Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Kindness of Strangers

The first week postpartum was rough... McKay was doing a lot, especially since meals hadn't been set up yet and so he was making dinner along with doing laundry and kids and errands. But this week was a little easier. I had set up a meal train to bring us meals. I collected the emails of people who had offered us food and put those into the meal train and let people pick which day was good for them. The meal train emails were mostly people from my blessingway and the homeschool group we're in.

My friend Ashley* had signed up to bring us a meal for last night. Ashley is in the homeschool group and her two youngest are the ages of Margaret and Isaac. We see each other a lot. I hadn't heard from her all day about the meal and wondered if I should call her, but I didn't. Right around 5:45 I got an email from Ashley explaining that she'd be late because her two year old daughter took a late nap and her husband was still on the BART on the way home from work.

Except... Ashley's two year old is a boy. And her husband works for the school district and does not take the BART home.

Slow realization: when I collected the emails, I copied the email of a different Ashley. And now a stranger I don't know was bringing me dinner. I was mortified.

McKay kept assuring me that it was an honest mistake. I don't know the last names of many of the families in the homeschool group- we're all on a first name basis, we're not work associates! The intended Ashley's children all have insect-related names* and this other Ashley's last name was Starburst*. I just assumed it was the same Ashley because hey, hippie names! And yeah, I know what happens when you assume...

After receiving that email, I responded, "It's ok," and spent the next couple of hours like this:

Who is this Ashley? I didn't know there were two Ashleys! Where is she from? I hope she's not from SF or the south bay and she's travelling all the way to our house and I don't even know her! And because of my mistake, there's an person worried and stressed about getting dinner to us on time. I am so embarrassed. What did I do?! I caused another family stress because of my incompetence and trouble with names. Life fail. Repeat ad infinitum. 

And yes, that lasted for two hours. I did go through the back emails on the homeschool list and discovered that she is from Richmond, so the drive wasn't terrible, but still!

Right before 8 o'clock, she showed up at our house. I sort-of recognized her. It'd been months since we've been at the same homeschool activity; she has a teenager and so they do more of the teen activities while I go to more of the younger-children-oriented activities. So at least I recognized her. Yes? That's sort-of good?

I need a day off from life.

*names and name-themes changed for privacy


  1. I love it! She sounds like someone to befriend; not many people would make a meal for a vague acquaintance, I think.

  2. That story made my day


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