Give, give, give. Always better than get.
We've been selling a bunch of things on NextDoor recently and when Wilder got home from school today, I mentioned to her, "Babe, several people are going to come over tonight to buy some things, okay?"
She likes to know things. We like to prep her.
Sometimes, shifts in the evening routine or new energy late in the day can cause her to be extra rowdy before bed.
Excitedly, Wilder ran to the door each time she heard the bell ring.
I wasn't far behind, but I knew that the people she greeted were surprised at such a pint-sized being beating her parents to the punch.
I greeted multiple individuals and invited them in.
One of them was from the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless.
She had come to pick up extra glasses and water bottles we had.
Wilder immediately introduced herself as "Minnie," because this is the character of the day, and the woman obviously was an expert at interacting with young humans, because their conversation was completely present and engaging.
"Her name isn't really Minnie," I whispered. "It's Wilder."
"That's okay," she whispered back. "My daughter likes to change her name, too. But... she's 14!"
"What's your daughter's name?" I asked.
"Isla," she responded.
"Oh!" I exclaimed. "That was our original name for Wilder!"
I knew this serendipity was purposeful.
When this woman, Natalie, handed me a form to write down what we had donated for tax purposes, I asked her, "Is there anything else that you need?"
Her energy was warm. Her heart was full and generous.
I wanted to do more.
"Oh," Natalie responded, surprised. "I mean, we need kind of everything. The homeless people who come through could really use tiny shampoos and lotions."
I went into my closet.
I pulled out gorgeous teal bags of The Seaweed Company's samples of shampoo, condition, and lotion, that I had gathered from the last in-person event I hosted here in Austin.
"Wha'?" Natalie couldn't finish her sentence.
She was surprised that I had the exact thing she needed, perfectly packaged, complete with coupons for full-sized products.
Another moment of synchronicity.
"What else do you need?" I asked. "Do you need men's clothes?"
So I pulled out Jules' clothes we had planned to give away. I then went and got wool socks, children's books, jewelry, even condoms.
Natalie told me anecdote after anecdote of stories that lifted her heart and the ones that broke them.
I gave her copies of the books Jules' and I had written.
"This is great," she said. "Because some of the adults we help can't read, but they also can't go to the library and just hang out in the children's section. These books can help them so much."
Wilder followed us around. I knelt down and looked at her.
"Wilder," I said softly. "Is there anything that you'd like to donate? Would you like to give away some of your books to other kids who might really benefit from them?"
Wilder turned and ran to her room. She brought out a couple of books. These items that are her most prized possessions, her most constant companions.
"Wilder and I packed care packages one weekend morning," I told Natalie, "for the homeless people in our neighborhood."
I didn't tell her how Wilder patiently sat with me as we divvied up organic cookies and treats into the bags, things she would've happily devoured, because she knew they were going to someone else who would appreciate them as much as she would, if not more.
An hour later, Natalie walked out of our home with five full bags of things.
Things I had thought about selling.
Things that were old to me, but could absolutely feel like a complete blessing for someone else.
"Do you know what the kids will look like when I give them all these toys?" Natalie asked Wilder.
Wilder looked up at her, scrunched her face into a new smile she's been practicing.
"Yes!" Natalie exclaimed. "They will look just like that!"
We walked Natalie to her car, me holding Wilder in one arm and a bag of puzzles in another.
"Can we do a group hug?" Natalie asked.
"Of course," I said. We all leaned in.
Our house was lighter.
Our hearts were Lighter.
And I hope that Wilder felt being of service was as joyful as playing with this wonderful woman who came into our home to pay it forward.
May you pay it forward today, too.