Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's Those Little Things That You Remember

Thank you so much for your comments yesterday, not only did you make me want to hug you all, it made me want to go out and hug strangers on the street. Though they gave me the strangest looks when I tried it. . . .

Actually, it was a wonderful day yesterday, my sweet sisters treated me to a movie and we saw Julie and Julia which we all thought was A+. I'd really wanted to see this movie but figured I'd have to wait until Mr. Obama decided to send me a ticket as part of his stimulus package but thanks to my sisters I didn't have to wait on a government subsidy. Isn't family great?

Somehow I related in this eerie way to anyone and everything on screen . . . writers longing to write books, women loving the beauty of food, bloggers and meltdowns and the whole package. Great stories and a great movie.

Anyway, I'm just writing a quick few paragraphs today but after dumping on everyone yesterday I thought I'd at least share something that happened last week that was one of the nicer things.

Grace had planned on signing up for a team sport this semester but when faced with a lack of funding I had to tell her that I was really sorry but that we just couldn't afford the fee. She took it well but said she'd heard that if we qualified we could get the fee waived. I wasn't thrilled about the idea of asking for a waiver but figured it was better than the alternative so after calling the school and confirming that yes, we could easily get the fee waived we set out to sign her up.

We were the only ones at the school activities window when I nervously asked the woman how we could sign up and about the fee waiver. She was very helpful and gave me what I needed so we sat down to fill out the registration but as we sat there the place got a little more crowded. By the time we were back at the window to turn things in there were a bunch of people standing right behind us--really close. As I handed her the forms I noticed that it said that to qualify for a fee waiver you'd have to produce proof that you were receiving public assistance.

We weren't--we were just out of work but I kind of sighed when I thought about the people right behind me who were going to get to hear all about the situation and hear her loudly tell us so Grace's fellow students could hear, "I'm sorry, Ma'am, but you've got to prove you're on public assistance before I can waive the fees!" Great.

She grabbed the top sheets. I waited, inwardly cringing, and when she reached for the last page I started to kind of point at the place where it said "public assistance" and let her know that there was a snag. It's funny but it's as if she knew exactly what I was going to say and before I could say anything anyone could overhear she cut me off and said cheerfully, "Oh don't worry, it's fine. You're ready to go, I'll just take that." And it was done.

I know it sounds kind of silly to tell, and I know it was just a small little thing--I suppose I was still a little tender and emotional after the events of the day before--but she'll never know how much I appreciated her taking care of us like that and saving us a minor embarrassment.

Funny how sometimes it's just the small little things that stick with you and mean so much.

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40 comments:

Lori said...

After reading your post yesterday, I wanted to give you a big hug! It's always amazing how you seem to find the upside of things, even if it seems bleak. People are capable of such kindness.

Peruby said...

Wow. That could have been very ugly. My Mom stopped asking for help because they made her feel like crap and were always embarrassing her. With 8 kids and a drunk for a husband I really don't know how she did it.

Colleen said...

Thanks for sharing your life with us! You seem like a very strong person and I know you will get through this and be even stronger!

Mom24 said...

That's wonderful. Exactly how it should have been. I'm glad you were treated with the kindness and respect you deserve.

Amy said...

What a wonderful story. And by the way, telling the world about the layoff is not whining or complaining - not the way you tell it. It's a fact, and I think it's an important thing to share. It's part of what your family is going through. You are so obviously not looking for pity. And you have none from me. What you have are my best wishes. You'll find a way through it. Keep A' Goin'.

Laura Moffitt said...

Oh I am sorry, but I am so happy that you came across a kind and compassionate person. I am similar to you and probably wouldn't of had the courage to do that. Money has always been an embrassing stress to me in EVERY situation. I will pray for you and your family.

SarahHub said...

Oh, this makes my heart hurt. I'm sure she understood what you're going through, and helped make it a bit easier...

Amanda said...

She will have good karma come her way - it's nice to know there are still people with heart out there!

Roo said...

I'm glad she was someone that understands that not everything needs to be a big production or broadcast. I'm also glad that Grace doesn't have to lose out because of another unnecessary fee.

Karen said...

