Saturday, February 28, 2015

Always Kindness

Roy and I went out for dinner last night at Fatz. It was a new restaurant choice for us as we typically go to the very same restaurants over and over and over again. We always say Next time let's go somewhere new! and then heartily welcome that idea...until next time rolls around. And then? Off we go to Good Ole Faithful. But yesterday, Roy picked me up from work so we could run a million errands. One of those errands included picking up Piper from the groomer's, so by the time that happened and we rolled into our driveway to drop him off, it was about 6:30...and we were starving. And of course, eating at home just wasn't an option as we both looked forward to the restaurant experience. And so? Well, we decided to go somewhere closer to home that would not include traffic. And that's when I suggested Fatz.

He has ruined me.

Growing up, we never went out to eat. I grew up in a small town and to my knowledge, the only restaurant was this local Ma and Pop's diner that served greasy hamburgers and fries. Once a year we took a trip to the "City" so I could see the eye doctor as I wore glasses, and Dad would ask Where do you want to eat out? And of course, being a kid, I would proudly proclaim, Pizza! And away we'd go.

And that's about it.

And then I met Roy: the eating-out king. His family, on the other hand, loved eating out and made it a weekly practice. And so, when we started dating, eating out became one of our regular activities and thirty years later? we are.

Anyway, Roy dropped me off as parking looked to be an issue and I went in to put our names on a list. Soon after I sat down to wait for a table, a little girl who looked to about 3 years old came over and crawled onto my lap. A woman whom I assumed was her grandma quickly got up from the other side of the waiting room and said, "Lacey! You can't just crawl into a stranger's lap like that!"

"She's just fine!" I laughed, as this adorable little girl proceeded to look up at me with her big blue eyes and ringlet curly blonde hair. Her hands rested contentedly on mine as she simply sat there, perfect as could be. A little jewel.

"She's our foster daughter," the woman began to explain. "We've had her since September and we're still working on some social skills."

The woman then sat down beside me and proceeded to talk about how she fosters children and her home is never without the laughter and chatter of little ones. She is a foster home for four counties and so as soon as she loses one who is reunited with a relative or parent, another child moves in immediately to take their place. On the other side of the waiting room, her husband was rocking a car seat by its handle, and inside the car seat was a tiny baby, sucking contentedly on her pacifier. "I just got that little one a week ago," she explained, nodding towards the baby.

About that time, our names were called that a table was waiting and so Roy, who had recently joined me, and I got up to leave. I begrudgingly gave adorable little Lacey back to her foster mom. I could have listened to this woman talk all day long. How admirable she is. She was filled with life and stories and love that including opening her home to little ones without one. Clearly she and her husband lived life for the purpose of giving back.

Shortly after we sat down, this little family sat down in a booth beside us. After we had stuffed ourselves with these divine poppyseed rolls and dinner salads piled high with fresh veggies and baked potatoes and grilled chicken for Roy and baked potato soup for me, we got up to leave. And that's when little Lacey spied us.

"What's yoo name?" she asked me, reaching out her hand so that I would stop and talk to her.

"My name is Vonda."

"What's her name?" she asked, pointing to Roy.

"Her name is Roy," I said, laughing.

"Is her a boy?" she said, those blue eyes burning into me.

"Yes! He is a boy!"

"What did you eat?" she demanded.

"I had potato soup. What are you eating?"

"Salad," she replied, looking down at a bowl with remnants of dressing and a few stray pieces of lettuce.

"Why you go bye-bye?" she asked, again looking up with those piercing blue eyes.

"I am going home now," I said.

And then, with furrowed brow, she said, "No! Don't go bye bye!"

I could have so easily scooped her up and brought her home with me--this little angel girl. In those few moments, she stole my heart. I wanted to protect her from everything life will throw her way.

But of course...

As we were driving home, I asked Roy, "Would you be willing to be a foster parent?"

"Hell no," was his reply.

That's that.

Roy is such a softy. It takes a mere few seconds to grab his heart and churn it into melted butter. Having a foster child? Well, that would kill him when the child was returned to a family that offers no guarantee of a drug-free life, of a safe environment.

And really, maybe I wouldn't be so willing either. I love our comfortable life where we can finally come and go with ease. No more diaper bags. No more car seats. No more babysitters. No more stressful restaurant experiences. No more so many things. And so, I can easily proclaim that Yes! I would love to foster a child! because I know in the deepest part of me it isn't really an option.

Sometimes I wonder about how strange life is. Some of us--such as myself, are born into lives of comfort. We come from good genetics, good families, normal people (what is normal really...other than a setting on a dryer). We are born into the USA where life is free and opportunity abounds.

And then others are born into families of neglect and abuse; others are born into poverty where food is hard to find and lack is the norm.

How does one make sense of it all?

It is this reality that makes it so wrong on so many levels for us to judge another. How do I know that, if I were them--born with their genetic code to their parents with their life experiences...well, how do I know I would be any different?

I don't.

Walk a mile in my shoes before you judge.

I have no idea what will become of little Lacey. How does one handle being tossed to and fro in the most formative years of one's life? How does one overcome the lack of bonding with a mother that is so detrimental to development? I don't begin to have the answers to those questions. But I am so grateful for people who choose to make a difference. For people who welcome these little ones into their homes and offer love and laughter and warmth.

And meanwhile, while I enjoy all of the comforts of this beautiful life I lead, I need to give back; I need to serve others. Life is filled with opportunity. We don't have to be a foster home to offer love.

We just need to open our eyes...and our arms...and choose kindness.

Always kindness.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Just wow. Incredible. And yes - kindness. Just kindness! So simple, yet such a game changer!


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