The Kindest Thing Anyone Has Ever Done

Last spring, my husband planned to turn his workshop into a craft room for my12 year-old daughter. My husband’s cancer worsened and he died in the fall so he wasn’t able to do it. Two friends stepped in and made it happen. They hired contractors, ordered furniture/storage and worked with my daughter on colors/design. Sometimes I just stand in the doorway and soak it in. -Jodi

Single mom here living paycheck to paycheck and I have a friend who occasionally comes over with a bag of groceries (pre-covid) saying that she bought the wrong things or has too much or some other excuse so I don’t feel weird taking it. The fact that she makes the effort to allow me to maintain my dignity makes me weep every time. -Cori

We sacrifice EVERYTHING to send our kids to private school. They appreciate it but it becomes obvious sometimes that we are unable to do for our kids what other parents can. The big deal sophomore year is sweet 16 parties. There was no way on gods green earth we could do a party for my daughter. One of her friends since pre-k and through high school, her father called me and said, “just so you know this is not up for discussion. My daughter’s name is going on his daughter’s invitations as a joint party. I will not hear anything from you about what you owe or what you can do for us. It is done.” It was overwhelming love and kindness and may I add, the BEST party EVER. I owe something to them that I could never repay. To treat my child that way is just beyond… -Maria

I lost my husband at 27. I had two young boys and was expecting our daughter. He was the primary breadwinner. Holidays were very very hard, with none of my family local, etc. For thanksgiving that year, my girlfriend from high school brought a Thanksgiving dinner for my tiny family. For Christmas time, she and her husband brought a wreath and a Christmas tree for us. On Christmas Eve, as I sat alone with the kids in bed, she and her husband knocked on my door and delivered Christmas gifts for my kids. After the worst time in my life: burying my husband, delivering our daughter alone and having to rely on friends to keep my young boys while I was hospitalized for a week, and having zero cash free for gifts, this friend showed me pure and total kindness and love. I’d never experienced anything like it. Not only do I pay it forward now, but I also send her and her husband a wreath for their door . -Monica

The night my mother died (suddenly and unexpectedly, two weeks before my February wedding), her boss and her 3 best work friends showed up unannounced at our house (it was just the two of us) at midnight, not long after the ambulance left, and proceeded to clean our house from top to bottom, including packing up and putting away our Christmas tree. We had been so focused on wedding prep and grad school (me) that we hadn’t had time to do anything else. They left me at 4am in a pristine house, ready for the onslaught of funeral and wedding visitors. I was in such shock…it was incredible. -Maria

When I was pregnant with my twins, I was unexpectedly put on bed rest at 32 weeks. I drove myself home from the appointment where I’d gotten the news that if I didn’t stay down, my babies would be born too early and have a difficult road ahead. I stopped to pick up my two year old from the friend who’d been watching her and broke down in tears when I told her what had happened. That incredible woman volunteered to keep my two year old for eleven hours a day (my husband had a long commute) for three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas while she homeschooled her own six children. She had every reason in the world not to do it. Because she did, I was able to be so diligent about bed rest at home and give my sons three more weeks of growing before they were born. I credit her with their health and have never been given a gift so full of selfless love as that. -Katie

One of my son’s lacrosse teammate’s dad was battling cancer last year, and we all purchased t-shirts designed for him to support him during his fight. For the final game, all the players and parents were wearing the shirts but he passed away the night before the game. No one expected this boy to come to the game but he clearly needed his team. At the beginning of the game, the announcer asked for a moment of silence in his dad’s memory and those boys formed the tightest circle around him for a very, very long time just holding him up in the middle. There was not a dry eye in that entire stadium that day and I will never forget how those boys loved on their teammate so hard all through that time. The whole team went to the funeral. They blew me away with the love they continue to show to him. -Shawna

Mine is just a little thing but it stands out to me. My mother in law moved in with us when we found her memory declining. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and she would be very difficult especially in the evenings. I’m not going to lie…it was hard. One night after dinner she looked at me and said “you’re a good mom to us.” It made me cry a little because I knew at that moment that she thought I was her mom and the dementia was taking over more every day but I mostly cried because it was such a kind thing for her to say. I felt such love and appreciation from her that day from only a few small words spoken. -Kerri

 I often think of the truck driver who saw my grandad ( who had dementia) escape his nursing home and pulled over to give him a drive. As the nursing staff panicked and called my mom and aunt, the truck driver – they were out in the country- took my grandad on a short country drive and then pulled the rig back into the nursing home. My grandad got out and walked back in to the home like it was all meant to be! He treated my grandad with the dignity that every person living with dementia needs! -Sandra

When I was in elementary school I was always the new kid (we moved all over the world for my dad’s job) and I was shy and easily intimidated. I also did not receive a lot of love or attention at home. In 5th grade, the city we were living in was very wealthy (we were not) and I always felt out of place. The day after class pictures went home, one of the pretty, popular girls came up to me and said, “My mom thought you were the prettiest girl in our whole class.” No one had ever told me that before. She said it so sincerely, without any jealousy or anything. She didn’t have to pass that on to me but she did. I’ve never forgotten it. -Sandy

I was in a new job and did not understand the technology aspect (Read: Satellites and Global Positioning). My boss told me to close the door and proceeded to explain it all on a white board for about an hour. He could have fired me, or told me to go figure it out myself. Moreover, he did not shame me. He empowered me to be a better employee. I will always be grateful for his kindness and management style. -Lisa

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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