This is the salutation on the letter Flower Child began working on last night.
During dinner, Husband, Flower Child and I had a lovely, meandering conversation. Her mind makes some interesting connections, and when I’ve got the luxury of time, I like to follow. In order to make a connection, she speaks aloud, touching on every detail of every thing she can remember hearing/seeing that somehow reminds her of what came before.
Without this process, her mind stalls, and she can’t follow or remember. We began discussing Greek goddesses, which jumped to eating habits in history, Pa Ingalls curing meat, the gold accents on her Cleo de Nile doll, why organic fruits and vegetables taste better but cost more, why she had to eat some soup and not just the coconut chips garnishing it, and why everyone should help each other.
Somehow it made sense to tell Husband and Flower Child about a scene I passed when I was on my way to the hospital the other morning. There was a man standing outside a coffee shop where I got off the bus, panhandling. A familiar scene to me, there didn’t seem to be anything remarkable. No aggression, no singing, no yelling, no horrendous odors, no aggression. An older, elegantly dressed and coiffed woman about ten steps ahead of me. Her nose turned up so high if I had been standing next to her I could have checked for polyps. She turned to another man walking by her, “No one ever gives money to those people, do they? I hope not.” Obviously not a New Yorker.
Not much of a story, more of a moment. But I turned to Flower Child, and saw her eyes watering and lip quivering, “What’s wrong? Come here.” She pressed into my hug.
Yes, yes it is. I told her no one person can help everyone, or fix these things, but if everyone does what they can; even it’s limited to contributing one can of food to a food drive, it can make a difference.
She isn’t all that clear on the distinction between city and state, state and country, country and continent, principal and president–but she’s writing a letter to the people in charge, because it’s wrong to ignore people who are hungry.
Man Child and Nerd Child also care about others, volunteer time and give what they can. Community service means more than a line on a college resume.
The other day I was telling friends a story from my childhood. My mother would send me with a lunch every day. I wasn’t much on eating three meals a day, and I rarely got “good” sandwiches. These were the days when you heard a lot about the starving children in Biafra. On the way to school, I passed a mailbox. Each day, I would drop my brown bag into it. Unless the sandwich was olive loaf, in which case I kept it. That poor mailman, his bag must have smelled permanently like bologna. My friends’ immediate thoughts were what a caring child I was. Not so much. More like practical. “They” were hungry, I wasn’t, and would have gotten into trouble if I brought the sandwich back home. If anyone used the term win/win back then it would have applied.
I’m a lucky mama. My children have compassion, good souls.