By: Heather West
When is the last time you made someone smile? Making a person’s day who would have otherwise had a bad day is something that gives us the energy to keep going. Every day I wake up and think, “in what way will I make someone smile today?” and I excitedly wait for opportunities to present themselves. These Random Acts of Kindness are all inspired by our amazing daughter, Adalyn, who was a Congenital Heart Defect warrior and inspires us every day to make people smile the way she made us smile.
As much as I love doing Random Acts of Kindness, sadly I have to admit it hasn’t always been my passion. When we found out our daughter was very sick, we started the longest journey of our lives. We stopped everything and lived in a hospital, never leaving our angel’s side for eight months. As the hours turned into weeks and months, it seemed every day we found ourselves on the receiving end of some amazing Random Acts of Kindness; this kindness had a way of turning even our hardest days around.
One Random Act of Kindness after another, we became inspired.
When living in a hospital with a very sick child, there are many days when you don’t have any hope left, and out of nowhere we would be blessed with a Random Act of Kindness from an amazing group of Team Adalyn supporters. These blessings were not always from friends and family. Sometimes they were from complete strangers, other heart moms, or an adorable child. All of these people were so selfless and took time out of their day just to make us smile. It is something that got us through three open heart surgeries, eight months of living in a hospital, and nearly a year of trying to navigate life after child loss. Some of these blessings were large and some very small, but each of them we felt in our souls. Every day we are reminded how loved Adalyn is and the many lives she has changed. Our lives have been so immensely impacted by our beautiful girl with her sparkling eyes and matching hair bows. With all we witnessed our little girl go through, we couldn’t help but to change others lives through her journey.
The truth is, you never know what someone is going through in life.
When your world seems to be crashing down, it’s amazing how something as simple as a text, a phone call, a meal, or a smile from a mom who understands can give you the courage to face just one more minute.
In honor of our beautiful daughter, we came up with a way to spread Random Acts of Kindness. We made little cards that say “Add a blessing, Add a smile, ADALYN”. We use these cards to spread Random Acts of Kindness, Love, Smiles, and Sparkle. Our hope is to encourage everyone to make someone’s day. Send that text, make that phone call, or simply make someone smile just by talking to them. I would love for everyone to be on the receiving end of the ‘Add A Blessing’ cards, but if not, I encourage you to make someone else’s day, and hopefully they will be inspired to pass it on.
The truth is, you never know what someone is going through in life. That waitress that was not the friendliest may have just buried her child and was forced to return to work. Tip her anyway and try to make her smile. That guy who cut you off in traffic could be rushing to the hospital to see his wife before she dies. Give him a little grace and send a kind thought his way. That co-worker, who is so rude may have just been diagnosed with cancer and is trying to imagine life in her new “normal”. Try to find a way to take something off her plate. You truly never know the battles people fight each day, and the impact you can make by simply being kind. You could be the reason they decide to carry on one moment longer.
It doesn’t cost a thing to be kind.
We live in a world where everyone’s first concern is themselves and chasing down that American dream. But the truth is, fancy cars and large bank accounts are not the American dream after all. Slowing down, enjoying the small things and being a friend to someone in their darkest moments is the best kind of American dream. I must admit, before our daughter, I believed I was a good person, but my heart was definitely focused in the wrong places. I am thankful every day that she came along and rocked me to my core. She changed my entire soul and made me a mom. She inspired us to start this mission of Random Acts of Kindness in her name. To watch her story spread throughout the world has been one of our greatest joys. When we get a note saying someone received a blessing card and it put a smile on their face or changed the course of their day, it is something we truly cherish. At times it takes my breath away to think all of this started with a tiny 6lb 5oz little girl with a special heart. If everyone reading this did one Random Act of Kindness, imagine the change we could make in the world. Imagine the smiles you could put on someone’s face and the many lives you could change. Our hope is that our daughter is watching over us and is very proud.
If Adalyn was still here we know she would ask….
WHO WILL YOU MAKE SMILE TODAY?
I am a hairstylist and love making people feel good about themselves. I am a wife, daughter, sister, and best friend, but of all the titles given to me, heart mom is the most important. My husband and I have been married for almost 8 years and have spent the majority of our time together building a strong foundation and traveling the world. In 2016 we got pregnant with our first daughter and could not wait to be parents. Upon birth we found our daughter was very sick and instantly we became a heart family. We spent 8 months fighting for her life and we are trying to navigate through our grief and try to help people along the way .