We have family excitement next week: the wedding of our son to a wonderful woman. The wedding is small and appropriately socially-distanced of course. Even so, the amount of work is astounding. Our days are buzzing with wedding prep.
It is happy, but there’s stress too. My husband and I found ourselves sniping at each other. How could we live through the next week with grace? Should we send each other to time out? Have beer for breakfast? Be awake only when the moon is out?
We decided on a code word: Kindness. If one says “kindness”- it means we need some. The other will stop, take a breath, and apply a hug or other appropriate remedy.
Other kindnesses came flooding back to me.
That time in second grade when reading aloud in front of the class, i wet myself. Stress peeing. The kind teacher whisked me away to the nurse’s office and called Mom to bring me dry panties. I went back to class and nobody said anything at all. I learned later that the teacher had told the class that such a thing could happen to anyone from stress or excitement, and that was that.
When I was a freshman in college and excited to give blood for the first time. When I stood up afterwards, I felt a dizzy and dropped my books. A kind boy from my German class picked them up and walked me back to my dorm. Next year will be our 50th wedding anniversary.
When I was about to take an oral exam for one of the medical boards, and a kind colleague drilled me endlessly on possible questions I might encounter.
Kindness is powerful. The small cost to sow yields an abundant harvest of relief and self esteem. I’m going to double down on spreading kindness- even things as small as leaving an appreciative comment on a great instagram post. Would you do this too?