A Helping Hand… Or Bat

I used to walk my kids to school. It was smart, healthy, and ecologically conscious. When I started feeling that I needed to carry a baseball bat to remind people that we were crossing the street, I started driving the three or so blocks to school. I’d park and walk my kids to the line up. Then I watched several near misses between kids, parents and vehicles. I went to the office and asked what the —— was going on.

Everyone admitted there was a problem. On an Air Force Base, you’d think it would be nice and orderly. Unfortunately, people are people. Since then, I’ve been to Traffic meetings with all the important people involved. The short answer was that there wasn’t much to be done. But, we did get security forces acting as crossing guards occasionally. And, yours truly starting up a Kiss and Go. I’m still trying to get volunteers, and there have been some great ones. I’ve also redesigned the parking lot, and after the real engineers make it look pretty, we might get a better parking lot next year.

I’m a person who does not like to be touched other than a handshake or hug from a friend. I find myself lifting little girls out of SUVs and helping kids put their jackets on. Tying shoes, avoiding barking dogs of all sizes, and putting up with dads grumpy at their daughters are all daily occurrences. But I also get thank you’s from the Mom’s who have babies to be worked around, small cars where the kids have to put their back packs in the trunk. They smile and wave when they see me. They wait to cross until I can get the traffic through. We’ve cut traffic delays by about 5 minutes. Cutting parental worries and stress has improved not only drop off, but made the crosswalk safer.

The best Valentine’s day card I got was from one of the itty bitty girls who specifically walked up while I was working, as a thanks. I also compliment the kids on unique features. Crazy hair and socks are my favorite. The little girls with sequined poofy skirts, faux hawks on the boys or the one kid that shows up with two moms in a sports car. They all get to feel welcome. No favorites. Moms and Dads get wished ‘Good mornings’ and smiles. I want them to feel good as they drive away, because it makes me feel better when they worry less.

So, when something bugs you, you can bitch about it, or try to help fix it. But in working every morning, I get to feel better knowing that there is a group of people who want to help. It’s a small thing, but it gets me out of bed every morning and in a good mood.

Just like making presents for others makes you feel anticipation for the joy of giving, volunteering shares that glow. If you don’t like dealing with people, there are always things you can donate. Time, money, or knitting. Neonatal Intensive Care Units usually take donated caps, clothes, blankets and unfortunately burial blankets. Cancer wards can always use chemo caps or prayer shawls. There are some charities trying to get knitting machines and yarn into the poorer countries. Look around. You can reach out and touch someone without saying a word.

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