew there would be no delay, we wouldn't ever really get to the bottom of Russian interference in our election. We wouldn't try and understand what it means to have a President-Elect who appears to be crushing our government with his appointees. Perry - the guy who wanted to eliminate the Energy Department will run it? A congressperson whose not an economist will  lead OMB? Department of Ed will be championed by someone who doesn't believe in public education? I can't find one silver lining in this - except the Marines seem to be proud their guy is going to lead DoD. I hope they're right.

And so it was that I donned my coat, still wearing my "I'm With Her" button, and set off for work. Even though my head knew how the day would end, with Trump officially getting the nod to be President, my heart is very powerful, and a small piece of it whispered "it's been a very strange few months, anything could happen". I held my breath as long as I could, but in the end it wasn't to be. It isn't to be.

Another day of tears, an upset stomach, and a confirmation that I am never going to get over this election. It's something I will carry with me to the end, like a dead relative. I penned a thank you note to HRC, dropped it in the work mailbox, and carried on.

By nightfall, I was alone with Helen and Connor and it was just what my soul needed. We played a couple of games, ate our favorite cookies out of the cookie exchange box, and listened to a Christmas story that I had downloaded.

Though Connor is not my naturally goofy, happy child - he does pull it out sometimes. We set to work on a robot soldering project, but before that, I lit up our unbelievable gorgeous tree that is filled with so many ornaments and memories. And Connor suggested we have a Christmas dance, so we did. Singing, laughing, and dancing around the room.

After we were a little bit winded, we made some progress on our project, which though he sort of resents having anything to do at night that doesn't involve him moving into a vegetative state, he was enjoying.

And then we sat in a chair together (not many more years for this) and by the time he went to bed, he told me I was the best mother in the world, and probably even the best parent. He doesn't always feel this way, but it's nice to know that sometimes the universe can send me a soft ball - and on a day when I was filled with a sense of gloom, it was perfectly timed.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Doing Good - Donation to Arlington Food Assistance Center - Thank you, Stonyfield!

This is the obvious time of year when we take a moment, look around, and decide what positive change we can bring. It's natural, because in this time of darkness, we're in need of new sources of light.

Stonyfield sent me a gift card for $50 and allowed me to pass it along to a cause my family supported. I have a standing policy that whenever my children donate money to a cause they believe in, I make a matching contribution. Doing this allows them to see their dollars go further, shows them that I support their giving, and hopefully encourages them to find other things to believe in.

We sat around one evening at dinner and talked about the many activities in the area that we could do to help others. In the past, we've adopted families through Arlington County's Secret Santa program.

I also donate annually to a program in Alexandria that provides gifts to foster children aging out of the foster program. I answered an ad on a listserv I belong on a few years ago, and now get direct requests. The charity is Fund for Alexandria's Child.

And the charity closest to my heart is Miriam's  Kitchen - a place  I volunteered at for about 20 years. I still donate to them monthly.

Helen recently did a few lemonade and jewelry sales with a friend as well as giving some of her own money (and my match) to donate to Animal Welfare League of Arlington. She was thrilled to bring her donation a few weeks ago, in part because it meant she could play with and see the cats and dogs at the shelter. It was a fun way to spend an hour.

And finally, Helen fleeced us out of every piece of spare change in the house (including the coins I find in the laundry, which I consider my tips) in order to support Shareplay, a charity founded by one of her school teachers.

Connor's Boy Scout troop collects food for the Arlington Food Assistance Center and apparently that action sunk in - because as we were naming all of these other charities, he piped in with AFAC.

We talked about whether we wanted to donate to something new for our family or something we already support, whether we wanted to do something for people or animals, and where we wanted the charity to be (international, national, local). Once we decided we wanted to do something for families in Arlington, we talked about the different ideas we laid out, and landed on AFAC.

We started with the $50 gift card from Stonyfield. To that, I added $20. Then Helen said she'd like to contribute $2 of her own and Connor wanted to contribute $5 of his own. We added that together, and with my matching contributions for their donations - we discovered we had put together $84. Helen then upped her amount to $5 - giving us $90 to donate to AFAC.

We went on their website and chose items from their food list that we'd like to donate.

It was super easy, and we had an email thanking us almost instantly.

"Thank you for your donation to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). If you have questions about your donation, please contact our Development office at development@afac.org, or by phone at (703) 845-8486."

ProductQtyUnit PricePrice
Fresh Eggs

          Thank you, Stonyfield. You might have started our new holiday tradition that includes the kids in the donating end of giving!