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Monday, 14 December 2015

Bilbo It Up

At 2:32am my 8-year-old son came in with a screaming headache. I put him back to bed with a big glass of water and stroked his hair until he fell back to sleep.

It was 4:36am when I woke to the sound of the boy puking. He's a good puker - calm, tried to catch it in his hands, made it to the toilet for the rest of it - a sweet boy. He's sleeping again in the other bed. The dog is curled against him to keep him warm, and he'll be staying home from school today. 

Cleaning up puke at 4:30am is generally a guarantee of wakefulness, but I wasn't ready to turn on the computer yet, so I checked e-mail on my phone and then flipped to Facebook. Pat Rothfuss had a new blog post - a long one - so I settled in to read.

Here's the blog, so you can follow along with my train of thought.

Now, I've already donated to Worldbuilders this year - a couple of times - and between the money and the books and the Tuckerization in the auction, and the fact that property taxes just got paid, and it's Christmas, I was pretty much done.

And then I thought about my morning. I thought about the clean drinking water I'd given my son, and the warm bed he slept in with the dog. I thought about medicine I could give him if he needed it, and the excellence of his school. I thought about the books I read to him every night, and the ones he reads to himself. 

And then I thought that I could give some more, so someone else's child might have clean water, access to medicine, a bed to sleep in, a school to attend, and books to read.

The thing about giving is that it doesn't have to be a lot. It can be a thousand dollars, or it can be ten. It could plant a grove of fruit trees, or it could buy some chickens so kids can have an egg for breakfast. The thing about Worldbuilders is it's not about how much you give, it's that you give. Whatever you can. As many times as you're able, or even just once.

So, I bought a couple of last minute Christmas presents from the Worldbuilders store, gave a straight donation, and then I went outside with my chipped toenail polish (it's a chick thing to care about the appearance of one's toes), and my camera, and I took this photo.

And then I posted it on twitter, with the #BilboItUp hashtag. Go there, look it up, see all the feet (my favorite is the baby feet in the unzipped snuggly), and know that every one of those people decided to give to Worldbuilders today. Their money is unlocking $200k in matching funds, and whether they gave before, or this is the first time, their giving counts.

There's something pretty magical that happens when you do something good for someone else - a little lightness lifts your heart, a little brightness fills your day. And when you take off your shoes and step outside in the cold, knowing you just made a difference in the world, there's a little sense that anything - anything at all - is possible.

When my son wakes up, he'll crawl into bed where I'm working, and I'll show him the pictures of people's feet, and tell him about the ducks we just bought for some kids who might not have had enough to eat today. We'll talk about animals for a while, and he'll think of something else to get his brother for Christmas, and then he'll read himself to sleep again while I edit. And I'll think about how very lucky I am to be his mom, to be a reader and a writer doing what I love to do, to know such incredibly generous people, and to be part of the Worldbuilders community, 

And maybe you'll join me there, in that community of givers. Or maybe you're already there and you'll give ten more dollars. And then you'll go outside, kick off your shoes, and take your own photo.

Go ahead, do it. Bilbo it up.