I think we can all agree that last year was a strange one. The terrible virus changed so many ways we used to go about our daily lives. Although it has abated where I live, its presence still lingers. With winter upon us, we now fear it rearing its ugly head while still wondering what the flu season will bring.
Will this be our new normal? I certainly hope not. I saw a change in my grandchildren during last year when they couldn’t attend school, get together with friends, play sports or go on trips. Fortunately, with help, they were able to work through their angst and are back to being their usual happy, sociable selves.
The impact this miserable disease had on me, was not medical, but emotional. I missed my Charlotte family. We went months without being together. FaceTime at least let me see them, but the conversations were not the same as visiting in person. I missed the hugs and the more in-depth talks we shared. I realized that their lack of socialization and inability to travel impacted them the same way it did me.
Thankfully, the last few months of 2021 started to bring about some positive changes. More businesses opened up, people began to venture out of state, we began to visit friends and attend concerts, plays, and sporting events. More families were out at Halloween, and we were truly thankful to have family and friends gathering at the table for Thanksgiving. Children once again could sit on Santa’s lap while parents took their keepsake pictures. But, for a lot of people, the virus hurt in ways other than their health, and from which they still haven’t recovered.
I have given up making New Year resolutions, but I will make a New Year wish. I wish the malaise that was felt for way too long will continue to be replaced with hope and kindness. I want my grandchildren to grow up understanding that not everyone is as fortunate as they are. Plenty of people do not grow up with loving parents, family and friends; they do not always have plenty to eat; they may not have a home to go to; or a bed to sleep in; or clean clothes to wear; or any toys to play with.
Most of us see the holidays as a great time to help those in need by giving charitable contributions. As great as that is, we often forget that the needs continue throughout the year. Whether it is contributions to the local food bank, Salvation Army, rescue mission or any of the other organizations you support, let your grandchildren help in delivering the items. If they are young, explain what you are donating and why.
It is also important to remember that actions speak volumes. A smile to a stranger or a kind word just might make that person’s day. Holding open the door, letting them go in front of you in line or treating them by paying for their coffee are small things that go a long way – kindness can be catching. I love the paying it forward concept. Whether a tangible gift or a simple act, these are teachable moments that your grandchildren will pick up on and remember.
Whatever this year brings, I hope it will bring you peace, joy, health and happiness. I will look for ways to be more charitable throughout the year in words and deeds. It’s true, it is better to give than to receive – it makes your heart happy!