Call In Your Battle Bunnies

Every soldier has a battle buddy. They don’t go it alone. That’s also a good idea when you volunteer for an Easter/military kids project that turns out to be bigger than you expected.

My heart said yes

I was busy at work and home when I saw the request to send Easter baskets to kids of deployed troops. My heart said “awwww” and I signed up to take one family. I figured I could swing that. My little Sofia was 5-yrs-old and would “help.” Then I got the info and it turns out the family had five children. At that point, I should’ve asked a friend to join in. Having another mom and child do it with us would make it easier. Also, the more love that goes into something, the better. But I had to do this myself. You know why? Me neither.

Mistake #2

I let Sofia pick out ALL of the contents. I didn’t have names of the children but I had genders and ages. In my daughter’s mind, she KNEW them and knew exactly what they would like. I was touched that she wanted to look out for these kids who were missing their dad. In fact, I was so mushed out that I didn’t have the backbone to say no to anything. We wound up with heavy baskets.

Mistake #3

This is actually a repeat of my first mistake- thinking I have to do everything on my own. After Sofia and I made the baskets, we had to get them to the shipping store. I live in Manhattan and do not own a car. The shipping store was both too far to be convenient and too close to take a cab. I could’ve called my friend with the double-stroller and it would’ve been easy. Instead, I did this:

I got two large black garbage bags and put 3 baskets in one and 2 in the other. Because of the irregular shape, the only way I could carry them is with my arms straight out to the sides. If you met me, you’d see how petite my arms are. So I’d walk 15 feet then put the bags down for a second. Then walk 15 feet and put the bags down again. Picture this on a New York City street. I looked like I had an odd attachment to my garbage and that I was taking it out for a walk with my daughter. Hip and cool. That’s me.

filling easter baskets

Sofia, in her Little Mermaid phase, filling the baskets.

packed Easter baskets

Five finished baskets

 The good news…

Despite my production mishaps, the good news was that five kids and their mom had a nice surprise that Easter. It meant a lot to Sofia to do something kind for these children. And a deployed soldier knew that complete strangers cared about his family. That’s what matters most. A bonus lesson for me was realizing how ridiculous it is not to ask for help. People are kind, my friends are awesome, and others will be there for you if you let them. But you have to ask. In this case, I should’ve called in my battle bunnies. After all, no matter what the situation, we’re stronger when we’re in it together.

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© Gina left the mall, 2013

 

20 thoughts on “Call In Your Battle Bunnies

  1. Awesome Gina! That family will always remember this Easter.

    And thanks too for the laugh. I can just picture you dragging those garbage bags. What a memory for you and Sofia.

    And I agree, what is it with us that makes us think we have to do it all? I just made 120 Mother’s Day cards to send to a company of soldiers who I support and did it by myself although I KNEW that if I asked my friends and threw a card making party they would participate. I just hate to ask.

    • Lol…I would totally attend that party! And my friends would’ve been happy to help me. I just hate to ask too. I don’t want to burden or inconvenience anyone. I’m also more comfortable doing things for others than asking for help myself.
      You know why we think we have to do it all? Me neither. 🙂

  2. Great post! It shows that supporting and contributing to a deployed service member isn’t always about sending coffee and beef jerky to an American in a war zone. Sometimes it’s just as helpful and supportive, even more than sending things to us, to send things to our families we have left behind. It gives us a sense and feeling of relief, allowing us to stay focused on the task at hand; coming home alive, by letting us know that they are also being supported and appreciated! GREAT JOB GINA!!!

    • It’s not always obvious what the families endure or how it affects the troops. You can’t fix a washing machine or tuck the kids in from 1000s of miles away or take part in holiday traditions. I think that’s why many troops have told me that they wished there was more support for their families, for the very reasons you share.

      I’m very happy that a kindness shown here at home can have a ripple effect all the way to a combat zone!

  3. I love reading your blog, but especially today’s, because it was both heartwarming AND funny! Easter blessings to you and Sofia, may your day be as special as you make it for others!

    • Thanks Eileen! The last post was such a serious topic that I thought we could all use a few smiles. Almost makes my “garbage walk” worth it…lol. And I wish you and your family a blessed Easter as well!

  4. Good stuff! And good lesson learned. As willing as you’ve been to offer help you also need to be open to letting others help you. 🙂

  5. Haha, Gina, this is awesome and thank you for your support! Deployed military and their families are constantly humbled by the support of ppl who don’t even know them. It’s very touching. And you’re funny. 🙂

  6. As usual, I couldn’t wait to read about your adventure today. You always make everything so interesting. You are such a caring person!!! I love getting to know you through your adventures. Happy Easter to you and Sofia. I wish there were more people like you in this world!!

    • Nana, thank you so much for your kind words! I am happy to share my “adventures” in the hopes of helping to close the divide between civilian and military. Even if my adventures sometimes show my not-so-bright side, lol. Thank you for the Easter wishes. Sofia and I wish you the same!

  7. What sweet Easter baskets, created with love by an adorable mermaid. I laughed when I read about how you toted those heavy baskets to the shipping store; I’ll bet that attracted some looks from your fellow Manhattanites!

    • That adorable mermaid also told the big burly guy at the shipping store, “You must not break a single bunny!” She made him promise. And yes, we got looks. When you consider all the interesting things going on, that’s no small thing 🙂

  8. Gina, so you’re a do-it-yourselfer, too? That’s why I got an extra hearty laugh at your: Me neither. Well, at least you had Sofia to help you. You must be so proud of her. Your caring and kindness are a beautiful gift not only to the families you’re helping but to yourself and Sofia as well.

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