If you’ll indulge me just a moment, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for the many random acts of kindness experienced by my family starting August 29, 2005 and lasting until we were back on our own eight feet again. Most of these people did much more than what I’m mentioning here but we’d be here another eight years if I listed every single kindness.
Thanks, Residence Inn, for opening your bar to everybody. And for the Frito pie. Without it, I would have eaten nothing that day.
Thanks, Houston Children’s Museum, for letting my kids pass a stress-free afternoon on you.
Thanks, Molly, for not only giving us your home for nine months, but for making the acquisition of a new nebulizer for then-respiratorily-challenged Vivien an immediate priority.
Thanks, Dr. I-Forgot-Your-Name, for hearing our family’s story and making my son’s pneumonia crisis at Halloween your personal problem to solve.
Thanks, Tom, for understanding that Dave needed a car. And getting him one.
Thanks, Mom, for taking a job in Baton Rouge and helping literally to sponsor Dean’s entire kindergarten experience.
Thanks, teacher at my son’s school, for giving my kids more books than we had before the hurricane.
Thanks, Wedding Crashers, for being the first thing Dave and I did for ourselves (at my parents’ urging) in the midst of the chaos. It was the only time I laughed during those first few weeks. And it was for a straight 128 minutes.
Thanks, Dad, for hugging me the time I cried uncontrollably in the middle of the night.
Thanks, Chris & Georgia, for waiting in that long, hot line for Food Stamps. And then turning around and handing them to us.
Thanks, Caterie (the hole in the wall where Dave and I met), for comping our dinner after you learned where we came from.
Thanks, Kenny and Kara, for driving down from Atlanta, suiting up in trash clothes and braving our flooded property to retrieve an armload of belongings.
Thanks, Runnels School, for providing my boy the best Kindergarten away from home that he could have possibly had.
Thanks, JT, for immediately offering to share your locker with my nervous child when there weren’t enough for the new kindergartner who suddenly found himself enrolled in your school.
Thanks, Jeff, for all the clothes, toys and other goodies that you couldn’t stop yourself from purchasing for the kids.
Thanks, Mickey, for picking up the reigns and hosting holiday after holiday when no one else could.
Thanks, Amy and David, for arranging for Vivien to attend St. John’s Pre-School. And then paying her tuition.
Thanks, Architecture firm in Arizona, for helping us to purchase a new piano, amongst other things.
Thanks, old Lakeview friends, for helping us celebrate Dean’s 6th birthday at a park shelter in Baton Rouge.
Thanks, Mound City Elementary School in Missouri, for literally adopting my family. (I still have your school newspaper from when you announced the project.)
Thanks, Elise, for opening the back of your boutique to me to just go shopping.
Thanks, Troy, for the video camera to help us capture all of our new (post-Katrina) memories.
Thanks, anonymous family, who sent us money.
Thanks, Keri & Cheston, for sending box after box of stuff to share with another family.
Thanks, Lisa, for the Target shopping spree.
Thanks, Little Church on Jefferson Highway, who gave me groceries for several weeks.
Thanks, Whitney & Ricky, who showed up in our borrowed driveway with bikes for my kids.
Thanks, Red Cross, who bandaged my bleeding hand when I mangled it sifting it through my flooded house.
Thanks, Church Group from Somewhere in America, who gutted my Lakeview home for free.
* * * * * * * * * *
And thanks to the countless others who sent gifts or money, grabbed a check, watched my children, fed my family or just held my hand during that difficult period. Your kindness will never be forgotten. And I will spend the rest of my life trying to pay it back and, even more importantly, to pay it forward.