It may have gone unnoticed by some, and for others, it may have flown like a red flag. At the end of the last pay cycle, I still had some cash left over that went unreported.
The day before Mother's Day, one of my ideas for "family support" at church came to fruition. I am a member of Church of the Red Rocks, a UCC community perched atop a hill overlooking Sedona. As my late mother-in-law said after her first visit there (before we were members), "If you get bored with the sermon, you can always look out the window." To her, hearing God's word while staring at a lofty view of the Red Rocks was the best place to go to church ever. After her passing last summer, we decided to join the church, and every Sunday, as I look out onto the Red Rocks, I think of her and feel her there.
Shortly after our joining the church, I was approached by the Sunday School coordinator. She wanted to brainstorm with me on ideas for their church to show support and encourage the younger families in Sedona. One of the ideas I shared with her was a parents' night out. After proposing several of our brainstorm ideas to a committee, they agree that a "Parents' Afternoon Out" would be their first step. If that was a success, they could move on to the more challenging evening time for a "night out".
They thought that scheduling it the day before Mother's Day would be good for parents and easily marketed. As it turned out, it wasn't. I created a facebook event page and made it open invitation, yet everyone was otherwise occupied that specific weekend. I felt desperate to find somebody who would be able to drop their kids off so that mine would not be the only ones there. I very much wanted to encourage these older folks who planned and took time out of their Saturday to host this event. I wanted to see the efforts of my church reap some benefit.
I noticed that my best friend had not responded to the invitation on facebook the day before the event, so I sent her a message asking her if she planned to drop off her son. She replied that she hadn't planned on it, but that she would. And then something magical happened. My best friend and I realized that we would be completely child-free to hang out together! What a Mother's Day treat! She had been stressed out about her closet for a few weeks leading up to this; she is pregnant and needs to add in her maternity clothes and take out her winter clothes. So we planned to work on her closet together for the afternoon while the kids played at church.
I will admit, I was a little nervous about leaving Lily there. She still suffers from "stranger danger" and cries if anyone but a familiar face holds her. I brought a CD with her favorite song to play as well as her stroller. It's her "safe zone". During the two hours that we were gone, not only did Lily not cry, but the boys played nicely AND we were able to completely reorganize my best friend's closet. We stopped at Circle K for drinks and snacks before hand. It was $4.00 Fun Dollars well spent.
The icing on the cake was when we picked up the kids. Hearing a glowing report from the women there put my nervous mom-heart at ease. They were so thrilled to have been able to play with the kids that it didn't matter that there were only three of them there. They were so excited and spurred on by the success of this parent's time that they want to host another one. And all of my friends who couldn't make it have shared with me their enthusiasm for another one that they can actually attend. But that's not even the best part! As we left from picking up the kids, the coordinator handed me a stack of movie pass vouchers to hand out to all of my friends who couldn't make it. That means that me and my friends all get to enjoy the Summer Movies for Kids at the Harkins Theater for free! So every Friday morning, at 9:00 a.m. I will have a movie date with my kiddos.
From the seeds planted by my mother-in-law about Church of the Red Rocks to a girl's day out to summer movies with the kids, one word, one thought can have a huge effect. And that's how $4.00 Fun Dollars created one of the best Mother's Day weekends I can remember.