Hi! Hi! Hi! Did you have a great 4th? Was your weekend as nuts as ours?? I hope so because it’s the best kind of weekend – until it’s over, right?

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve visited A+J and said hi; I guess it’s been a crazy couple of weeks. I just wanted to pop in and reassure you (in case you haven’t already noticed – IMPOSSIBLE) that you are not the only one feeling the red, white and blue firework-happy holiday hangover. Exact words from Seth this morning: We should not have stayed up and watched fireworks like little kids last night. The way my body felt this morning agreed with him but the amazement on Matty’s face last night when we quietly pulled him out of his room at 10:00pm to watch the fireworks over the city absolutely and completely disagrees. This was his first year not completely terrified of the fireworks and it made all of the noise and raucous much more bearable BUT I still vow not to be that neighbor blowing up the streets past curfew. I genuinely think I have a very minor form of PTSD from our first 4th of July with Matty, just seven days after he was born. I was legit ready to knock down doors and set trees on fire that year. NEVER AGAIN.

ANYWAY. To top off the great weekend I want to share a small story with everyone because honestly the cutest thing happened: the boys’ witnessed their very first random act of kindness! Yes, there’s a strong possibility I may have been mistaken for a single mom of two psychopaths who could use a little pick me up and maybe even a dollar (BUT I DID HAVE ON ACTUAL CLOTHES, YOU GUYS) but it DOESN’T matter. Kindness exists and it’s good to remember that.

Saturday morning the boys and I went down to our local Walmart Neighborhood Market to grab a few essentials for the weekend and as we were walking up to our car in the parking lot I noticed an older man getting out of his car across the lane. I didn’t think anything of it until he started walking towards us in the otherwise fairly empty parking lot. I am admittedly super skeptical of anyone who approaches me when I’m alone with the kids, especially in parking lots. I mean, I don’t think I’m the only one, usually it’s people asking me for money and wanting to tell me their life story or just people talking weirdly to the boys and making my uneasy. As the man got closer I knew he was coming to talk to us. He looked nice and fairly harmless so I went about my business. He started a conversation by mentioning the very obvious hail damage we and, seemingly everyone, got last week (SEE YA, WINDSHIELD) and then very quickly and nonchalantly asked me if I could do him a favor. Hesitatingly I said sure. He asked me to hold out my hand and when I did so nervously, he set a handful of one dollar bills in my hand.

“Get them some ice cream cones, will ya? And enjoy your holiday.”

I was speechless. I sort of stuttered and mumbled out a mix of oh my god, are you sure and thank you so much. But before I could get anything that actually made sense out he was already well on his way to the store entrance. I loudly said thank you after him and he hollered back “have a happy 4th!” while Matty asked three hundred million questions – mostly about ice cream. It was the nicest thing.

As we sat at our neighborhood creamery thirty minutes later I couldn’t stop thinking about the gentleman in the parking lot. Matty talked about him non-stop, asking question after question. At one point while we were talking, Matty got confused and thanked a stranger for his ice cream cone. I thought about the donations we had Matty drop off at Children’s Hospital earlier in the week on his birthday, donations we had requested in lieu of presents, what an awesome turn of events for him to be on both the giving and receiving end of small, yet impactful, acts of kindness just days apart. It really was just the best thing.

So, to the older gentleman who approached me and the boys Saturday morning in the parking lot of the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Saddlecreek, who asked if I could do him a favor and hold out my hand, who then set a handful of one dollar bills in my palm and asked me to get my boys a couple of ice cream cones and enjoy our holiday, thank you. I’m so happy I obliged, if only for me boys to witness a random act of kindness first hand. We need more reminders that people like you still exist, especially in our local neighborhoods. We’re already looking for ways to pay it forward.

Maybe we could all look for ways to pay it forward.