I love creating healthy recipes, but you know what I love even more? Happy stories. I’m that person who spends an hour sobbing over YouTube videos about once-abused animals who are thriving after adoption or military dads hugging their kiddos after a long deployment.
I also cry when I read sad stories, but those tears are different. My heart hurts as I scroll through news stories about parents who took the lives of their own children or ex-boyfriends who violated restraining orders to harm their former lovers.
Life is scary sometimes, ya’ll. There are days when I have to pull myself away from the laptop or smartphone in an attempt to preserve my sanity. Sometimes I get physically sick after reading the terrible things people do to one another.
But the world isn’t always awful, and there are many thoughtful, caring people who quietly execute incredible acts of kindness. That’s why I want to share a happy story about a very special little boy.
Who exactly is this little boy, and how do I know him?
His name is Max, and I’ve been blessed with the chance to be his mom since 2010.
On November 26th, I posted the following status on Facebook:
“Max’s birthday is coming up, and he’s worried he won’t get any birthday cards. Birthday cards are his favorite thing, and he likes them even more than presents.
If your kids (or you) are feeling crafty and want to send him one, I’ll give you our address. He’s not picky – you could write Happy Birthday in pencil on a sheet of notebook paper, and he’d love it. If you aren’t crafty, the dollar store sells cards for $0.50 lol. Thanks!”
I have awesome friends and family members, so I figured I’d receive 10 or 20 responses. Of those 10 or 20 responses, I expected about 50% of the people to actually follow through.
Which is fine, for the record. Life gets hectic and stressful sometimes, and I’m not mad if you have to retract your original offer to mail a card.
I was expecting a maximum of 20 offers, but my post received around 50 comments. I also received private messages from numerous Facebook friends.
But wait…it gets better.
Some of those friends told their friends about Max’s birthday. They shared info about Max with their families, youth groups, and coworkers.
I guess that’s why Max has received more than 100 birthday cards as of December 15th.
He’s got handmade cards and store-bought cards. There are cards with Disney characters and cards with colorful balloons. Some of the cards have glitter and stickers. He’s got cards from kids younger than him and cards from senior citizens.
All of the cards are beautiful, and Max loves every one of them.
I didn’t tell my son about the post, so he was super excited – and surprised – when the first card arrived:
The next day, he received 17 cards. 17 CARDS!!!
As he opened the cards, he excitedly declared, “This is the best day of my life!”
The cards kept coming.
I bought Max a special notebook with clear dividers to store his cards, and we printed out a map to track the location of each card.
Watching Max open the cards became a fun activity for our whole family. Even the cats enjoyed it.
A few people sent Max some money, which surprised me. He received around $20, which he happily spent on a Minecraft toy he’d been wanting for a while. He also bought a small toy for his brother.
He received cards from our home state, as well as cards from places like Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, and even Canada! Max was so excited to get a card from a different country.
I’m thankful that all of these people helped make my son’s birthday amazing. However, I have a confession: I actually wrote this blog post months ago, but I saved it in draft mode until the holiday season ended. There are tons of happy stories around Christmas, and I love reading them – but by the time January rolls around, I’m typically bombarded with tons of depressing or anger-inciting stuff from the media. I wanted to save this story until I – and maybe even you – needed a reminder that there are plenty of good people in the world. Today is that day.
I usually just blog about food, but sometimes it’s nice to talk about life outside of the kitchen. Thanks for listening.