Earlier today, the kids and I got caught in a gully washer. It was a doozy. We were trapped with several other families under a very tiny canopy at the playground after school. The longer it rained, the closer we huddled as the wind was blowing the rain in sideways and the concrete pad was starting to flood. Charlie was actually running around unapologetically and stomping in the mud puddles (as all five-year-old boys must do). The baby was a little unsure of the booms of thunder and cracks of lightning. She climbed up my side like a young koala bear and buried her head in between my neck and chin. Before long, she was fast asleep and I was toting around a thirty pound marsupial. Since most of us had walked to school, we were not too keen on trekking back through the deluge. We joked that it would be nice if a boat came along and rescued us. When the rain let up enough for us to see between the drops, we all set out for home. We were soggy. If you know me, you know that my hair and moisture have a the opposite of a symbiotic relationship. It is well established that my nickname among my family is “Chicken Head”. Endearing, no? Needless to say, once my hair dried a bit, it was full on chicken. The good news is that I had a hair appointment scheduled for this evening.
I so look forward to my hair appointments. It’s not because they always get it right or that I come home looking like a movie star, but while I’m there, I relax. I drink herbal tea. I listen to meditative music. I go on a “sensory journey” while getting my scalp massaged. I drink more herbal tea. I might just get a little spoiled. It’s really one of the few scheduled parts of my life that is all about me. And though I enjoy it, I always feel a smidge selfish about my indulgence. I was having that exact thought when I opened my eyes after the final rinse and saw the boats. There were dozens of little paper boats decorating the walls of the salon. Each boat had a name written on it. It looked like a fundraiser. I was happy to find an opportunity to practice kindness in the midst of my decadent hour. I inquired.
Ah, yes, the Dragon Boat Festival. I’d heard of it. According to the website, which summarizes it better than I could:
“The Dragon Boat Upstate Festival, now in its sixth year, has raised over $500,000 to date in support of local families and hosts more than 1,500 visitors and team members during the annual event. Paddlers, volunteers and supporters enjoy a day at the lake while supporting cancer research, rehabilitation and other cancer services at the Greenville Hospital System Cancer Center.”
The salon is participating this year and is raising funds for their dragon boat. They had me at cancer. The Children’s Cancer Center of Greenville Hospital System healed my baby girl and her parents along the way. We owe the staff, the facility, and the technology, well, everything. I would swim across the same lake to raise money for this particular cause. (In fact, I came home and looked up the website right away. I just might sign up to be a paddler on one of the teams still in the organizing stages.) I gave my donation with a happy heart. Go GHS! Heal all the babies you can (and the mamas and daddys and uncles and grandpas and everyone affected by this bully of a disease).
As I pulled out my wallet to pay, I remembered what I had wished for earlier today – a boat to rescue us. Huh.