Day of spreading smiles
I decided to honour my late mum with random acts of kindness…
It was impossible to think of my mum Denise without remembering her smile – even though life hadn’t always been easy for her. She’d had MS for 20 years and was in a wheelchair.
But she didn’t let it get to her. Chuckling away about ‘Denise’s knees’!
She had time for everyone and always put others first.
Especially with me as a teen. I could be moody, tearful... Mum was there for me, but I never really appreciated it.
When I was 17, Mum had a routine leg op, but got pneumonia and septicaemia and her body shut down.
And on 25 April 1992, Mum died. She was only 43.
She’d lived half her life in pain and died too young. But I had to carry on and live a good life in her honour.
In time, I met my partner James, now 40, and we had our daughter Brooke, 9.
It could be hard being a mum without a mum. So many times, I wished she was there.
As my 43rd birthday approached, I felt sad.
It was the age Mum had been when she died.
I didn’t know what to expect or feel. But I did want to celebrate by remembering her.
Then it hit me – I’d do 43 random acts of kindness – one for each year of our age.
Soon James and Brooke were both on board, too…
On the eve on my birthday, me and Brooke baked cookies, wrote letters, sealed envelopes.
This 11 July, I woke up surrounded by prezzies. ‘Happy birthday!’ James said. There was no time for that! I gave cookies to neighbours. Some I’d never even met!
When I told them my plan, smiles crossed their faces.
Next, I got my friend’s kids for the school run, so she could have a nice, peaceful brew!
At school, I left teachers with coffee and biscuits.
Next, in a coffee shop, I paid for two strangers’ drinks.
I picked up four bunches of flowers on the way to the car – but not before I paid a thrilled mum-to-be a compliment!
Then, I helped an elderly lady with her shopping.
In town, I gave out chocs with notes saying, You’re awesome.
I spotted some flusteredlooking mums, too. Gave them cards to give them a boost.
A favourite deed I did was
hiding notes in library books.
Thank you for being you!
I put a link to Twitter if finders wanted to get in touch.
Next, I went to Romsey Hospital and dropped off biscuits for staff.
On the way out, I stuck pound coins on the parking machine.
Park free on me!
I scrawled on a sticky note.
I was about to scarper when I bumped into a lady whose eyes filled with tears…
Turns out her husband had left her and her uncle had died.
‘Thank you,’ she said, hugging me as I told her my mission.
Later, I gave two women at a bus stop some flowers.
Next, I spotted a minibus of elderly folk. I gave them and their driver chocolates.
‘Getting older is a gift,’ one man told me.
It made me really miss my mum and imagine what she’d have been like at his age.
Next, at a leisure centre, I paid for a family to go swimming and stuck some pound coins on the vending machine.
Then I donated some food to the local animal centre.
With the letters from the night before, I went into a bereaved children’s centre.
In time, you feel better and cry less,
I wrote to JK Rowling, whose mum also had MS, just to thank her for being an inspiration.
Then I dropped off a cake to a friend with a newborn.
Sheltered housing was nearby, so I gave them flowers. And I left my last bunch at a random lady’s door.
I also delivered cards to friends having a bad week, donated to a charity shop, sent some pants off to Africa...
I donated some money to Brooke’s school, too. Plus I’d left Brooke and James love letters around the house…
I got messages online from people who found my notes. And a bottle of wine with a card from a neighbour.
I’d planned on having a bath, but I was too exhausted!
Instead, I lit a candle and told my mum how much I loved her.
Counting up my deeds, they added to 43. Mum’d be proud.
The world can be sad – so, if you put a smile on stranger’s face, that’s a wonderful thing.
My day of kindness turned an otherwise tough day into a tender and bright birthday.
Now I’m planning for my 44th!
Next, I gave cards to friends having a bad week...
As a toddler with lovely Mum Denise
Quids in: I stuck coins on parking and vending machines Write stuff: Feelgood notes for strangers deeds! Just a few of my 43 good
Thanks a bunch! I gave out four lots of flowers
Taking the lead: I donated to doggies, too!
Chocs away: Really spoiling folk