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News from the Nest: At fundraiser, a lesson learned

My family and I recently went to a spaghetti feed and silent auction fundraiser for a local man battling cancer. As we arrived we saw a few people we knew and chatted on our way to get our spaghetti dinner. My daughter likes to have conversation while eating (this is my nice way of saying she talks a lot), and is always the last to finish eating. So before she was done my son and I decided to walk around and look at the silent auction items while my husband stayed with her. My son and I made a loop and I put my name on several items. He had been to a live auction before but never a silent auction so I explained to my eight year old how the process works. He seemed to understand that we may or may not win the prizes and we wouldn’t know that night.

When we got back to our table my daughter was just finishing her meal and excitedly said “Mommy! Let’s go see what the prizes are!” Oh no, I thought, here we go! So my five year old and I began walking around the tables of prizes. Of course the very first item was pink and her eyes lit up. “Mommy! Can we get that, please?” She begged. So I explained to her that if I put my name down I may or may not get the prize. It all would depend on if someone put their name after mine. So I put my name down on the pink “back-to-school” bag and she beamed with victory.

As we continued on past some “boring adult stuff” she would question me when I wrote my name down. “Why do you want that?” she would say. Then I would explain to her what the item was and why I liked it. And of course every item that either was for kids or was pink or purple she begged for me to put her name down. I didn’t always oblige, but the few times I said I would she stared at the paper until she was confident I had followed her request.

About half way through the tables I noticed something. Every item had a sheet with a pen to make it easy for the attendees to place a bid. The pens had covers which were of course placed at the back end of the pen so all you had to do was pick up the pen and write. Well my daughter, who is my little organizer at home (except for her bedroom of course) was putting all the covers back on the pens. At one point she even asked me to slow down so she could keep up with her obsessiveness. One time I noticed she found two covers by one pen. Since she couldn’t find the other pen she put both covers on the one pen, one on each end. In that instance my mind raced 4 years into the future and all I could think about was her doing her hair before school. If she’s concerned about the pens being perfectly organized with covers on, what’s she going to be like as a pre-teen and on? Yikes!

With the covers safely on all the pens we finally wrapped up my second pass of the silent auction items. Now it was time to take home all of our prizes, or so my daughter thought! Her heart was crushed when I said it was time to leave. She wanted to stay to the end and collect her winnings! With hesitation she left the event with us.

As I write this story today I’ve been notified that I won a few of the auction items, including the pink back-to-school bag. My daughter is going to be thrilled! But before I give her the bag I’m going to explain to her why we were at the fundraiser. That her “winning” the pink bag actually helped a family going through some really hard times.

- Stephanie Lauritsen