Memorial Birthday RAOK

Hey! It’s March!

(Did you know that? Seriously, when did that happen?)

I’m wrapping up February with this post about Random Acts Of Kindness (RAOK.)  As regular readers know, February is a complicated month in our household…both joy and sorrow mingling throughout the weeks.  This year marked the 8th since I delivered our oldest, Wheeler, a full-term stillborn son. We’ve done a variety of things over the years to memorialize his way-too-short life and the impact it has had on us. Balloon releases, birthday cakes, toy donations…the ritual has grown and evolved over the years.

This year I felt compelled to complete eight RAOK throughout the day…and if you follow me on Facebook, then you have already seen these in “real time.” What a wonderful day full of love and support – I was truly overwhelmed at the messages and emails and texts and calls. I’ve always been a fan of Facebook, but this week it went to a whole new level.

So for those of you who asked…here’s the list of the RAOK and a brief recap of the day:

From my FB feed –

RAOK#1 of 8 At the drive-thru: “I’ll have iced tea…and pay for whatever the people behind me ordered.” I love the look on their faces when I say that! 

RAOK #2 of 8 Just let two drivers (who obviously couldn’t read the construction signs) in front of me to get on the freeway (much to the dismay of impatient driver behind me.) My husband and I laughed about this later… since I really irritated the guy behind me that probably canceled out one of the good deeds…so it was a good thing it was TWO drivers so it still counted!!

RAOK #3 of 8 Tip for very nice waitress at lunch….times FIVE.  — at Tre TrattoriaMy mom and I had a lovely lunch together and our waitress was very sweet – made this one a no-brainer. Credit to mom for splitting this one with me!

RAOK #4 of 8 Basket of goodies for the L&D nurses.  My mom was also in on this one…picking out and purchasing a ton of gourmet cookies and brownies and cakes to stuff into a basket…and then driving the car around and around the circular drive at the hospital while I ran them upstairs!

Our local non-profit (MISS) has a great relationship with University Hospital. We do regular training seminars there and a burial assistance program.

RAOK #5 of 8 A gift card for groceries given to a worn out mom walking in with kids trailing….  When we went to the store to get the dessert and balloons for our family celebration later, I also grabbed a store gift card and then handed to a mom as she was walking into the store. She looked like she hadn’t slept in too long and the kids with her looked like they would rather be anywhere else. It made me think about this fantastic post on motherhood – quite possibly the best commentary on the job I’ve ever read.

We took a little break here for dinner and birthday cake and a balloon release with the boys – they LOVE candles and singing and even added the “and many more, on channel four, your pants are tore…” just like little brothers should do. Then Lincoln explained that it was time to send the party to heaven, so we needed to let the balloon go. Very sweet.

RAOK #6 of 8 A bag full of quarters left in the laundromat….

Somewhere in here we were at a store and my husband discovered we had a flat tire. Did I mention it was pouring rain?? So Mr. Superhero changed that tire likkety split and cheerfully resumed our RAOK adventure albeit a little bit soggier. T.R.O.O.P.E.R.

RAOK #7 of 8 A big bag of yummy snacks and sweets delivered to our local fire fighters….

And finally,

RAOK #8 of 8 A free dinner for an unsuspecting solo diner at our local coffee shop. Happy Birthday baby boy!!

All in all it was a very enjoyable way to remember my oldest son and felt very fitting considering what an impact he’s had on our lives and the lives of those around us. I personally loved this new evolution of our ritual and hope to continue it for years to come. (Though, I’m aware by the time he would be graduating from high school it will take a lot more planning and coordinating to fit all the RAOK into one day!)

For more information about the MISS Foundation’s Kindness Project, you can go here. You will find details about the annual project and also downloadable cards for use during your own RAOK adventure.  And for a wonderful blog post with more ideas for RAOK…go here.  And that blog post spawned this website…which takes the whole idea to another level entirely.

Thanks again to all my friends and family for the support and love…and a special thanks to those of you who also did RAOK this week in honor of Wheeler. I’ll probably never be able to explain how much that means.

OK March…here we come!


12 thoughts on “Memorial Birthday RAOK

  1. Heather

    I loved reading this….again! Thanks so much for sharing your family with everyone. You really are a great inspiration!

  2. Cat

    Beautiful Jennifer!!! I got teary eyed! What a great way to celebrate Wheelers 8th. I love the pic of Lincoln and Whitman blowing out Wheelers bday candles…very touching 🙂

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      I love that picture, too…such sweet boys I have. I’m glad you enjoyed it…and um, hello, I need an update on you, like SOON! 🙂

  3. Marquel

    That was really incredible! I mean that literally took my breath away. What a way to put your faith into action. Thank you for sharing with us.

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      It was a wonderful day – truly enjoyable and meaningful. I feel honored that so many have been touched by it… love you!

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