While helping others, we help ourselves

I’ve never blogged before. I follow blogs, and am always in awe how people can sound so eloquent and interesting in discussing what’s on their mind. Anna has a way with writing that sucks you into the story and pulls at your heartstrings. I fumble with messaging to put into birthday cards. But, this is the first time inspiration has struck me so much I felt compelled to put pen to paper. Or in 2015, fingers to a keyboard.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about” - one of the many mantras I strive to live by, in addition to “Bacon makes everything better”. Unfortunately though for the majority of the moms we’ve helped through ITAVB, the battle isn’t hidden. The struggle is real. We’ve seen it first hand – from doing a donation drop and walking into a rented room that served as a living space and sleeping area with sheets for curtains, to helping a refugee that was a few weeks away of delivering her baby, to a family living in a cold basement and their only source of warmth is a space heater they use to keep their baby’s sleeping area warm. Its circumstances like those that we come across that will literally break your heart and have you fight to hold your tears at bay until you’re done with the donation and are back in the safety of your own car to bawl.

But even with the mantra, and with my faith, I still fall victim to getting caught up in my own grumbles with the stresses of life. My vision becomes cloudy and I stop being concerned about other peoples struggles and I selfishly look at my own. I have self-doubt of what I’m doing – am I a good enough mom & wife, am I doing what I need to do at my job to be able to help provide for my family, am I making enough effort to ensure ITAVB can provide for the moms in need, etc. I was in a rut this week with work deadlines, stresses of a very strong willed 2 yo, preparing for a out of town trip, coordinating for two donations to moms and trying to sort through a 3 foot pile of baby clothes in time for our mom shop event this weekend.

All that came to a halt last night. My husband and daughter came along with me to help with two drops. The first was a mother of 3 month old and 2 ½ year old we had helped out once before for her newborn, and had reached back out with a needs for both kiddos. We walked into an apartment with a barren living room, save for a pack in play and a few baby toys. As we made several trips back and forth to the car with crib parts, clothes, diapers, toys, she kept saying thank you, and by the end of it was so choked up she couldn’t get the words out anymore.

My daughter insisted on helping and I let her carry an item or two up the flights of stairs – she would run into the apartment so excited to give the other girl the board book, or the package of diapers – and I stood there and watched the two of them interact – so close in age and the juxtaposition of their lives. I hugged the mom bye and asked her to let me know if she thinks of anything else she needs. I left there carrying my daughter, squeezing her a little tighter because thankfully I don’t have to worry where I’ll get diapers for her, or where she’ll lay her head down that night. And that my own battles are so trivial, when I see what those that we’re trying to help are going through.

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