Many of our participants in Mentoring Moms reside in a local maternal emergency shelter. It is an older home that has been repurposed to give these moms somewhere safe while they are pregnant and immediately postpartum. As a part of their stay at the shelter, they attend classes with us and use our program to help find resources to lead to their stability. We also maintain a donations closet of food, hygiene items, and clothing to help meet the immediate needs of life in a dignified way. Serving these women is the core of the work that I do every day.

Some of the most joyous times in my job are those when someone gets to come ‘shop’ at our office. Often they are overwhelmed at first, afraid to express the items they need (or are unable to think of them. How do you respond to the question ‘What do you need?’ when the answer is ‘Everything’? I’ll save that tangent for another post on another day.). We have a great time going through the things ‘in stock’ and allowing them to take whatever they have need of. I am blessed often by the caution they use, not wanting to take more than is absolutely necessary. They do not want to be selfish in their consumption, mindful that there are other moms who are also in need (or might be ‘more’ in need than them), and it is inspiring in its own beautiful way.

Recently I was blessed in an entirely different way. A newer participant came to us at the encouragement of another young lady in the shelter, needing a little bit of everything. As we were going through all her options, the harsh exterior she had presented to me when we first met melted away into one of earnest and vulnerable gratitude. Before I left her that afternoon, she stopped me to thank me again, uttering a line that broke my heart. She told me, “I’m so happy… It feels like Christmas.”

I don’t remember exactly what I told her, some version of “You are so welcome, I am glad you got what you needed!” I am sure. I was too stunned in that moment to process what came out of my mouth next. I knew she had been excited, the ladies I work with often are when they are given access to those things they need. But the genuine joy this mom felt, the childlike wonder she had over shampoo and deodorant, floored me. Humbled me. I have never been ‘rich’ but I have certainly never been in a position to express such intensity over what most people would consider ‘mundane’ items. But I can never, ever let myself forget what it looks like written on the face of another person.

I must carry this emotion with me while I work, using it in every choice I make, to make sure that this is the goal we are looking toward. There are many important moments in life, but the little moments of joy are what bring life to the magic of every day. Without them, our lives would be a never-ending slog from one milestone to the next. I can provide all of the resources and education in the world, but if I cannot help my moms to find that spark in the little moments, I have failed them.

That is my call to action for you today, friends. Go make little moments of magic for the people you love, so that they may make them for others. Pass that magic on throughout the world like your survival depends on it. I’m fairly certain that it does.