Day 5: I planned an Ice Cream Date w/ Mom & Dad - I was all set for my intentional act of kindness for the day, I planned ahead. I made an ice cream date with my parents. I see them often but don't really spend quality time together. My dad just got back from driving my older sister to Utah, so I wanted to catch up. Plus, getting out is a treat for them My parents are givers to a fault. They are always focused on doing for their family and others. Growing up I remembered if someone needed something, the answer was yes and you figured out how to make it happen after. Going out of your way was just what you did. This stuck with me. Going into adulthood, I was in for a real shock and disappointment when I saw this wasn't the case for most others. Dating was an eye opener too. The realization my dad broke the mold when it came to good guys came quickly, but hasn't stopped me from continuing to search. (This is a whole other topic that I may get into another time) I bring up my parents selflessness because I wanted you to truly understand this next part. My parents idea of a big night out is making a trip to the neighborhood Braums and splitting a banana split. They're so concerned about giving to their 5 kids and supporting the youngest granddaughter, splurging on a treat like this is a big deal. Plus, it's pretty cute to me too. My dad only likes vanilla ice cream with strawberry topping then he let's my mom choose the other 2 flavors and toppings. My dad can't eat chocolate (so sad, I know!), so one of my mom's choices is always chocolate-free so my dad could try a bite of hers. Their life together has always been symbolic of this. Every decision that is made has the consideration of the other. I adore it! One of the reasons they have made it this far together, I'm sure.
But back to our plans, I wanted to spend some quality time talking with them and also wanted to treat them. But, it didn't happen. I'm not too sure why but we rescheduled for another night. I didn't want my day to go without an act of kindness so I decided to reach out to a friend of mine who I know is battling a bout of depression. I sent out the invite and a few hours later got a reply that it wasn't a good night. This didn't surprise me, I would've been more surprised if he had said yes, but I was hoping. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, most people going through a depression have a hard time accepting any social invites. Just answering a text is a big deal & takes a good amount of energy. But the effort of the invite doesn't go unnoticed, they may not be able to express it but kindness does make a difference. The lack of it too. (Remember this the next time someone you know is being unresponsive or not themselves. It's not personal towards you, it's very normal. Don't be defensive, pushy or quit making an effort. Just be there, that is the best way to help.)
So, not from a lack of trying, I didn't get to treat anyone to ice cream :( Luckily, I had a helper to make sure I still achieved my act of kindness. My 5 year old niece and I were chatting, I asked her if she wanted to help me do something nice for someone we know. "Sure! But for who" She mentioned one of her school friends I didn't know, asked for other ideas. She mentioned someone else, perfect! (I'm keeping it quiet because they haven't received their present yet.) We went to Dollar Tree, picked out a card and a few other little "thinking of you gifts", including one for my mom/her grandma. It was a fun outing and only cost me $5.60. Not bad for getting to surprise 3 people!