Linking up with
When Biz and I realized we would have some rare alone time together while his brother attended a birthday celebration this weekend, he suggested we go to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. He didn’t have to twist my arm for that trip since we have a membership, and the fall flowers are gorgeous.
It’s one of our favorite places to visit and, really, how could you not want to go out and show off a fall outfit like this?
We went straight for the children’s garden so Biz could throw some lobster traps into the water and walk across the rope bridge on the tree house. We then walked to the various bodies of water in the sprawling gardens to search for frogs. We found many, many frogs.
When it was time to leave, I took Biz into the ladies’ room with me because he’s 5, and I’m just not comfortable leaving him out in a lobby alone just yet. No one was in the bathroom when we first walked in, but three women came in soon after us. The following is what happened during this innocent trip to the women’s restroom.
Biz (busting through each bathroom stall, loudly): Where are the stand up toilets, Mom?!
Me (thankful no one was actually in the stalls at that time): There aren’t any urinals in the ladies’ room, Honey.
Biz (utterly disappointed and attempting to choose a toilet to use): FINE.
Me (waiting patiently until his chooses a stall, as there are now other women in the ladies’s room): I’m 2 stalls down from you, if you need me.
*A few minutes pass and I’m now washing my hands at the sink. I hear the sound of clanking metal behind me.*
Biz: Mommy, do you have change?
Me (turning my head to see that he’s now at the tampon dispenser): No, I don’t have change. Definitely don’t have change.
Biz: Please, Mommy? Are you sure? I want a prize.
Me: I don’t have any change, and those aren’t prizes.
Biz: Yes they are. You put the change here and turn it….What are they then?
Woman in the bathroom (turning the corner to see Biz and laughing): Yeah, Mom. What are those?
Me (attempting to answer with a straight face): It’s not a prize machine, Biz. Those are for ladies.
Biz (still messing with the coin dispenser): Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? What’s in this thing?
Me: Things that ladies use and boys do not.
At this point, three women are practically in tears laughing, and Biz continues to ask why he can’t have what’s in the dispenser. I lure him over to the sink to wash his hands. He tells me that he doesn’t need to because he never took his gloves off.
Next time, I’m just going to hold it.
p.s. If you like stories like this, you’ll love The Mother of All Meltdowns
Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer.
“The lady that likes me is here today!”
Biz recognized the car in the parking lot. He was referring to one of the volunteers we had come to know through the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. We volunteered regularly last school year to help pack bags with food so that kids in our area would have enough nourishment during the weekends.
The woman he was referring to laughed at his jokes and treated him just like any other volunteer, though (at 5 years old) he was often the youngest there.
I had originally started volunteering to fulfill my own desire to help out locally. It was on the suggestion of my then-husband that I signed up. Little did I know that I would start taking my boys with me by necessity when my husband was no longer living with us and that we would find solace in an assembly line with other caring people on those Tuesday evenings.
Last school year we were close enough to walk to the MCHPP’s office to volunteer. This year, we are just far enough away to have to drive.
I pulled in and felt at home. I recognized cars and people. The place was bustling with activity. A local reporter with a camera observed and asked questions as we prepared for our assembly line to fill bags with food for local school kids.
It was like summer vacation never happened. G, who is always a hard worker, didn’t skip a beat. He asked Jamie, our fearless leader, where he wanted him and went to work. I am confident that if Jamie were late and the room were filled with first-time volunteers, G would be able to organize everyone so that we could fill the more than 200 bags in record time. (We did it in less than one hour once.)
Volunteering can feel like a burden sometimes. We have busy lives. Time is precious. But when you find a good fit, where you can work alongside good souls and feel fulfilled from the work you are doing, it’s truly magical. My boys look forward to our volunteering time, and they understand we are doing it to help their peers.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
Read more about the backpack program I volunteer for with my boys: Backpacks bridge the gap: Brunswick-based program eases students’ weekend hunger (via The Forecaster).