Sounds like that office worker is a gem!

Stephanie said...

The hidden blessings have only just begun. Have a wonderful day.

Fiauna said...

I suppose it was just what you needed, right when you needed. I know things will get better. (((hugs)))

Amateur Steph said...

One of the reasons I subscribed to your blog was your sunny outlook on life and motherhood. Your attitude is wonderful and I love reading about it. Good luck to you and your family in this rough time.

Heart2Heart said...

Michelle,

We have been at that road and have had to ask for state funding to help get us through those super tough times. I guess I understand the embarrassment as I never wanted to ever tell anyone we were on state aid but then again it helped get us from point a to point b and in the process allowed us to get to see what really works for the system and what doesn't.

There have been so many of our friends that have been out of work due to this economy and their ability to bounce back right away or faster than they had thought, we could help out by explaining some options from the state that could benefit from to help them as well.

I think during this period, people need the help of others because it just seems like our newly elected leaders will never know the struggles we face or may have to face in the future. Once elected and have served they will continue to reach that salary for the remainder of life.

How is that possible? I believe that once you complete your term you get the same thing all of us get, NOTHING.

Perhaps just changing that one thing about all government employees and state senators or representatives would make them more likely to push for things that would benefit people now in that situation of being out of work and not being able to find a job.

I mean no wonder once this people serve their term and leave, they retire or speak for the public for a fee but it doesn't really hurt them where it should. Perhaps that one thing alone would stimulate this economy because I would like to know just where does our government get the money to pay these people their salaries long after they have completed their job.

Heck if that worked for us, Andrew and my hubby would just do something for fun while still collecting a check and you know, enjoy life again?

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Tales From the Land of Motherhood said...

What a wonderful daughter that you have and the office personnel was a angel in disguise. You are in my prayers.

mannequin said...

One small small gesture can make the world of difference. There's something to be learned from every situation. Just reading your story has made me think about humility and "but for the grace of God, go I"

I know it's difficult but if we can just remember this, even in good times, we've learned a valuable lesson.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

We had the fee waived for an after school thing for Maya last year, just by telling them that my husband was out of work. I love people sometimes.

Heather said...

That's great that she was so helpful and pleasant. Definitely a rarity these days.

Chrissy Johnson said...

Ah, that's no small thing, sweetie! That's providence. I love it. Keep these little slices coming...

Anonymous said...

This is a sensitive subject for my family and I. My husband has a job that I'm sure doesn't compare to the salary your husband made as an attorney. ( I recall reading in past posts you mentioning he was an attorney). Also, not to long ago you mentioned how your husband and you were planning a trip to India. The picture I was getting from you and your family was one that you were frugal w/your money and that your family spent and invested money wisely. I also thought that your family would have plenty in savings for rainy days. To accept the assistance in not having to pay for your daughters sports fee simply because your husband lost his job is really quite dishonest. What about the families that really cannot afford it?? That barely have money in savings and are scraping by due to not having a good job and not being able to attend college. Their kids would also like to play and really cannot afford it. My kid was turned down in signing up for a sport even though we were trying to get assistance to help with the fee because we were told too many kids had already come forward that needed assistance. How many of these families REALLY needed the assistance. A family that had remodeling done to their home, is going to India surely must have money in savings but just doesn't want to pay for the sports fee. I am sorry to hear about your husband losing his job but could you really not afford the fee or did you simply not want to pull it out of savings??

Scribbit said...

Ouch.

gretchen from lifenut said...

I am so sorry, Michelle. We've been through job loss in the past. It was a hard time in our lives, but my husband found a job in the end that was much better than the job he lost.

You and your family are in my thoughts. I think there is a true sense of shock and mourning over the loss of a job and what it represents. It's scary.

Thank God for positive people in your life. They will see you through. I'm glad you got to see a movie.

I'm also glad the fees were waived/reduced. Nobody can truly walk in your shoes.

Don't let ANYBODY bring you down.

imadramamama said...

I still remember when my dad was out of work over 25 years ago...and it is indeed the little things that I remember, too!

