2014 seems to have been kicking off all week long. Addison and I had successfully collected and distributed donations with the generous giving of others to the Hurricane Sandy effort via her last birthday and this year our goal was to support a local organization helping the homeless. After some searching online, I came across Open Door Mission and a list of items they were in need of and I knew this was something we could assist with. As we did last year, we included a "need" list on the back of Addison's birthday invitations and I was not surprised when my dear circle of friends attended the party with donations in hand :) I was so grateful to see everything from containers of dish soap to large bags FULL of wrapped gifts for children and adults. Once again, we were blessed with the opportunity to show our children the power of giving.
I was fortunate to have our good friends, Kelly and Alyssa, with us to drop off items. God dropped Kelly on me in the beginning of 2013 as our girls attended dance class together. We've since become best friends and to share in this experience with Kel and Alyssa was priceless. Upon our arrival, we were met by very sweet and helpful staff. We were offered a tour which we knew would be perfect for the girls to see where all of their donations were headed. We were shown a room where gifts and clothes were set up like a sweet boutique where those in need to come select what they needed/wanted. The girls were thrilled and dove right into helping us bring our donations in.
In the days that followed, Addison and I have spent her holiday break reading the always entertaining stories of Frog and Toad as well as the simple and nostalgic tales of Cynthia Rylant's Cobble Street cousins and having conversations about everything under the sun! We read a children's book about Ruby Bridges that spoke volumes to Addison AND myself. The book displayed Bridges difficult but powerful experience of attending school daily while people gathered in often violent protests against the young girl each day. The book ended with her prayer for those who were against her. What a wonderful reminder to close off the year - to have empathy for others always, no matter their wrongs because we always have a choice to be bitter and angry and hateful and resentful or to forgive and pray for others.
And today - New Years' Eve (well, it is now 1:22am and very much so New Year's early morning hours :)). It was a bummer knowing Micah would be at work tonight but Addison really stuck to her guns. I gave her some Kool-Aid which was a SUPER treat as we usually steer clear of the sugary substance and garnished her fancy glass with leftover blue sugar crystal sprinkles from Christmas cookies. She had a ball simply giving cheers. We danced, we snacked, we read books in between and she really stuck it out until midnight. We had our noisemakers and confetti ready and we did it right after a comforting facetime session with daddy. As I continue to pull confetti from my shirt and hair while typing, I am thinking of how Addison may not really remember tonight a year from now but I will. I don't think she stayed up this late last year and the years before that she wasn't old enough to get it but we had a genuinely fun end of year day today and I'm still smiling.