1) I love sleep
2) Why would I want to spend a Friday off of work crammed into a store with a million other people?
3) Historically all of my Black Fridays have been spent in places where the weather this time of the year can be summed up as "snowy" and I don't like being cold.
4) I don't have any money to spend
The last one may seem downright Un-American but my fear of eating dog food for my whole retirement outweighs my love of cheap goods at bargain prices.
This year was a little different. The church I belong to has this really amazing women's group called the Relief Society. The purpose of the Relief Society is to do just like what it sounds like: provide relief. As a group we recently read a really inspiring book about the kinds of things that women who belonged to the organization had done in times past (which included starting a hospital to specifically serve women and the disabled, raising wheat that would be sent to Europe after World War 2 to feed the starving people etc, etc etc). After our discussion about the book one of the women in the group raised her hand and said, "This book made me want to get to work. I haven't done anything worthy of being written about in this book."
So we decided that we are going to do our best to be book-worthy.
We still don't have a long term relief-providing project picked out (or even thought up. We are taking suggestions) but until we do we are busying ourselves providing relief in smaller less book-worthy ways. This Christmas we are providing care kits for families who will have to be in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on Christmas. One of the women in our group had a baby born at 23 weeks. Charlotte lived in the NICU for 7 months (you wouldn't know it now). Another one of the women works at the NICU so it's a cause that's near to our hearts.
Our very own Claire spent her first 7 days in the NICU.
Hands down, the worst 7 days of my life.
I had a baby born at 41 weeks gestation. She weighed 7lbs 15oz and I knew that her stay in the NICU would be a short one (her next door neighbor only weighed 4 lbs) and it was STILL an awful experience. The nurses were nice, the doctors were kind but walking away from the hospital and leaving my brand new baby there with an IV taped to her head and an oxygen tube was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
On Saturday we have a service extravaganza to make everything that will be needed for the care packages. We will be busy making baby leg warmers, blankets, silky soothing blankets and crinkly toys. We're trying to make 40 of each. Our children are making the cards to go with the packages*.
Making all of those crafty things requires a lot of crafty materials. And the one thing that could get me out of my bed and to the mall before 8 is the thought of those babies in the NICU and their moms whose hearts are breaking and who have to walk away from their brand new babies on Christmas day. So for my very first Black Friday experience I hit up Joann's Fabric. I geared myself up for pushing ladies out of the way to get all of the flannel I needed and I loaded up my purse with snacks.
Totally unnecessary. The cutting-line was long but you just had to take a number and wait your turn (which took about an hour). The employees were nice and everyone in line was discussing their next project. And believe you me, when it came to buying fabric in bulk I had nothing on those ladies (yes, that is one lady's cart and pile on the counter).
Would I do it again?
Only if there's a group of babies who need our help.
*If any of you are interested in joining us for the baby-supply-making extravaganza just email me. We could always use another pair of hands.