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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Act of Kindness #10: Precious Time

As a child, all I ever wanted was more time.  More hours to play outside.  More minutes to watch cartoons.  More seconds before curfew. More moments to day dream.  More days in my summer. More time to enjoy life.  

I learned very early on, that time is precious.  It is not something that we can get back once it has been spent.  Time moves slowly when we want it to move fast, and once it starts moving, we want it to slow down.  I've wished a lot of my life away.  Too many moments, I have spent regretting...wishing for another chance. 

When I became a mother, I was even more aware of how valuable time is.  Needing a minute to brush my teeth.  Wanting a moment to shower in solitude.  Desiring just one more hour of sleep.  Pondering if I should spend my time cleaning, napping, or eating.  Wishing that there was a way to do all three at once, so I could have some extra time.  Contemplating if there is some magic way to get time back.

These thoughts led me to my next Act of Kindness.  I was going to find a way to give time back to someone.  I was not sure how I was going to accomplish this act, but I was determined to make it happen, and I wanted to make sure that I gave time back to a person who sincerely deserved it.  A person who is selfless.  Someone who sacrifices his or her time  regulary to show kindness to others.  An indivual who never complains about the lack of time he or she has for himself/herself.

This may seem like an impossible task.  However, I am lucky.  I have been blessed with some amazing, quality people in my life.  One of these people is my best friend, Nikki.  If you know Nikki, then you are fully aware that she is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.  Her quirky sense of humor, her down-to-earth personality, her adventurous spirit, and her compassionate nature are just a few of the things that I love about her.
Nikki has been my best friend for over sixteen years now, and I cannot think of a time when she has not been there for me.  Nikki puts others before herself.  She gives her time and energy to those who need it, and she never complains, even when times get tough.  
In fact, Nikki has been present at the birth of both my daughters and she has never missed one of their birthdays.  Believe me, waiting on a c-section and attending two year old birthday parties aren't the most riveting things one could be doing with her time, but Nikki is always there.  The fact that she gives her time to not only me, but to my daughters means so much to me as a mother.  

As a new mother, I know how precious Nikki's time is, so I knew that she was the person I wanted to give time back to...but how?

The idea hit me the other night as I was preparing dinner.  I told Laila that I wanted everything to be ready by six o'clock.  Of course, Ceci had a meltdown.  I had a phone call.  Laila needed help getting gum out of her hair, and by the time six o'clock hit, I was nowhere near done with dinner.  I looked at Laila, and I said, "Where did the time go?"  Laila shrugged and said, "I didn't know you can lose time."

"Oh you can," I think to myself..."you can lose time, along with your keys, your wallet, your sanity, your youth..."
My thoughts are interrupted when Laila inqusitively asks, "When do YOU lose time the most, mom?"
I don't have a response, but I do know that food planning and preparation can take up a lot of my time.  Time that I would rather spend playing with my girls, laughing with my husband, talking to my mom...
I decided that I would give Nikki time back by taking one item off of the laundry list of responisbilites moms have.  I would make her family dinner.
Laila and I decided that since the weather had been cold, we would make something warm and filling for Nikki and her family.  We discussed multiple ideas, and then Laila mentioned chicken and dumplings.  If you want to talk about a dish that can be time consuming...chicken and dumplings most certainly are.  I try to avoid time consuming recipes at all cost.  I'm more of a five ingredient, ten minute girl myself.  But, for someone like Nikki, who gives so much of her time to others, I didn't mind spending my Saturday afternoon preparing dumplings.

As we drove to Nikki's house to give her her surprise meal, I got teary eyed.  Laila asked me why I was crying.  "It just feels nice to give back to someone who has given so much to me throughout my life," I say.  
Laila smiles.  

"What has she given you," Laila asks. 

"Well, she has given me her friendship for 16 years.  Friendship is really important, because life is a lot more enjoyable when you have good friends.  Nikki has given me support and a shoulder to cry on when I've been sad.  When really good things happen in my life, like you being born, she is always there to celebrate with me.  She believed in me when I didn't believe in myself, and she pushed me to pursue my dreams.  She went shopping with me and sledding with me and had slumber parties with me..."

At this point, Laila interupts me, "So, she pretty much gave you a lot of time?"

"Yep, she gave me a lot of her time,"  I say with a smile.

The rest of the ride is quiet.  I think back on all of the awesome memories I have from our friendship.  Precious moments in time that I am lucky to have experienced.  Beautiful times that I would have never had if it weren't for Nikki.

I'm pretty sure there is no greater gift a person can give another than time.  Thank you, Nikki.

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