Someone in our family has had life's hardballs pitched at her frequently and fast in the last two years, especially the last few months. Her daughter, sons, grandkids, inlaws, and friends have helped in various ways. They've transported her, negotiated with doctors and rehab staff, communicated with others, called her, sent cards, visited, brought gifts to cheer her up.
Her favorite gift, brought by her daughter, was a teddy bear that used to be her late husband's. Her recent surgery made it painful to cough, one more hardball on top of all the others. But her daughter knew exactly what she needed and brought it to her hospital room. When she told me about receiving this, I knew that simple act of kindness meant more to her than any other gift she'd received.
Her husband died too young to enjoy retirement, but his life had been full of family, work, fishing, gardening, singing, and sports. And her. Conversely, his teddy bear was full of him, and all he meant to her.
Some of the kids at the shelter have experienced better relationships between men and women after their mothers leave the batterer. They are proud to talk about his taking them places, treating their mom like a partner, not his underling and simple things like helping them with homework.
What other kids take for granted, they sometimes express as new and special. They are grateful, occasionally surprised, proud.
The kids who haven't yet had a more normal life listen closely, their faces sometimes guarded, sometimes full of hope, sometimes confused. They have a lot to learn about how one partner should treat another.
Wouldn't it be great if they could learn it first-hand?