Today is the second in our Kindness Counts series and guess who's turn it is...
It's my turn!
And our goal in this series is to spread how acts of kindness can effect you, your neighbor, or even a stranger. Kindness is contagious and we were so inspired by Ben's Bells and their message, we wanted to pass it along!
And it started with a giraffe...
The morning after Christian's accident I remember standing in the lobby of the hospital in the elevator bay. I don't know how I got there, but I think we were headed toward the cafeteria, and I'm even sure about that.
I remember seeing a delivery guy in that elevator bay. I don't remember his face, but I remember him being the only person in this busy area holding a stuffed giraffe and bouquet of floating Mylar balloons. And I remember thinking - Awww, how sweet it is to send that to somebody. Whoever that's going to is a lucky kid.
The next memory I have is walking into Christian's PICU room not fifteen minutes later. He was in bad shape, but he made it through the night, my little soldier. On his bed sat a stuffed giraffe with a bouquet of balloons. And I thought - He IS the luckiest little boy...
I didn't realize there were people in this world that acted on kindness and empathy alone. I mean I had heard of it, but never really experienced the magnitude of it until we faced life and death. I'm not going to begin to pick apart the meaning of kindness and what it can do because I simply don't have words that are powerful enough to explain the phenomenon of kindness.
But, that's the thing about kindness...it's about actions, not words.
I've mentioned the first trip to my beloved Target after the accident and while Christian was in the PICU a time or two. This was the Target I would usually take my bouncing boy to browse the Dollar Spot on a lazy weekday. But I was walking through those doors without him to buy socks to ward off the freezing cold nighttime chill of the hospital. I wondered if people could see the pain on my face. I wondered if people could understand how much pain I was in because it felt that bad. So bad it seeped out of the pours of my skin and the dark circles under my eyes.
I don't think they saw it. And that's the point, nobody knows how much pain the next person is in. We go on about our day, unaware, that the person taking a little extra time at the cash register might have a personal battle they're attending to. That lady who didn't make her left turn quickly enough might have a child in the PICU.
Be aware. Be nice. Smile. It meant the world to me then. And I know it will mean the world to someone if you pass it along.
That stuffed giraffe and bouquet of Mylar balloons were from my August Moms. Through these moms and their power of kindness, others were moved to act and the entire experience has proved to me that a bunch of moms can truly move mountains. Those August Moms are the epitome of what I'm referring to in trying to explain the phenomenon of kindness. There were countless ways in which they showed their love and care for us, even with simple emails and cards, that will remain with me as inspiration to be a better person to this day. And it all started with a giraffe.
Which, of course, is way more than a giraffe.
The infamous giraffe still sits and watches over my little boy. And my little boy is still lucky. Giraffe still has the small card addressed to Christian Quintero, UMC ICU around his neck. I won't remove the card, not yet. It's a reminder of what kindness and selflessness really mean. It's about the actions behind the words printed on the envelope.