Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sometimes life doesn't work out like you planned

Friday night, the Stirring planned "Erase the Dark," a music, art and film festival to benefit Cypress School.

Close to my heart, it is. Last summer, my ex-husband and I hired a nanny for our kids. Less than a month in, she decided she didn't want to spend her summer working. She offered up her sister, who lasted about two weeks. We were stuck. Have you ever tried to find summer child care well into July? Not easy. We found that Cypress School offered a summer childcare program, had openings, and was surprisingly affordable. I went there, and met the director, and she was fabulous! Caring, well-educated, and with a true heart for the kids. We made plans for them to start there.

I picked up the kids after the first day, and Jake asked me if I could make him two lunches the next day. Now, he is NOT a big eater, so my curiosity was peaked. He wanted to share one of the lunches with his new friend, K. K's lunch that day had been a rice cake. I spend the rest of the summer packing each of the kids' lunchboxes with several sandwiches and snacks.

One Wednesday they had planned an outing to the Aquatic Center. All the kids were so excited, but the day broke cold and drizzly. A quick change to the skating rink was made, but there was a problem. As the teachers called the parents to let them know of the change, it was discovered that half of them didn't have socks - required for the rink. I made a quick trip to K-Mart, and the trip went on.

Several of Jake's favorite toys disappeared that summer. The mystery was solved when I saw Jake putting them into his backpack to give to his friends who he'd found had no toys.

That's how our summer went - with my kids receiving a greater gift than I'd planned. Sure, they were in a safe place, filled with laughter, learning, crafts, and play. But they learned that there are kids right here in our town who don't have toys. Who don't have food. Who don't have clothes.

So, here the Stirring was having this incredible event meant not only to entertain, but to enrich Cypress School. I was really looking forward to it.

One of my co-workers came to work Friday complaining that she'd spent the night with food poisoning. About 4:00, I realized maybe she didn't have food poisoning, but stomach flu. How did I know? Because food poisoning isn't contagious.

There went my Friday night.

I'm still not feeling great, but I felt well enough to host Jake's 8th birthday party yesterday afternoon. It was a roaring success. For the first time, every single guest was there. And his dad stayed for two whole hours, and actually played with him, which was probably the greatest gift Jake received.

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