Thursday, March 3, 2011

At a Loss

A few days ago I posted on the JD Moms facebook page seeking advice on how to handle the death of a parent in KJ's preschool class.  Despite KJ being in the same class with the boy who lost his father since infants, I don't know either of his parents.  Husband does drop off and pick up at daycare so I very rarely interact with anyone from the daycare.  Plus, Husband tends to know the other dads who do drop off and pick up, and it appears that this kid's mom is the one who works with Husband.  So, despite our kids doing everything from learning to walk to potty training together, we really don't know each other.  But Husband and I still wanted to do something for their family, we just didn't know what. 

The thoughtful comments to my facebook post were very helpful.  Most people said send a card.  And in the end, that's what we decided to do.  But then I Googled the father's obituary, and learned that the family lives in the same small town as we do.  And to me, that changes things a little. 

The kids' daycare is NOWHERE near our house.  My kids commute over 2 hours every day to go to school.  In light of this long commute, it was surprising to learn that someone in KJ's very same class makes the same drive, morning after morning.  It also means that this friend could be a friend of KJ's for a very long time.  The town is still pretty small, and the chances of the two boys being in the same classroom or sports team is very, very high.  And I like the idea of KJ carrying a friendship from preschool to regular school.  If the boys are indeed friends (and unlike "Jackson" of an earlier post, I haven't heard any bad things about this boy), I want to encourage that. 

Our proximity also means that we actually are in a position to help this family.  We are making the exact same drive day after day.  We are going to the exact same locations.  Surely in the near future there will be times where the mom needs to send her son to daycare but take care of some business at home, or she'll need something from work or she'll just need some time to herself.  And we could actually help.  We could bring her son to or from school.  We could have him over to play.  We could do something to make her life easier. 

The question becomes, how do I get her to let us? 

I'm a stranger to her son, there's no question about that.  KJ and Husband are not, however.  How can I convey in a card that we'd be happy to have her son over to play sometime, or that we'd be happy to take her son to or from daycare?  How can I convince a stranger that we want what's best for their family too?  If I write in the card that we live locally and to call if she needs anything, she'll never call.  But at the same time, I don't know her address, so I can't just stop by with dinner for her kids.  Can you think of any way we can meaningfully reach out to this family?  How can we actually help without putting more of a burden or worry on her? 

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.


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