Math was never my favorite subject, but let’s give this problem a try.
One year ago, a little baby girl was born. In her first months, she needed a diaper change at least 8-10 times per day. Over the course of the year that number has decreased to 6-8 per day. So let’s average that she used 8 diapers per day for one full year. That is a whopping 2800 diapers consumed in one year. She lives with her family in a low income apartment complex in the city and they do not have a car. A package of 36 diapers at the corner costs $14.99. How much will it cost per month to provide diapers for baby?
I came up with $97.16.
Can you imagine how hard it might be for some families to keep their babies dry and healthy? Did you know safety-net programs like food stamps and WIC cannot be used to purchase diapers?
As part of our celebration of Bean’s first birthday, and hopefully a tradition of generosity each year, my family is having a Diaper Drive to support the Diaper Bank in our community. We are aiming to collect 1000 diapers by the first week of November. We are already halfway there thanks to my amazing WISH friends (more about them in a future post). If you are interested in making a donation, please contact me.
A few weeks ago, I gave my niece this piece of advice. Sometimes it’s hard to push yourself to stick to plans or to honor a commitment (whether to others or just yourself), but it feels good to know you are someone that follows through and you might even be happily surprised by the outcome of your steadfastness. Okay, so I didn’t use the word steadfastness. She’s only 7.
Just days later, I was in a similar scenario. Last Friday night I made plans with a girlfriend to attend the kick-off event for a new group in New Haven – the HVN Lady Project. At the last minute, she needed to back out. So there I was, on a Friday evening tired from a particularly grueling week at work, with two choices. Hop in my car in search of my comfy clothes, a glass of red wine and snuggles from Bean. Or stick to my plan. Be there for the first ever event. Possibly meet some awesome women doing amazing things (after all, that’s their tagline).
I chose to follow my own advice and I’m so glad I did. I gave up just 2 hours of family time and in exchange, I gained a few new professional contacts, was encouraged by a veteran mom and inspired by the ardent women in my community (oh and I had that glass of red wine!). Here’s how it works. The Lady Project invites 3 women to share their stories with the group in 3 minutes. Their parting words are something for you to take with you. I especially appreciated Hannah Brencher’s advice to have the courage to reach out to those you admire. Fueled by her encouragement, I put myself out there and introduced myself to a woman I recognized and told her how much I admired her incredible work. It felt good to share that admiration and from her reaction, I bet she felt like a rock star. Why is it so intimidating to go up to someone and tell them that they kick ass? That’s so bizarre. But it’s real. Isn’t it?
Many thanks to the ladies that brought the Lady Project to my city. I hope my local gal pals will join me for a future event. Promise, you won’t regret it!
I’ve been reminded this week that it truly is a blessing to wake up each day. I keep thinking about the fact that if today were my last day, I’d have a mountain of regrets. At first I considered all the things I never would’ve crossed off my bucket list – the places I hoped to visit or adventures I’d be proud to say I braved. But in the end, it doesn’t matter how many planes you’ve jumped out of or the number of countries you’ve travelled. Our lives are really summed up by the people we touch. Those that we leave behind are the only way to keep our memory alive.
Keeping in touch with people has never been my strong suit. I’m not good about calling just to say hi or reaching out to get together with friends. I have taken many relationships for granted and not tended to them like I should. I have not told enough people that I am thankful to have them in my life.
Relationships, whether with your spouse, parents, siblings or childhood friends, require a little TLC. And that’s a good thing because anything worth holding onto is worth the effort. I have decided that it’s time that I start taking better care of the people that matter most to me. I’ve learned along the way that I can’t change who I am overnight, but with baby steps I can work on being a better person. I will be purposefully reaching out to at least one person every week. There is no time like the present to tell someone you care about them.
This week, I sent this little box to someone that has been on my mind a lot. I love her dearly and hope she knows that I cherish her always. I included a blank, stamped notecard in the package. Perhaps this will spread around the world and back to me some day. I hope any of you out there reading take the time to reach out to someone that you care about, just because…
I grew up in a small suburban town where the handful of black kids in my school, were the extent of my experience with folks that looked different than me. My world began to grow in college as I was surrounded by 30,000 students from all over the world. I elected some African American history classes that brought new perspective and a heightened awareness of race in our country. But it wasn’t until I met my husband, and really took time to ask him questions about his experiences, that I truly began to understand what it means to be black in America.
The not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial has weighed heavily on my mind this week. Tevis and I had a long talk after we listened to the President’s impromptu press conference. Tevis shared stories with me that he’d never mentioned in our 10 years together. He echoed the President’s experiences with examples of being followed in a Macy’s or having a woman grab her purse, hold it up to her chest clenching both arms around it, as he entered an elevator. Or even as a young man running in his track uniform through a quiet college town and hearing the door locks click as he passed by a car at a stop light.
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m married to an African American or that my child is part African American or just because I have it in me, but I am feeling an overwhelming sadness for the Martin family left without a son and without seeing any justice for his death. I’m appalled that there are people in this country that believe race played no part in Trayvon Martin’s death. I’m not calling George Zimmerman a racist. That would be too easy. But just because he had a black prom date, doesn’t mean he didn’t look at a young black male in a hoodie and assume he was up to no good. The problem is that we all make conclusions about people based on their appearance alone. Stereotypes and statistics prevent us from judging others solely on the content of their character.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how we will talk about race in our home. There isn’t a handbook for how to raise a mixed family (hmm, now that’s an idea) so we have to go with our gut on this one. We’ve made a conscious effort already to surround Bean with diversity. I’m fiercely protective of her individuality. It is important to me that she learns about her history and has a clear sense of her identity. I’m not naïve enough to think that we can make her world all peace and love and sprinkled with fairy dust. We won’t shy away from her questions and welcome honest talks about race.
To move forward and not this case shatter my hope for a better future for my child, I have to cling to the message of progress the President gave in his closing remarks. He’s absolutely right that we are not a perfect union, but each generation is better than the one before it. Tevis and I have changed attitudes about race. I pray that Bean will do the same. I pray that she will encounter less bias, hatred and violence and more compassion and acceptance.