In the day after the tragedy that has struck so close to home, many feelings have come my way. Sadness vs. anger, hope vs. hopelessness, empathy vs. disgust. I turned to social media like so many others just to gain a sense of it all. To get my news. To connect. To mourn together. And as I read post after post, there was a common occurrence on my feed.
Moms saying how they had tucked in their children like I did, stroking their hair and saying a quick ‘thank you’ prayer. Mommy bloggers writing about what to tell their children. Moms talking about how the bad guys are real. New mamas posting pictures of their innocent babies’ faces and wondering what the world has in store for them. Mommies wondering if their child may be part of the LGQBT community in the future and what that means as far as their safety. Moms spreading general words of encouragement, love and light in hopes to penetrate the darkness. The underlying theme throughout all these posts: LOVE. And this time, it’s a Mother’s Love. It’s love for our children, love for the people who were lost who were someone else’s child, and love for our community. This love is fierce, it’s protective and it’s strong.
This tragedy is different because it has occurred in our village…our community where our children, of all ages, should feel safe. That mama bear is in me. I’m ready to take action. And I think from reading all my fellow Mama’s posts, they are too. In what shape or form, I don’t know quite yet, but I am determined to not live in fear, especially in a city that we love so much that is known for its magic. I will NOT let darkness steal the magic away from my children, our children.
We have to start somewhere. If you’re like me and not quite sure where to start to help because you have littles at home to take care of, it is still definitely possible to make a difference. Below are some ideas to help get you started.
Why not do a good deed for each life that was lost? #49ActsOfKindness….49 ways to pay it forward. You CAN make a difference right now. Try to include your kids in these Acts of Kindness when you can, even if it means they are asleep in the car seat while you’re in the drive-thru paying for someone else’s meal.
- Donate to an official fund of a victim. There are sadly many fraudulent sites out there, so make sure you are on a legitimate page.
- Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru.
- Order flowers to be delivered to a senior center.
- Stop by your local fire department/police station with goodies for the first responders.
- Make a donation of toiletries, clothes, and/or baby clothes to a women’s shelter.
- Ask your child’s extracurricular teacher if you can pay for a child’s gym pass, music lesson, trampoline pass etc.
- Pay for a car wash for the car behind you.
- Leave a generous tip.
- Check on your neighbors – bring a small gift like a candle or baked good.
- Reach out to that new mom in your child’s dance/karate/gymnastics class. Say HI! Build a new village.
- Begin gathering supplies for the school year you can donate.
- Make a few care packages for the car and pass along to a homeless person when you see them.
- Have your kids help you hide little trinkets around town for people to find (i.e. Lottery tickets, $5 gift cards, handmade gifts etc.)
- Donate your hair.
- Put change in a parking meter.
- Donate blood.
- Plant a tree.
- Thank your mail carrier/garbage collector/meter reader.
- Donate used books to the local library.
- Own a business? Offer a discount, freebie or donate proceeds to a cause.
- It’s an election year – see how you can volunteer from your home computer to help your favorite candidate make a difference.
- Leave Post-It notes with uplifting messages on public restroom mirrors.
- Sit with a person eating alone at a restaurant or give another mom a hand at a restaurant.
- Check out Orlando Weekly for up-to-date resources/links for ways to help.
Let’s unite Mama Bears. What will you do to make a difference in our village? #OrlandoStrong