I have a story to tell that is near and dear to my heart. It is a story I have only told to a few people. It’s about a day that truly made me believe in magic, allowed me to have faith in something bigger than myself, and once again reinforce my belief that we are all connected. Our actions cause ripples and affect the world more than we can imagine. It has been an emotional few days for me in this time of COVID-19. But I find that stories of hope and kindness are what keeps me positive and determined to keep showing up for whatever comes my way. I thought this story might mean something to you as well, so I will do my best to capture what happened on that day, about 15 years ago.
I was a single Mom, with 2 young boys who never seemed to rest. I was doing my best to be a good Mom to my two kids at the time. But I was also coming through a separation and divorce and felt very isolated and alone. I was exhausted. Getting outside is and was crucial to my mental health. It is where I am happiest. One of my favorite things to do was to pack up the kids and head out for a walk. I would try to make this walk last for a long time. For some reason, the hours spent out of the house were easier than the ones spent in the house. The boys would go into the double stroller and we would head up the road which would take us to a path that would connect to a linear park that wound along a creek and past a turtle pond.
We called it the turtle pond because if the sun was out, you would most likely see turtles on the banks of the pond sunning themselves as they love to do. The noise of the cars would quiet, and the sound of the birds would take over. There were dragonflies, a muskrat, ducks, and ducklings in the springtime. It was a magical place. It still is. A perfect spot to allow two young boys to stretch their legs and explore. Okay I am lying. It was a scenic spot for me to walk through on my way to getting myself an afternoon coffee at the coffee shop. Once I had that coffee in hand, we would wander back and play and I would find the strength I needed to get through the rest of the day. I love being a mom, but it is the hardest job I have ever done.
This particular day we were heading back towards home. It was a cloudy, windy day and we had enjoyed some great time in the park. The wind was warm and I thought to myself “what a perfect day, the only thing that would make this even better is if we had a kite to fly”. It was literally the next moment when I looked to my side at the fence that was overgrown with vines. My eyes went to a wooden box on the fence that had a handwritten sign that said:
I had walked past this spot many, many times before and not seen this sign. I was a little stunned. I walked over to the box and opened the lid. Inside were small bundles of what looked like straws and plastic all rolled up with an elastic band around it. I brought out the bundle and unwrapped it. My first thought was “oh, this is never going to fly…” but I gave it a shot anyways. The warm wind was whipping around us. As I unrolled this kite, it literally took off in the wind. I handed the string to my son, and up it went. I grabbed another kite and gave it to my other son. Within two minutes we were flying kites. Now, to my young boys, this just seemed like a normal turn of events. To me, it was something much deeper. I was so moved. And thankful. And happy. Tears of joy. If this wasn’t a sign from the universe, I didn’t know what was. Sometimes the things we need are right around us, but we might miss them if we don’t pay close attention, and slow down. Thinking back on this day can still bring tears to my eyes.
This fence was surrounding a nursing home that looked over the turtle pond. Apparently, there was a resident in the nursing home who used ‘garbage/recycling’ items to create these kites for people walking through the trail. Straws, plastic shopping bags, metallic tea bag packaging and some string. It blew my mind that the design of this kite made from “garbage” was perfectly crafted to fly as a kite. This gesture of kindness meant so much to me. I wanted to make sure this person knew how much their work was appreciated. We went home and made a thank you card, included pictures of my two boys and wrote out the story about how we came to find the kites. The next day we went back and put the letter and pictures into the box where the kites were kept.
We walked that trail many more times over the years. Of course, the kite box disappeared after some time. I knew what that meant. I never walk past that spot without thinking about those darn kites, and the kindness and creativity of the faceless person in my mind who made them. I hope our letter brought some joy to the kite-maker and gave them confirmation that their kindness mattered to us. And it was received with joy and love. Such a great reminder that our words and actions can have an impact on people far beyond what we may realize. I hope this story means as much to you as it does to me.
Stay safe. Spread kindness.