giving, donating…what’s the difference? It’s all good.
As soon as Claire jumped from the bottom stair to the landing, a voice rang out, “Hi, Claire! How are you today?”
“Good. I got my orange headband!”
“Good for you! You look awesome!”
Claire proudly posed in her taekwondo uniform in the doorway at Central Blood Bank, beaming.
This is a snippet of a 30 second conversation between Claire and phlebotomist Lori.
I give blood a lot. I give blood often enough that they know Claire. I give blood so frequently that they know that we come on Tuesdays after Claire’s taekwondo class.
I go into the room to tell them that, no, I haven’t had sex with a man who’s had sex with another man in the past. Nor do I shoot up with drugs or have hepatitis. Yes, I’m feeling well today.
While this is going on, Claire sits in her favorite chair and the other ladies serve her apple juice and a cookie or pretzels. Sometimes she gets paper and a pen so she can draw.
Yesterday she drew balloons.
Once the interrogation is over, we both go into the donation room where Claire sits on an office swivel chair and drinks the rest of her juice. Everyone there asks her questions about life, but things they already know about, not just some generic ones.
“Claire, how’s Luca?” “How’s the baby?” “Are you enjoying being a big sister?” “What’s for your birthday, that’s coming up, right?” “What do you want to be for Halloween?” “How’s Crosby’s boo-boo on his brain?”
She keeps conversation while I get a very large needle stuck into my right arm – always my right – and I sit back and watch Claire grow up before my eyes.
Giving blood every two months keeps a busy life-style in check. The phlebotomists and I always say, “I can’t believe it’s already been 2 months!” and then I look to Claire who’s sitting a little taller in the chair, speaks a little clearer and has a wider vocabulary.
Claire constantly impresses me with her level of discipline and patience. She sits in her chair quietly, not complaining, for sometimes 45 minutes, depending on how busy everyone is. For that, I admire the hell out of her. And while everyone comments on what a good girl she is, I know this to be 100% true.
Every two months, I donate blood. And subsequently because of this, I help 3 people. But I don’t walk around chest held high, nose in the air stating I saved lives, even though I totally did. I do it because it’s an hour of my life every two months. That’s only 6 hours a year. And what makes me even happier is that I have a special antibody of sorts in my blood that allows me to donate to neonates and cancer patients who suffer from anemia. I could be saving a baby. And that makes my heart so very happy.
These are the things I want my children to gain from me. I want them to gain good exercise habits, healthful eating and above all to be kind individuals.
Giving blood makes me happy. Going for a long run on my favorite trail makes me happy. Eating free trade swiss chocolate makes me happy. Listening to my kids laugh makes me happy. Snuggling with my husband on the couch after the kids have gone to bed makes me happy.
And all of these things are all natural in my life. I set a goal for what I want, and I make it happen. I make no excuses and I don’t deny myself these things. Life’s too short.
I want to be happy. Bam. Done.