I was the queen of raffle ticket sales at the American Cancer Society Jazz Festival of 1995. I rocked my bright yellow cotton bike shorts (those were so in), my converse sneakers, and my commemorative t-shirt, which was an adult small, so basically wore like a tent. I didn’t tie the shirt at the bottom or do anything cute, I just rocked that tent shirt loose with my 90s shorts and asked every single person in the park to buy a raffle ticket. I distinctly remember going back to families more than twice and saying, “do you think you’re ready to give to a good cause?”. I laid it on thick.
Walking up to Casa Teresa today for Boyd’s first act of giving was based on a lot more than just the spirit of the season. Most of the time I honestly don’t feel like I do enough. I don’t feel like I am deeply compassionate enough or giving enough, especially since we have so much. I even have a business that helps other companies create community outreach programs, but it still feels like it’s not the right amount of giving back.
I think it’s a “me problem”. It’s just my own issue – my obsession with doing the right amount of everything.
My mother raised me volunteering alongside her, and it stuck with me. She took me to the fundraisers, had me there for people’s wig fittings and head shaving parties at her salon, and drug me into morning Rotary meetings at 7am. She got me fully immersed in all community activities, whether kids were welcome or not. I doubt she asked permission, and I worked so hard at any assigned task that no one cared.
I learned years later, after we had moved away from the town we cared so much for, that my mom used to help abused women get career counselling and get cleaned up and back in to the work force. I think it was the only giving she excluded me from, trying to keep a little distance between me and the harshness of some realities.
She didn’t know then that she set me onto a path, and neither did I. Now, regardless of the right amount of good or giving, I get to help people every day. I get to teach my son about giving when you have more than enough. Note: you always have more than enough of something.
As we came home today from Old Town Orange with the sweet little antique shops and holiday boughs strung from lamp to lamp above the streets, I felt that old time feeling from when I was a kid. A sign of contentment. Boyd won’t remember the day, but it still felt good to honor the tradition, to go the extra 12 miles out of town, and to give from our overflowing cup.
Today, it felt like enough.
In honor of my childhood nostalgia, I whipped up some mac n’ cheese with a twist. Recipe courtesy of dear friend, Robyn Holland of Sweetish.