By: Dawn Thompson
I had a dream on Halloween morning. I was driving down a road when all of the sudden a man with a donation bucket came out of nowhere. Dylan was in his booster seat in the back and said, “Mumma, get a dollar!” I didn’t think I had one, but I searched anyway. Feeling hopeful, I turned my car around to head in the direction of the “fundraiser”. As I looked down again to search my purse, I could hear people screaming, “NO!!!!” as I noticed that I had just driven my minivan off the road and over a cliff. All I could think was, “Oh well, here we go. There’s nothing we can do to change it,” and I took a deep breath. I was peaceful. Then, I woke up.
When I awoke, two things crossed my mind: 1. I don’t even own a minivan and 2. I have been struggling the past few days over doing charitable work- or not doing, I should say.
Last Monday evening, I received an email from The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), who I have worked with in the past, asking me to staff their phone lines from 1 to 7pm. My first thought was, “Of course I’ll help.” I mean, why wouldn’t I? Then reality sunk in. My ten year old son home with me all day while school was cancelled and he had tutoring from 3 p.m. till 5 p.m. I realized that it was Halloween- one of Dylan’s favorite holidays! And, I remembered who he was counting on to make his costume from scratch: ME!
Although I usually try to spread things out, Wednesday was a really full day for us.
Then I started thinking, “But THIS is an emergency, something unexpected, a rare occurrence very unlikely to happen again.” After weighing my options in my mind, trying to figure out the right thing to do, I tried to go to bed, but my mind kept racing.
I truly believe that being a part of our community means not only enjoying the circus when it comes to town, but being there to put up or take down tents if needed. It means becoming educated about our community’s needs and resources and being there in times of crisis – ESPECIALLY when called upon.
After I woke up this morning, I pondered on my dream and tried to see if there was an important message in it. After all, I did have a second chance now So, I tried to break it down.
Driving off a cliff seems like an awfully drastic repercussion for something as simple as looking for a dollar bill. So was it more than that? Had I gotten completely off track? Was I failing to pay attention to what lied ahead? Or, was it the addition of an unexpected event to my schedule that lead to my demise?
I know all of these observations may seem ridiculous – especially since it was just a dream! But managing my schedule has been a challenge. Trying to find time to balance my roles as a mom, wife, special needs advocate, a woman business owner and responsible member of our community is a challenge. I recently realized that I need a day planner to keep track of all my responsibilities. Hopefully being more organized will help me better manage life’s unexpected challenges.
I also decided to look into way I can help closer to home. My family spends a ton of time in both Lowell and Boston. We have medical teams, support systems, friends, and family both in the big city and in our hometown.
As I was thinking of HOW I could make any impact today with such a full schedule, I got a text from my landlord. She asked if there was anyway we could give out her candy tonight! Now I know this may seem whimsical – and it is!! It’s Halloween after all Not to mention she recently fell down, hurt both her ankles and can barely walk after work. Giving out candy is important to her – it is a tradition in her house that she would like to keep. Dylan usually gives it our with her, and so he was already planning on it. The kids around here have had quite the week and deserve these special treats. Also, you can’t get much closer to helping out at home as assisting the lady upstairs!
This small thing doesn’t let me off the hook though. What I really wanted to do was post about how YOU, I or a friend CAN make a huge difference in the coming weeks. I encourage you to think about the ways you can make a difference to a friend or to the community. What are your favorite ways to give back? Please leave a comment and let me know!
If you’re in need of some ideas, below are charities that are dedicated to providing disaster relief from “Hurricane Sandy.” As you’ll see, there are many ways you can give of your time, money or resources:
- Please contact Carmine Leighton, Honored to Serve VISTA at 406-224-2731
- American Red Cross Massachusetts 1-800-733-2767
- Community Teamwork Inc. @ comteam.org/donate.htm or by calling 978-459-0551
- Food and toiletries are always welcome at local food pantries, shelters and soup kitchen’s
- Warm clothing, blankets and slippers are always needed at Area veteran’s and nursing homes
- If you are healthy enough to give, blood donations are needed at our specialty Children’s Hospitals in Boston
Surely we all have a little something to offer. Even if it isn’t candy, it still will be sweet!