Today at 4:00 I had ten 8-11 year old girls at my house--- beating down the door, chasing Maverick around, trying to win June's heart. They came because I invited them. I think.
As part of my church group twice a month I get together with this gaggle of girls and a couple other adults to do some kind of activity. It's basically the equivalent of cub scouts but no crummy merit badges required.
Today our activity was to decorate sugar cookies, make cards, and take them to people who we thought might be lonely or just need a little extra love this Valentine's Day. I was a little scared to attempt this activity because 1) sugar cookies are a ton work 2) 8 year olds are not exactly notorious for being able to frost sugar cookies and 3) we only had an hour to do all this in. It was just all so ambitious. I kept trying to think of an easier activity to do for today but my heart kept coming back to this one. Fine, you win stupid heart.
That meant that this morning I was up with June making dough and this afternoon found us rolling out sheet after sheet of heart shaped sugar cookies. The girls arrived in typical energetic fashion right on time and in a moment my house was a wild zoo. That's the thing about eight year olds. No one arrives fashionably late.
Before we decorated the cookies and made the cards we sat down for a second so we could have a three minute "lesson". I was so touched by how sweet the girls were when I told them the purpose of the activity today. I talked about how holidays are awesome and fun, yes, but sometimes they can be kind of hard or painful for some people. "Why do you think that is?" I asked.
One girl raised her hand,
"Maybe they don't have a lot of family or friends close by so they feel kind of lonely."
Another girl wanted a chance to speak,
"Maybe they recently had someone in their family die and that holiday meant a lot with that person. So now that that person is gone the holiday doesn't feel the same and it is sad for them."
I was pretty floored at these girls' responses. Sometimes I think our whole world is going straight down the tube, but then I listen to 8 year olds and they've got it all figured out so maybe there's hope for us after all.
Next it was decorating (too much frosting! too little frosting!) and sprinkling (woah! don't put the whole can of sprinkles on one cookie!) and card making (how do you spell Valentine's?) I was so freaking touched by the girls' cards. One girl wrote,
I love you!
I love you!
Happy Valentine's Day. I'm going to say it one more time--- I love you!
Sheesh. Eight year olds, man.
Cookie plates and love notes ready to go.
Last but not least was our doorbell ditching effort. The girls were SOOOO stoked to doorbell ditch. It was adorable. Like you could see the adrenaline just coursing through their little veins. We hid behind cars and garbage cans while girls went up to doors and dropped off the cookies and cards. We hit up some single moms in our neighborhood, a widower, and people we know who live alone. It was so sweet to see how stinking excited the girls got about it. They tiptoed up to the doorsteps, left their goodies, and then sprinted like mad to make sure no one caught them in the act.
The day was crazy exhausting (never do sugar cookies! chocolate chip cookies ftw) but it felt good to help those girls think about others who might need a little lift. Well. I don't really think it was so much me reminding them, but them reminding me. Eight year old girls got the world figured out, I'm convinced.