Thursday, February 18, 2016

Lent things

I'm never super clear on what a good way to observe Lent as a Protestant, but I am fairly certain telling Cody "Happy Lent Day!" last Wednesday was not the way you normally kick off the season.  I figure as long as I'm respectful (except for when I'm talking to my husband. Let's be real), it should be fine.  I'm going through my things, but somewhat differently than last year. 

Over the weekend, Evelyn was taking every single item out of her toy box and setting it aside or playing with it or moving it to somewhere else.  Sometimes she would announce that she didn't like a toy or book and I would ask "Do you want to donate it or give it to your cousins?"  I do this a lot, and it's a good way to determine if she's just being fussy--because then she'll whine "Nooooo!"--or if she really has moved on from something.  She pulled out a little Iron Man doll and said she didn't want it anymore.  So I asked the same question I'd probably asked her 5 times that day and lo, she felt like sharing.

What's more, she was pumped.  Did she want to donate her toy?  [delighted gasp] Yes, yes, yes!  We could take it to Savers!  Someone who likes Iron Man would be so excited!  They would spend their money to take this home!  The Iron Man baby doll would go somewhere where it could be played with all the time!

A tiny two-year-old.  Probably the last time I saw her play with this?

She probably spent more time getting excited about how much someone would be excited with this future thrift store find than she ever spent playing with the doll.  I'm not even upset.  We love shopping at second-hand stores because bargains are great, and I think it's a good way to understand donating.  Dropping off things you don't use isn't the same as throwing them out.  I have to keep reminding myself.  Evelyn, though, has a few toys and pajamas that she passionately loves--LOVES--that we've picked up at Savers or Goodwill.  I have some clothes and a really great coat that I love that I've bought secondhand.  As silly as it sounds, I have a paper towel holder that I bought for $2 that makes me happy every time I see it.  I'm too lazy to take a picture and put it here, but trust me when I say that I like it a lot and it feels like a very nice fit for our home.  Still, whenever I drop things off I feel a little twinge of doubt and I have to wonder if someone will like what I have to offer.

Evelyn, however, is very confident in her ideas.  She knows how excited she is when she convinces me to buy a Spiderman shirt or a book.  She assumes that everyone is as excited to get something new to them as she is.  And why not?  She's passed toys and books on to her cousins and received a lot of gracious thanks because sharing is a Big Deal.  She felt like the biggest girl in the world when she (finally, after a couple of years!) outgrew some clothes and gave them to a little friend.  Giving your things to other people can be pretty exciting!  I was a couple of days into casting off things I didn't want when I got my little reminder.  So now each day I try to throw out something no one needs, but I also try to look for something I have that someone would enjoy more.  Thinking about rounding up things to be given away rather than thinking about junk that needs to be gotten rid off makes a big difference in my attitude, and that's always nice.  I'm sure there's something meaningful I wanted to say, but this has taken too long and I'm sleepy.

Evelyn, to her credit, has set aside a few baby toys for Calvin in the past week or so.  And her school is doing a food drive.  I'm not entirely thrilled with how they're going about explaining it (at least not to younger kids. It's enough to say that sometimes people need help getting groceries and leave it at that), but I'm glad it's something they have.  This week they're calling for canned goods.  Evelyn immediately knew she wanted to donate a can of Bush's Baked Beans.  She always has to refer to them with the brand name.  It's her very favorite canned good.   She was beyond thrilled to take her can to school yesterday AND discover that one of her teachers also likes porknbeans.  She just felt really certain that she nailed this donation thing with her amazing offering.

Background: on lazy nights, usually once a month or so, we have mac'n'cheese and pork'n'beans for dinner.  Dessert is usually apples or something equally easy.  It's been a favorite of mine and Cody's for forever, and now Evelyn thinks it's a great treat.

She has yet to realize that now we're out of Bush's Baked Beans, and if she gets a craving I probably won't buy more because we have plenty of other good food to enjoy and if she gets cranky about it I'll remind her that she donated her beans to some other family and that will probably make her happy all over again.  Basically, that's how I want to approach my giving: super excited to share something that someone else will be excited to receive.  I've got a lot of chances to try it out between now and Easter.

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