On Saturday my husband and I took our family to the Long Island Children’s Museum to see The Bari Koral Family Band. We knew of the band because — two years ago — we purchased tickets to a family music concert series at the museum. As part of that series we received a CD that featured four or five songs from each of the six concerts. We’ve been singing along to that CD since the day we picked it up. Now all three of us (the baby gets a pass for a little while) know all the words to Gustafer Yellowgold‘s I Jump on Cake (adorable song!), as well as Louie Miranda‘s Mama Juana and Bari Koral’s Backpack Song. The Bari Koral Family Band, along with the other musicians on the CD, plays music that an adult can listen to and actually enjoy. Which is why I was thrilled to see Bari coming back our way.
We arrived at the theater extra early so we could sit in the front row. (LICM is first come, first served seating.) And there we sat for the entire show, singing every song we knew, and beaming that Little Girl, our 17-month-old, not only loved it, but sat there clapping and beaming, too, while our big girl went up on stage for a dance contest. The best moment, however, was when, during the concert, Little Girl reached over all on her own and took her big sister’s hand. And held it. Then Big Girl curled her fingers around her sister’s little hand, and they sat there like that. After months of sibling rivalry, they were one. No, it wasn’t the first beautiful moment they’ve had — there have been plenty — but it was the first one that happened without any input from us. I probably don’t have to explain how I felt at that exact moment.
Wanting to capture more of that good feeling, once the show ended I figured I would go buy the new CD for the girls. Besides, as members, we only paid $3 per ticket, and I wanted to support the arts. But it didn’t work out that way.
As people filed out, I went up to the CD table with both kids. We were both completely tapped out of cash. I literally had $.05 in my pocketbook. Chris had even less. But I was hoping they took credit cards. They didn’t. We were disappointed when we saw it was cash only. (Bari would have taken a check, too, but I never carry a checkbook, either.) We walked away, but then I had another idea. I walked back and asked if Santa could buy the CD via e-mail or the band’s Web site. Bari, who was standing there signing CDs and chatting with the other families looked over, took one of her CDs off the stack, and handed it to me. “Go ahead, enjoy. Thanks for coming to the show.” I was embarrassed, but also really touched. She cared enough about my girls to just give me her latest CD. For free. And it isn’t even out yet! And she had already done so much for me. I thanked her profusely, and walked away feeling really, really good. It wasn’t just the CD, of course. I was still on a high from watching my girls interact at the show.
Later that day I was still thinking about that concert and the CD. It was then that I realized that Bari gave me more than just a CD. By bringing my girls together, she inadvertently gave me an edict to do something nice for someone else. I could use the kind gesture as the impetus to pay it forward. Which is why somewhere, somehow this week I am going to make sure I make someone else feel as good as her impromptu gift — and her show — made me feel.
It’s Monday. Just think how amazing this week would be if everyone reading this blog did one random act of kindness for someone. And then that someone they touched did something for someone else, too. And, as the Breck girl said, it would keep going; And so on and so on and so on. It doesn’t have to cost anything. You don’t have to identify yourself. You can do something simple and small.
I know, you might be thinking this is a very self-absorbent blog post. Maybe. And maybe you might think this is a stupid, dated idea. I’d stop you there, though. Yes, there have been movies inspired by this idea. And books and bumper stickers and Reader’s Digest magazine stories. But I think kindness is something that we really can’t have enough of in our world. And it often starts with one hand reaching out to another.
Have you ever been the happy recipient of someone paying it forward? Have you ever been the payer? I’d love to hear your stories.