I went to Mr W's parent information night last night at his school. It started with a sincere and enthusiastic thank you from the principal, for us voters approving two ballot measures last year that have put the school district on solid footing for a while. She remarked how the 5th graders will each get the use of a netbook computer, and I thought that was pretty swell. It was a good reminder of another reason that I love living here.
As she spoke, I looked around the room and saw a woman dabbing at her eye, as though her eye was watering of its own accord. That happens to me sometimes in the winter, and it's an inconvenience and a bit uncomfortable. Chalk up another one for being grateful I wasn't experiencing that little malady. Then I saw the mom of a classmate of Mr W's, who is obviously undergoing chemo (headscarf, no eyebrows...) and I thought back to when my sister was sick and how neighbors making dinners for them (for about 18 months) was a big help. I asked if they needed meals and she said no, but maybe that wasn't quite the right way to do it. We're not close, but I'd like to help if I could. They're just up the street.
As an aside, I had an idea. When someone undergoes chemo, as part of the process, someone prints up a set of business cards. Somewhere along the line (again, as part of the process) there is some kind of online registry to set up support for the person, and the cards are advertising. Rides, meals, housecleaning, etc. Then, when someone like me fumbles up to someone and goes, "can I help?", instead of feeling weird about it, with our culture of self-reliance, and not wanting to be perceived as weak or needy, I would get a card. I log in, and then sign up for something. There's probably something like that, but dammit, people want to help and it's hard to figure out what to do sometimes.
The last one was that a mom asked about how the school was going to handle medications for the kids when they go on this fabulous three day field trip up in the mountains. I know that her son takes daily injections, and I got poinked again by a little feeling that said, "See? There's yet another thing that you don't have deal with."
One stop shopping for reminders to be grateful.