balance · emotional labour · kindness · paying it forward

The uses of kindness

I’m walking around feeling very stylin’ this week, on account of my new purse. It’s not actually my purse, though. It’s my sister’s. As we just spent a whole weekend together up north at our parents’ house where I could not stop telling her how lovely I thought that Fossil cross-body buff leather purse was, she just dumped all her stuff out of it, and told me I could borrow it for a month or two.

How kind!

In fact, our whole weekend was awash in kindness. Our husbands took on sole-charge child and home care so that we could have this getaway, and our parents had as their objective to spoil us with sleep-ins, and home cooking, and fancy cocktails, and a dinner out. My mom said nice things about my hair and complimented my photography. My dad uploaded a bunch of his jazz CDs into my iTunes, and made me a little post-it note so I would know what was new.

When I got home on Sunday, I was touched by my husband’s kindness, driving out to my sister’s house down the highway to pick me up, and then taking the dog out for a walk when we got back to our tidy! house. I was so touched, that I sent him out for supper and did the groceries with our girl, and then did a bunch of cooking.

The next morning, I discovered, he washed all the cooking dishes after I went to bed, because he was so happy I had done so much prep work for all our lunches. Then I was so touched by THAT kindness that I went in the backyard to retrieve all the bags of dog poop that had scattered everywhere when a big wind blew our garbage can off the back porch.

And on it goes, this week, kindness begetting kindness, multiplying kindness.

This time of year, my own kindness tends to go out the window: I get stressed, and when that happens, my fuse gets shorter, I perceive more slights and wrongs and start tabulating who’s done what chore or eaten the last muffin or not refilled the milk or someone got unfairly treated better than me. And you know where that gets me? Having fights.

It’s so easy to forget that sometimes, we just need to invite a little kindness into our day. I’ll tell you, sometimes, it’s really hard for me to offer to take the dog out on his last “poop walk” of the day when I’ve already scooped up three and it’s cold and I want to go to bed. But when I do make that offer, my little kindness multiplies unexpectedly, in hugs, or flowers, or an offer to take the dog out for his *first* poop walk the next morning. And I always feel so good.

I’m going to try to remember that, that even in the busy time, the awful time … maybe especially in this time, I need to take a deep breath, and offer myself in kindness. And it will come back to me.

Here’s a digital hug for you, dear reader: I sincerely hope your day is going well, and if there was a more tangible kindness I could offer you, other than me just wishing you a nice day, I would.

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