My days seem to fly past so quickly that by the time I lay my head down at night I can’t remember what I had for breakfast that morning. Pretty scary since I always eat the same thing for breakfast.
When my life gets moving hurriedly, two things happen: 1) I worry my children will have to sleep at the gym because I’ll forget to pick them up from basketball practice, and 2) my focus on kindness becomes blurry.
The good news is my husband usually remembers we have three children, and he’s pretty good at counting them as he tucks each one in at night. I’ve been late to pick my kids up from school and extracurricular activities once or twice (or three times), but I have yet to completely lose one. I’d say that’s a win during the hectic holiday season!
It’s losing my eye for kindness that really scares me.
I need kindness to breathe. It’s what lifts my spirit when I’m feeling depressed, paints my life with an array of spectacular colors and reroutes my day when an unfortunate detour drives it off course.
The other day I was showered with acts of kindness, and I was moving so quickly I almost missed them. Luckily, I had my phone with me.
I ran to the diner to grab breakfast with a dear friend before we headed to the elementary school to help with a holiday craft fair.
I ordered a bowl of fruit, but what I got from my creative and thoughtful server, Lisa, was a dolphin. It wasn’t a real dolphin, of course. That would have been strange and unfortunate. Lisa had expertly re-created something in the kitchen that you would only see on Pinterest. The stem of a banana was cut just enough to fit a grape, then she drew smiling little eyes on the peel, so it looked like a dolphin holding a ball, staring up at me. It was so cute and so kind, I had to take a picture.
At the holiday craft fair, I got to help a friend’s kindergarten daughter pick out presents for her family. I had so much fun, I just had to text a picture to the mom to remind her how adorable her daughter is, just in case she had forgotten in the two hours since she had dropped her off.
When I picked up my kids from school that afternoon, Charlie, my 10-year-old, came bounding into the minivan with a big, black bag and a huge grin on his face. He had gotten me a present at the craft fair and absolutely refused to wait until Christmas to see me open it. He had spent every penny that he brought to school that day (to buy presents for all of us) on a wreath, just for his momma. It was such a special moment, I had to take a picture.
That night, when I was looking at my phone, I was struck by how much kindness had filled my day. I had already forgotten Lisa and her dolphin fruit bowl from 10 hours earlier until I saw the picture, but when I looked at that photo, it warmed my heart all over again. Same for all the other moments I had captured on my phone.
I didn’t set out to journal a day’s worth of kindness, but I unintentionally did. And it turned a good day into a great day. Maybe my trick will work for you, too. Kindness is all around us, but sometimes we move too fast to see it. If you can’t slow down or delete something from your to-do list, maybe capturing a moment or two on your phone will remind you it was a day worthy of remembering.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her column runs every Saturday. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.