My role models

"Grown folk" have a tendency to underestimate the empathy, generosity, and determination of a child. We've all done it. I'm happy to report that the Miller kids (and many, many other kids in our community) are schooling the grown ups. And when I say schooling, I really mean showin' 'em how it's done.

Over the past two days, my sweet, smart Javi has amazed me. He held the flashlight while I combed through our attic for clothing donations (before power was restored), helped carry in bags and boxes at donation sites (and not just our donations, but also those of other people who came in after us), and spent hours sorting and bagging up toiletries for us to deliver to the areas in need.

When I asked him if he'd like to go to a friend's house or hang at home to get a break from the volunteer work, he begged me to let him keep helping. In fact, he asked when we were going to go clear land and remove debris. Apparently, we weren't volunteering hard enough thought we fed 70 people, got 3 pallets full of tarps delivered to distribution points, collected boxes of Easter basket supplies (for a drive we're co-running), and delivered 40 kits (with another 60 delivered by our network).

And then there's Bella, who proved her baby years are behind her. She has mostly played with other children at the different work sites and helped with light labor -- up until tonight. We spent four hours at a church that's servicing a hard-to-reach area with intense devastation and little Bella spent a good portion of that time working.

I'm talking removing toiletries from their packaging, sorting the toiletries by category, and making kits to deliver. Homegirl can bag up a mean baby or little girl kit (because you know those are the ones she insisted she make). When it was time for us to leave, she did so only on the condition that we come right back for breakfast.

All this to say: They are an inspiration to me. No bickering, no whining, and no begging. Just a ready smile and an urge to help. For our family, this is healing. We volunteer, we help, we make it happen. When we got lunch taken care of for workers and families, Javi threw his hands up and exclaimed, "I sure am glad we figured that out! Do we know who's bringing dinner?"

I couldn't be more proud.

(Please note that we will be attending a trauma/grief counseling session as a family tomorrow night. Javi and Bella seem to be working through their issues by talking about it a lot with us and our network of friends who are also helping. This is somewhat normal to them because we volunteer often as a family, but I know we all need some special mental- and emotional-health services right now.)

***To aid my town of Sanford in Lee County NC, you can make online donations to the Lee County American Red Cross via the Lee County United Way's website. Use zip code 27330. You will not be charged any fees and 100 percent of this donation goes to the local Red Cross.

***Amazing professional photographs available here and here.

***This week only, you can access our local paper -- The Sanford Herald -- online for free. They are doing an amazing job with coverage!


  • Unknown

    Those beautiful kiddos have a wonderful heart and are very lucky because they have a great role model of a mom :)

  • The BookWorm Lady

    What great children you have! I am sure they got their attitude and helping spirit from great parents.

  • Draft Queen

    Such amazing kids you have!

  • Liz Mays

    You are raising some pretty wonderful kids. I love what you're doing to help.

  • Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri

    This is awesome. It's funny how the healing takes over when we help others. I am glad you got to capture both of them helping.

  • Cathy Reaves

    I am so far behind in my reader! I need to catch up but what a great attitude your kids have. Mine would definitely be bickering, at least with each other. Perhaps they truly understand the gravity of the situation and are responding as such.

  • Katie Jones

    Bella and Javi are so kind-hearted and altruistic. That is so powerful for them to see you all - as a family - supporting your neighbors and helping your community.

  • ayala

    Kelly, this is great. Your kids are amazing and they learned it from you! :) Hang in there.

  • HynesMom

    Hi, Kelly,
    I'm so behind on reading blogs thanks to new meds and an busier than normal schedule. So I totally missed the fact that your town was affected by the tornados! I'm so sorry your community has had to deal with this, but I'm glad that your family and your home are all right.

    We are survivors of Katrina, so we definitely understand. We were not here (I'm a big fan of evacuating) but our house did get 6 feet of water, so I know how devastating it can be. Big kudos to you and the kids for helping out! It's strange to think of a "best part" of a disaster, yet it's true: the best part is the way it brings people together.

  • Cheryl

    With kids like yours, Kelly, I feel good about the future being in their hands.

  • Justine

    Kids really do surprise us with their fortitude sometimes. You are right to be a proud mama. I would be too. Hope all is well my friend.

  • BigLittleWolf

    Really incredible, Kelly. Your kids are learning by example - obviously.

  • Anonymous

    And you are ALL an inspiration to me. Wow. Just wow.

  • Sofia's Ideas

    Kelly, I'm just crying and crying and crying right now. I came here, to your blog, to catch up with what I've missed since my hiatus. I had no idea what I would find here. I read your last few posts and my emotions are all over the place. Yes, some of it is hormonal [;)], but mostly my heart aches for you, your loved ones, and all those touched by these events. But my heart is also filled with inspiration and hope because of what you shared, and how you shared it.
    Thank you, Kelly. You & your family are an inspiration to us all...

  • Kristy

    I found your blog through the Kitchen Witch - something about kale - and have truly been touched by your writings. The tornadoes ripped through our little town of Holly Springs that same afternoon. The way each affected community has bound together to help has restored my faith in humanity.

  • Hyacynth

    Kelly, I am praying for your community, and I am lifting you all up in prayer. Aside from donating money and prayer, can I help in any way? If there's a need a far-away blogger can meet, I'd be so willing to do whatever it takes.

    Love your kids' hearts. Love your heart. Thinking of you, my friend. A lot.

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