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

You know, that's so true. I wrote a post recently about a little kindness going a long way, and yours is a great reminder too. Oh that we would ALL remember that and treat everyone with the kindness that that woman did you.

Andrea said...

That's a great story. My husband was out of work for a year, and it was little kindnesses like that that really made a difference to us.

Marielle said...

It's amazing how treating each other with dignity no matter the circumstances reframes a situation.

I'm sorry about your husband losing his job. It's something that can happen to any of us and I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.

Flea said...

God's taking care of the little things, girl. How could He not take care of the big ones?

Carrie said...

Oh, how sweet of her. That is so nice.

I've had to really get over my pride about receiving public assistance in the last few years - my hubby & I are in ministry & make next to nothing, and I've had to come to terms with the fact that two of the ways God provides for us are through free state health insurance and the WIC grocery program. This is something that is not overly acceptable to my family, so I still get embarrassed sometimes when I'm trying to use my WIC checks at the store & someone has to loudly announce the situation.

Daisy said...

My son was covered by medical assistance when he was a baby - under SSI for disabled children. I was treated very rudely by a pharmacy tech who presumed I was a Welfare Mama. Whether I received welfare or not (and she did not need to know!), she was out of line.

ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

I'm sorry you're going through such a difficult time, but glad you are experiencing the kindness of strangers. What a sweet and understanding woman. For what it's worth, too, I know MANY people who have been laid off and unemployed this year and I don't think I know anyone who thinks worse of anyone who's in that situation - I guess I'm trying to say that in this economy, I don't know anyone who thinks that someone who's unemployed did anything wrong to deserve to be in that situation, if that makes sense. I pray that this will be a brief and temporary circumstance for you!

Melissa said...

Those small things can mean the most. What a great reminder that God cares us about and all of the details, and gives us comfort even in the hard times!

Anonymous said...

This made me smile. Thanks for sharing :)

Alice Wills Gold said...

I don't know why this post is making me bawl, but I love a woman saved a little girl and her mom from any kind of humiliation.

I am just catching up on blogs. Haven't read the post about being out of work yet. I am so sorry.

I totally know what you are talking about here. We just had to do the same thing and NOT sign our kids up for soccer this season. We have work, but things are really tight in the self employed world right now.

I need some sisters to take me to the movies.

Ina in Alaska said...

Anonymous who are you to judge anyone! That was extremely rude. Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I'm going to disagree with the anonymous commenter here, because the thing about unemployment is that you do not know how long it will last. You don't know if it will be 2 weeks or 2 years. So you have to plan for it to be 2 years. So I say, take any help you can get. If you can't get the help, then don't send your child. If the competition for assistance were fierce at the program, they would have told you so, and the requirements would have been that you need to be on financial assistance. Because they didn't require it, there is not as much need, I'm sure.

To me, this is what being a caring, giving society is about. Not just being there for each other when times are good, but helping each other as well when times are not. Be that through government programs like Unemployment or Welfare, or church programs, or private programs, like the hospital in Anchorage that forgave my mom's debts because she would not have been able to pay them. This is loving thy neighbor.

ArtisticInkspirations said...

Small blessings, are still that.. Blessings. May you have many more. There are lots of people out of work.. my son lost his business, and several houses he was renovating to make money.. so lost quite a bit.. but he was able to find more work, and his wife had to work a wierd night shift just to keep their home and put food on the table. Things do work out.. if we just trust and believe, in ourselves, and some of the good people out there. Don't wait on the govt.. I really don't think any "stimulus" is going to stimulate anything , except pockets of those who really don't need it.

Laurie said...

Best wishes and hugs! My roomie in New Orleans is out of work for some time, and she is getting near to applying for government assistance out of necessity. And a dear friend receives state medical help that is very cheap.Both are struggling with the fact that they need help. I am glad you came across a kind and discreet person to help you with Grace's situation.

chelle said...

geez I am so sorry to read of your family's situation at this time.

So sending positive vibes your way. This may just become an amazing opportunity ... Hang in there :)

Michemily said...

Way for that lady to handle it so well.

Stephanie said...

Isn't it great when people stop to consider how other people are feeling? Our world would be a much better place if everyone did that.