Do you ever wish the world was more like Adventure Bay? That when a stone-shaped alien inadvertently causes a rock slide, you can just “yelp for help” and Ryder and his team of pups come to save the day?
Clearly I let my daughter watch too much TV. Still, I think Paw Patrol inspired me this week to try and get along better with my fellow man. It has not been a good or kind month for much of our world. While trying not to obsess over the latest dismal news reports, I tried to find a project. Not just any project, but one where I could force my adorably egocentric two-year-old to help.
Obviously, she has no real concept of money or suffering. She has a piggy bank but just enjoys stuffing it full of Shopkins left at our house by her cousin. So a donation to UNIDOS was out. Normally I force/encourage her to pick up bottles and cans so we can collect the CRV (we then donate the money to a local charity). Mostly she would prefer to build towers of cans and then knock them over with her dinosaurs.
Then I read on Facebook about a way to send care packages to families in the US Virgin Islands. Like Puerto Rico and much of the Caribbean, they are struggling to recover from the punches of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Perfect. I also reasoned that I could enlist my daughter to create a picture to put in each box. Who wouldn’t love a drawing of green and brown squiggles?
On their user-friendly website I signed up for two families and within 12 hours received my confirmation email. Honestly this is the simplest care package I have ever made. The email gave all the information including the wish list for items and how to ship. Everything ships in a large flat rate box from the USPS, so ‘if it fits it ships.’
Our first box was dedicated to a generic adult and destined for VITEMA, the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency, on St. Thomas. We bought a tarp, extra hygiene essentials, batteries, mosquito repellant, etc.
We assembled our second box for the St. Croix police department. According to my email, if a police office sees a baby, he or she can give the box to the baby (or their parents). I chose a packet of the size 2 diapers because it actually fit in the box without taking up all the room. In went baby food, pedialyte, infant Tylenol, and I couldn’t resist putting in a soft squishy lamb rattle. I know it is not technically an essential, but sometimes I hug my daughter’s teddy bear just to feel a little better.
With a little muscle and a lot of tape, everything fit into the two boxes. Then off little V and I went to the post office. Only $18.80 per box to get all the way from California to USVI. I should use the flat rate boxes more often.
Of course, as I was wrestling to tape up the bulging boxes, I realized I had left my daughter’s drawings on the kitchen table. So the US Virgin Islanders may not enjoy them, but here they will live in infamy.
I do not pretend to know what I am doing most of the time. I understand this is a very small action in a world that needs big action. I get that my two year old probably doesn’t have any idea what happened this week, and a large part of me is grateful for that. At least for two short days, my little project helped unknot the dread in my stomach. So even if little V never remembers this, I will.
How are you dealing with this week? Do you think it is crazy to try to teach a 2 year old any sort of civic responsibility?