Earlier this week I was in Brighton with they boys and my sister. As it is half term I thought we'd do some fun things together. The weather put paid to some of those plans as it was cold, wet and windy on Tuesday morning. I still went for a run, but it was pretty miserable and I did keep asking myself why the hell I was outside in such rotten conditions. The evening before, however was much nicer and I had booked to take the boys on the i360 which is on the site of the old West Pier. We'd had a fraught afternoon with the boys getting on each other's nerves - and mine - so I didn't hold out much hope for the trip. As we ascended Blue Bear held my hand tight and said it was like being on a spaceship. We looked outside the capsule at the lights along Brighton Pier as the sky grew darker. I realised the music that was playing was all on the theme of flying. The boys and I danced around and Brown Bear declared, "I thought it was going to be rubbish, but it's not." High praise indeed !
Of course it was also Valentine's Day this week. I know not everyone is into the whole cards, flowers, chocolates, etc. I'm not judging anyone's decision not to join in and I'll thank you not to make a comment on my slavish adherence to all the cliches. I got carried away with buying cards and in the end had to find ways to use them all up so I asked people to address the envelopes and post them from different locations so that Hubbie would get a load of post, but not know it was all from me. The failing in this plan was that I had forgotten I'd signed all of the cards from me. Hubbie gave me flowers, took me to lunch and bought me a hamper of Reese's treats - which shows he's been paying attention to my latest chocolate obsession. The highlight for me, however, was something really simple. When we were in the car he started humming a familiar tune. It took me a few moments to place it, but when I did it was joyful. The night before we'd been to the theatre to watch A Passage to India and the highlight had been the indian musicans playing live on the stage. The tune he was singing was a disco classic from a Bollywood movie. In the early days of our courtship I'd explained the words to this song (something like, "when you came into my life that was something to talk about" - I can't be entirely sure that's accurate though). I was so touched that he remembered the tune and our silly conversation.
Kindness is something I rate highly and when my children are kind I give them a lot of praise to encourage it. In recent weeks I've received such lovely messages from people I don't even know offering condolences for the loss of my friend. I have found a whole new world of kindess that I didn't know before where people have shown care and consideration to me. The week of her funeral was pretty grim. I was honoured to be asked by her widower if I'd like to give a speech and worried about getting it right. I also had a job interview to prepare for and it was all pretty stressful. I attended the funeral on my own as Hubbie was at another funeral for a family member which was attended by my parents and siblings. It was emotional and difficult. As I drove home in the dark - hoping to see my sons before they went to bed - I remembered I had a job interview in the morning. I did my best, but I didn't get the job. All in all it wasn't the best week.
At heart the secret to kindness isn't some great mystery. I do my best to be kind. I like to think it's something that I do as a matter of course. I saw something today that said if you do for someone else expecting anything in return that's not an act of kindness it's a business transaction. My Mum has always been critical of my closeness to my friends and how one-sided she thinks my friendships appear to be. I don't see them that way at all. I love my friends and I will do a lot for them. Sometimes you just have to accept that giving is no guarantee that you will get anything back.
Kindness is not a transaction it is an end in itself. Go forth and be kind.