I always ask friends and family to perform a Random Act of Kindness (RAK) on March 7th and this year was the 8th Anniversary of Lauren’s passing. They never fail to accept the mission… to make my heart happy and brighten the day of the person/s who receives their act of love and kindness. I heard from several friends and the ways they “showed the love” was as unique and various as they are. Andrea gave homemade peach jam to her co-workers. Denise put a beautiful plant in her local park. Elizabeth blew debris off her neighbors driveways and sidewalks. Ben donated to an organization that helps young mothers and babies. Can you imagine the smile on the faces of those who benefited from these fabulous acts of kindness and love? I can. I know there were more RAK’s that went unspoken, I had some too, and those are just as awesome and special as the ones I heard about. Thank you all for spreading love and kindness.
By the time it came to me, on March 7th, it was too late to implement my RAK. I didn’t make it out to the Ellen Trout Zoo in time before they closed…so I went the next day. As it turns out it was the perfect day to go. It was a beautiful, sunny, spring day. I noticed lots of families, at the zoo, enjoying their outing. I went to the ticket window and told the young woman there I wanted to pre-pay for some admissions, some RAK’s for people entering the zoo, in memory of my daughter. She thought that was a wonderful idea and wanted me to write down my name and info so she could tell the Zoo Directors about this. I told her that I knew them, Charlotte & Gordon Henley, as I had volunteered at the zoo before and my kids participated in camps there. As I was writing down my info, a family of 3 generations walked up…3 young children, 2 parents and 2 grandparents. I nodded to the woman that I wanted to pay their admission. She gave them a total and said it was already paid for by me, in memory of my daughter. I really didn’t want them to know but it was ok that she told. They thanked me, said what a great way to honor her memory and gave their condolences. We chatted a few more minutes and I learned they were from out-of-state. I took a family picture, inside the zoo, so everyone could be in the shot. (you know from past posts, that it is my “thing” to do for others) The kids were making “silly faces” and I made a deal with them. “Let me take two, nice smiling faces… then we could do the silly one”. It worked and of course the kiddo’s liked the “silly face” picture better because the whole family had a goofy face going on. I went back to the window and chatted with the woman about Lauren. There was money left over for more families to enjoy their day at our fantastic little zoo and that made my heart happy.
For many years the Ellen Trout Zoo has done educational summer camps for elementary kids, Zoo Safari, to learn about animals and conservation. I helped with those camps when I was an Active in Jr League and it was one of my favorite “jobs”. When you are in Jr High you can apply, for a limited number of spots, to be a Jr. Zoo Keeper for a 2 week period during the summer. The kids get to work with the animals, feed them and go with the staff “behind the scenes” in the habitats. Both Lauren and Taylor enjoyed participating in both of these programs that the Henley’s started. They have been Directors at the zoo for over 30 yrs and our zoo has won many awards from their and the staff’s hard work.
Lauren hated bugs/insects that flew… like june bugs, “skeeter eaters”, moths, bumble bees…pretty much any flying bug. She would run, scream and do anything, including push someone in the bug’s path, to get away from the bug…lol. In Jr Zookeeper you got to pick two areas you wanted to work in and one of her choices was always the Snake House. That girl played with snakes, non-poisonous and under supervision, but was so afraid of flying bugs….go figure….lol.