A mitzvah from a mensch: Acknowledging another

This week, my kids had an overlapping choir dress rehearsal and baseball game and my husband was down with the flu. When an email arrived from another choir mom who was looking to carpool to the choir rehearsal I was thrilled to make the arrangements. Our girls would each have to wait a half an hour since their rehearsal times didn’t completely align but we both decided that was fine. With the arrangements finalized we met up so my daughter could ride to the rehearsal. Rather than drop my son off at home, I invited him to “drive along” for the quick pick up of the two girls to save some time after his game. We arrived at our appointed pick up time and proceeded to wait almost an hour since the rehearsal ran very long. I treated my kids to ice cream in appreciation for their patience when we were finally finished.

The next day, with the delayed rehearsal already a memory, I received a phone call from the other mom apologizing profusely that I’d had to wait so long to take her daughter home. She was sorry for any inconvenience I had experienced and really wanted to express her apologizes. She had no idea or control over what time the rehearsal ended or that it would go so long that evening. But she did know that I’d had to wait on her daughter’s behalf and she acknowledged that inconvenience. What a mensch (it means a good person). Others might not have placed that phone call at all. Even though she couldn’t control the situation she wanted to acknowledge her appreciation for my patience. That acknowledgement was meaningful and I was touched by the phone call.


Carpool Mitzvahs Received

As any parent knows, driving your children to their activities can really take it’s toll. I literally feel some days that when that school bell rings at 3:05pm I am shlepping one or the other of my children for nearly the next four hours. I am new to this carpool game having held off for years on the multiple day commitment for activities, preferring to let my kids just choose one activity each so the shlepping wouldn’t get out of control. This year it seemed unlikely for that to continue, especially  if they were to continue to participate in their Hebrew school lessons and atleast one physical activity each. So this year has become a bit of a logistical carpool checker game.

However, help arrived recently from two different sources. Two parents heading near my house on the way to school  and from Hebrew school both offered to drive my daughter this year. The catch in both of these situations is that neither have expected me to reciprocate. One even said, “No big deal, just pay it forward.”

It’s been remarkably hard for me to simply accept these two offers even though I know I’ve done my share of offering and shlepping other kids over the years. Both of these offers have helped ease the burden, but have also made me feel  like I am taking advantage of someone’s generosity. This different prospective though is a good one to acknowledge. Throughout our lives we will sometimes be the giver and sometimes the receiver and both are important and worthy of conscious gratitude.  I am aware right now that the best thing I can do is be grateful and appreciative rather than trying to give back to this same person. Remembering this has been a good lesson for me.