We tried something new this year. My brother suggested we volunteer to serve at a local soup kitchen on Christmas day. Off we went, just Oscar and my mom (and me), to help out at lunch time today.
First lesson of the day: Don't be late.
Although we arrived right when they told us to come, there were already so many people serving that they were tripping over each other in the kitchen. They suggested, since we wanted to help, that we could stay for clean-up. Let it be known that I do not wash dishes by hand, even at home. I did it today. So did my brother, who also may have spent the last decade avoiding the very same chore. Surprisingly, it wasn't bad at all. In fact, it was kind of nice.
Lesson number two: Wear earplugs, unless you need a good cry.
Mom took out a cart of pies to all the tables, and couldn't help overhearing one mother telling her small child to eat all he could, because it would be his last meal until breakfast tomorrow. She held it together until everyone had pies, then snuck back to help with the dishes.
Despite the general feeling of goodness and joy I got from doing a good deed today, I'm a little ashamed as well. I was so happy to have stuck to my budget of only spending $100 on Monsoon this Christmas. It was hard not to buy him so much more. That was the hard part of Christmas for me - not buying too many toys.
Less than 30 minutes from where I sit on my comfy couch in my warm home right now, there are real people with real children who will only eat one real meal on this Christmas day.
I'm glad we went. It was something I needed to see, like it or not.
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