Today is Avett’s 3rd birthday. I remember the day he was born clearer than I remember any day I’ve lived. I don’t tell my kids this, but the day Avett was born was the best day of my life. Avett was the biggest surprise. The kindest gift God could have given me after years of heartache.
But aren’t surprises the best. Like real surprises?
Earlier in the week, I told Eloise that we would get donuts for Avett’s birthday from our favorite local donut place. I forgot about it, but being a donut lover- she did not and promptly reminded me when she woke up. We weren’t running late today, but we weren’t early either. Amanda told me that 2 of her 4 kids were sick, so I offered to take the two who were well to The Donut House with us. I wouldn’t have offered if they were all going to school because taking 7 kids into a 400 square foot donut store that usually has a line of people 6-12 deep is a recipe for a really bad start to the day. Anyway, I picked up two Purvis’s and we made our way to get some donuts.
Once inside, I told the kids we would have to get our donuts to go because we wouldn’t have time to sit there. We waited about 7 minutes in line and while the kids certainly didn’t misbehave, the combined force of 5 kids under 10 waiting to get donuts is not a force to reckon with. They were sitting (read: laying/bouncing lightly) on the available comfy chairs, reading books (out loud) and semi-loudly discussing whatever it is that kids age 3-10 discuss. My only correction to them was to Avett to speak a little quieter (since he was essentially yelling to Noah about fish). Overall, I was happy with how they were acting and I only felt a little self-conscious because I know some people (and maybe one of the 9 people in line behind us in the 400 square foot waiting area) think kids should not make any noise or move around at all. But I decided in the few minutes we were there that if someone didn’t like it, it was going to have to be too bad for them.
Anyway, when it was finally our turn, I called all the kids to the donut viewing window and said, “Avett picks first since it’s his birthday!” The donut man said, “His is on the house since it’s his birthday!” (Side note- always announce your birthday because it gets you free stuff!). We each ordered our favorite and went to pay. But the guy behind me quietly stepped up and said, “I’ve got this. I’ll get your donuts.” I almost started crying and thanked him profusely. “Wow! Thanks!!” I said and started to gather up the kids to head out. As we walked through the door, I thought of the 10 lepers healed and how only one went back to say, “thanks!” and I asked Vaughn if he would run back in and thank the guy again.
The whole way to school I talked to the kids about that man’s kindness. My arms felt all goose-bumpy and an hour later I still have a lump in my throat. I didn’t need that man to buy our donuts, but I love that he did. His extension of kindness is leading me today. It’s been a long time since a stranger blessed me and if I think about it, it’s been a while since I blessed a stranger. Today is the day, though. A day full of surprises and kindness. I’m glad for the reminder to spread my share of kindness around because however long it takes to make it’s way around the world, it always comes back and there is always enough to give away.