My daughter and I received a package in the mail yesterday from my writer friend Shannon Ashley, wrapped up with sparkly pink duct tape.
I looked inside and immediately started to cry.
You see, I’m in a bunch of Facebook groups for Medium writers. In one of the smaller groups, writer Kyrie Gray leads a weekly Rant Thread, where for 24 hours we can rant all we want — about work or anything else.
Every week, people pour out their hearts, and every week, other Medium writers reply to the rants with kindness, empathy, and understanding.
This alone is heartwarming, but this week, things got next-level for me.
The Rant Thread came at a good time. I haven’t had a super-viral article in a while, and I was feeling overwhelmed and afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep building on my writing successes. And as I wrote my rant, I arrived at the root of it all: money. Money worries underscore all the other worries.
I commented that, since my kid started kindergarten, she’s somehow ripped holes in the knees of every pair of her size 4T pants. The weather’s getting colder, and I was sending my child to school in pants with holes in them. I was ready to prioritize getting her new pants, but in the meantime, I really needed to rant, to cry about how sick I am of working so hard and still being low-income.
Shannon, with her heart of gold, got my address over PM, and it was only a couple days later we received her package full of unicorns and rainbows.
Shannon’s daughter’s the same age as mine, so I expected a box of hand-me-downs — which would’ve been incredible on its own— but it was clear Shannon and her daughter specifically chose some things just for my daughter.
I felt her kindness and her friendship in the thoughtful items in this box: a rainbow hair bow and unicorn dress my daughter received just in time for School Picture Day; a Snoopy book about being “brave and kind,” the very words my daughter’s teacher used for her when she named her Star Student of the Week in kindergarten.
Shannon’s daughter made my daughter a drawing of flowers and smiling butterflies. I can’t wait for my daughter to mail some art back.
And Shannon even included a gift card, with a note that it was for me to use on myself. She’s written about how difficult it is as a mom to prioritize yourself, and I feel this so much. I used part of the gift card immediately, and bought myself new underwear for the first time since my daughter was 1. I also treated myself to a little milk steamer so I can make soy lattes at home.
Too often I hear Conservative talking points about how “handouts” will make people lazy. Honestly, I was just the recipient of a whole lot of generosity, and right now, I feel the opposite of lazy.
I feel inspired. I feel grateful. Dare I say it, I feel #blessed!
I want to believe that I deserve nice stuff. And more than anything, I want to pay it forward.
Regardless of how much money we make or don’t make, we can find ways to give to others. And when we make more money, that can be an opportunity to find even more ways to be generous.
“Our friends are so generous,” I gushed. “I want to be generous like that too.”
“Me too!” my daughter said. “I want to be generous like that too!”