Living on a rock in Alaska, you don't have access to too much shopping. Ok, so we have a Walmart and a Safeway and a Salvation Army. YAY! [note the extreme sarcasm] Yes, a baby/maternity boutique recently opened in town, but I'm not one to spend $70 on a pair of jeans, much less on some that I would wear for a few months. Alas, that wasn't even an option for me while I was pregnant last year.
I was blessed by so many people in the community who passed down many of their baby items and clothes. I was on the recieving end of a bassinett, maternity clothes, baby clothes, swings, walker, exersaucer, baby clothes, a high chair, did I mention baby clothes? Seriously, you should see the clothes these kids have. I feel like I'm swimming in them. When I was put on bedrest and knew the baby would be coming early, I was able to call a few friends and they went shopping for premie clothes and some essentials for our hospital stay on the mainland.
Moving on. Most of these items came from members of our Coast Guard community, some through friends of friends, and some from people in my local church. I was even blessed to have a friend from an online support group mail me some cloth diapers she no longer needed. Another friend from this same support group was kind enough to go shopping for me to get a lamp for the nursery (since this store does not ship to AK) and when I asked how much I owed, she said, "Nothing, just pay it forward."
This is essentially the same response I recieved from everyone who brought us items they no longer needed or wanted. So here I am, a year later and trying to organize my house and get rid of some of the baby items we no longer need. I was at a local mom's event last month and met a fellow CG spouse who just moved to the Island this summer and is expecting her first child. I asked if she needed anything and she mentioned that they were considering getting a bassinett since her mom would be in town for a few weeks after the birth and staying in the nursery/guest room. YAY! [note the genuine excitement] I get to pay it forward! I told her I just so happen to have one for her. "How much do I owe you?" she asked. "Nothing. Just pay it forward."
It's just wonderful to be part of a wonderful community, both local and as part of the greater family unit we call the Coast Guard. I'm so excited to help her and am so thrilled that she will be able to create her own memories with this bassinett. Next time you come across someone who has a need (whether expressed or implied), ask yourself if this is a need you can meet or work together with others to meet. If so, remember, the only payment should be that they "pay it forward".