Project Kindness (Day 27)

When I think about middle school, I cringe. Too many hormones, too many changes, too many algebra equations. When I think about the year before middle school, I smile. I had the best friend a girl could have in the fifth grade.

I would not have made it through the fifth grade without Katie and Judy Blume. I have vivid memories of lip synching both Uptown Girl and Material Girl at her house during our up-all-night slumber parties. I remember reading the borderline-scandalous-for-young-adolescents book Forever alongside her and then having to ask her poor mother some rather awkward questions for clarification. I remember co-writing a play, a musical in fact, with her. We even held auditions among our classmates during recess which, looking back on it , may have been a bit over the top. Hey, we were artists. I think the production was about coming together as a community to save endangered animals. The only character I can remember by name was Edna the Eagle, but she sang her heart out. I recall the chorus going something like this, “Please save the animals, please save the animals, please save the animals and you’ll be happy, too! Like me!” It was the sleeper of the year. Katie was there for me during all my “Are you there God? It’s me Margaret” stages. I’m pretty sure it was Katie who convinced me that I was not dying but, instead, becoming a young woman. Thank you, Katie.

Well, now we’re all grown up and our kids are beginning to explore this great big ol’ world, too. Katie’s son, Elijah, was recently nominated to represent his school and community at the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington this summer. He is raising money through this great website, microgiving, that will help him reach his financial goal to attend the conference. My act of kindness today was to give a modest donation toward his effort. As always, I wish I could give more. When I grow up, I would love to run a foundation that distributes money to all deserving charities in my own backyard. Maybe Elijah can figure out how to make that happen. I think he says it best on his site. “This conference could be the thing that makes the difference and helps me to learn how I can become great and do good things for my community.” Hear, hear, young man! Hear, hear!

P.S. Here are some of my favorite answers he provided on his public questionnaire. How could I not like this kid?!

What characteristics do you think you’ve inherited from your parents? To care for other people
If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it? Give it to people who need it
Hobbies and Talents :  I play mandolin. I also play saxophone in my middle school band. I’ve been on the honor roll every year since kindergarten.
List achievements and any future educational plans : I hope to go to college and one day work with animals.
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5 thoughts on “Project Kindness (Day 27)

  1. I so love you for writing about this! It touched my heart, and our special memories have outlasted all the years between us! I do recall Suzy the Seal being in the play as well. Ironically, I have relayed that story about that play to my children often enough that they can sing the song. 😉 Love you, always.

    • Suzy the Seal! How could I forget?! It pleases my soul to know that you have grown up to be a real live poet. What else could you be? XOXO.

  2. Erin, I think I was one of the people that audtioned for your play. It is so ironic that I was JUST thinking about this play a few days ago and Edna was the only character name that I could come up with at the time, as well. If you can remember my role, please jog my memory. Do you also remember one of the most exciting times we had at practice on the gym stage when we thought there was a man with black boots in the shower stall?! We were totally convinced that we saw those black boots! Or, maybe you and Katie were just playing a trick on me, now that I think of it. I was extremely gulliable at that age! Ahhhh, the joys of youth. I also remember being competitive with you in classroom writing contests at that age……and, okay, I admit it…you’re the better writer, hands down! I enjoy reading your blog 🙂 Hello to Katie and best of luck to Elijah, who sounds as clever as his Mama!

    • Oh, I must have been super obnoxious in the fifth grade. (Please forgive me.) I do not remember the black boots, but that sounds very exciting! =) If I remember correctly, I think you were the famous Edna! Too bad we didn’t have iPhones to document such treasures back then. We must rely on our pieced-together memories instead. On second thought, maybe that’s ultimately better. Have I mentioned that you have my dream job? Would love to go back and rethink my career now. Thanks for the comment. It was kind of you to take the time!

      • I thought YOU were Edna, for sure, but that memory is pretty fuzzy.
        I think that you mentioned in the past on Facebook that you liked my career choice. I feel extremely lucky everyday to have found a path that led me to my true calling, im my opinion. Thanks for reminding me. But, it is moms like you, out in the community, that know and love nursing their baby, that can help other moms the most. I always embaress (sp?) my husband by sharing how great nursing is (AFTER the first few intense weeks, in most cases) every chance that I get with strangers that I meet. I figure that for every positive story that mom hears of mine, she probably hears three negative ones. That is unfortunate. So, keep spreading the word and lending a hand to all the moms that you can… as I’m sure that you do already!

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