In Which I Cringingly Ask You For Money

May 31, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I enjoy giving money for charity. When I’m having a crappy day, donating money to a worthy cause makes me feel like my insides are all nice and shiny- at least for a fleeting moment, all is right with the world.  I feel like a good person deserving of love and maybe a banquet in my honor where the hosts play a montage in black and white, not that I’ve pictured this or anything, and the charity gets a few bucks- EVERYBODY WINS.

I have, however, a love-meh-ugh relationship with the Person Who Is Constantly Asking You to Donate Money. On the one hand, I’m glad there’s an advocate out there who is reminding people on Twitter and Facebook and via personal emails that they should donate to such and such cause. On the other hand, I don’t know. Donating always feels so personal to me. I like to give for my own reasons and it feels, I don’t know, awkward to try and wheedle money out of YOU for something that means so much to ME. Also, people give back in so many silent, unseen ways. ALSO, what if they don’t have $5 to spare right now? And now I’ve made this weird because they didn’t donate and I don’t know the reason and I can’t ask but I don’t really ignore it either and BLECH. And yet how else do things like breast cancer research get money without someone asking you to donate money to their 5k? Hence the mixed feelings.

This is clearly my issue to deal with. I am that person who will politely ignore your pregnant belly until you’re crowning unless you deliberately tell me you’re pregnant just to avoid the potential disaster of “this is actually a cookie baby” conversation where we both want to be swallowed into a hole and die. (And we’ll get to all that later.)

Anyway- I’m putting my personal squigginesh (it’s a word) aside to tell you a few facts and give you some INFORMATION about a cause that is currently taking donations. And then we will all turn around and ignore each other and forget this ever happened (unless you donate, in which case, I’m going to write you a very nice thank you note unless you don’t want one in which case, I’ll just be thanking you silently with a swelling, blooming heart).

Five years ago in March, my sister gave birth to a baby girl named Caterina Mary. She was born with a genetic disorder called Trisomy 13. 80% of babies born with Trisomy 13 die within the first month. Caterina lived to almost two months. Every day was her birthday. We loved her. These are all facts.

We celebrate her life every year because She Lived. We never really talked about the reasons why but I think we all have our different reasons for doing this – my sister’s reasons are her own, as are my brother-in-law’s, and my mother and father and his mother and father and my brother and sister and, well, I clearly can’t speak for them. I don’t want to speak for them. But my reasons don’t have much to do with grief or grieving, I don’t think. Because for me, it’s just nice to have a set amount of time every year to think about her and how she felt in my arms and the kind of little, tiny person she was. Because loving her for two months, such an awfully short span of time, makes me so deeply appreciative of my nieces and nephew who are alive and present and there for me to hold. Because she informs my work when I feel the need, the urge, to write about loss. Because she makes me respectfully quiet when I need to be.  Because she makes me more.

A weekend is the least I can do to repay her for that.

This year, my sister decided to participate in a 5K where the proceeds benefit The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. She said we could participate or not, there was no Great Mandate on high or anything. Our siblings are running, my niece, my parents too. I’m donating money but I’m not running. I’ve offered to hold my newborn niece while they all run. I know Caterina won’t mind. In fact, I think she’d find it quite fitting under the circumstances.

If you’d like to donate to my brother’s run, here is the information. Those kids in the camp would be grateful. So would I.

If you can’t spare a few bucks, then please take this with you instead:

– If someone you know has lost a baby, whether it’s first trimester, last or beyond, say you’re sorry. But don’t offer advice unless it’s asked for.

– When you see a parent with a child in the supermarket or the movie theater or an airplane and the kid is yelling and raising hell, don’t roll your eyes or make a remark. Be kind. Give them a break. You don’t know the whole story.

– When you see a pregnant woman you don’t know, and even someone you DO know, stay quiet. If she expresses excitement, express it with her, sure. Otherwise, be kind. You don’t know the whole story.

In short, be cool. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Assume there’s more, way more, to the story.

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Entry filed under: Love Ya.

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About This Lady

I am a writer who has lived in DC, Los Angeles and Chicago. In the morning, I write novels. During the day, I write ads, brochures, websites and blogs. At night, I don't do any writing because that's too much writing.

Trying to be Auntie Mame but right now I feel more like Liz Lemon in execution. It's a process, people.

I have a food/fiction blog called Some Kitchen Stories.

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