Conversations with Kids · Family life

To Practice the Goodness…

Leah Rondon
In Memory of Leah Rondon

Coming up tomorrow is the two year anniversary of the tragic car accident which took the life of this sweet, smart, and beautiful little lady long before her time.  Leah Rondon, the daughter of an old friend from grade school, Colleen McGrath Rondon, and her husband Henry, has captured my heart if only from photographs, and I can’t imagine the grief her dear family and friends must feel daily.  However, last year, in honor of her memory, Leah’s parents asked for everyone to be extra kind on the anniversary of her death.

Colleen wrote, “Wherever she went, Leah brought a smile to people’s faces. To honor her memory, do something to make someone smile. Maybe you pay for the order behind you at the drive thru. Or call an old friend. Write a letter. Talk to a neighbor. Tell your family you love them. It is the small kindnesses like these that make life worth living.”  Her parents and two older brothers, grandparents and close friends were so uplifted by the stories of people’s goodness last year, that they asked for a repeat performance on this coming Sunday, a small request really to make an entire community smile again in remembering this special little girl.

So, I challenge you to meet Colleen’s request: do more than just the right thing this weekend.  Make someone’s day.  Do more than turn a frown upside down; make that person feel like they are the only person who matters in the moment.   The kids and I are going to write some thank you notes for our summer vacation together, even if today there were moments when I could not wait for them to be in someone else’s classroom– hours, days actually, truth be told.  We humans are really good at reminding one another of what really matters especially in those moments we need to hear it most.

Bad stuff happens to good people all the time, but we need to focus on the goodness— even when the badness gets us down.  This past weekend our washing machine exploded /rusted out/ no actual diagnosis yet, but the result was a flood in our kitchen.  Not only did we have to purchase a new washer and dryer (as stackables no longer stack the way they did 12 years ago so the dryer would need to go to a new home too) but the water warped the wooden floor so much so that Geoff struggles to wheel over it, now raised about 4-5 inches in a peaked position in a few places.  We love that our kitchen doubles as a gathering place for many of our neighbors, but this week (and probably for a while), our kitchen is a disaster.  We have been so lucky others have reached out to host us for dinner, all of which have and should be lovely.  Thank you, neighbors, Roy and Amy; Matt and Michelle; Steve and Sara; Rob and Trena; and Uncle Kenny.  We are lucky to be surrounded by good people here in our neighborhood who never take goodness for granted on any level.

Today is also the one year anniversary of another young life ended too soon.  Steven Bomba, a Lincoln, NH firefighter, aged 25, dedicated his life to serving others because there was work needing to be done.   To have known the Bomba family is to know children who have been raised with a steadfast work ethic, utmost respect for humanity, and undeniable family loyalty. To have had one Bomba in English class undoubtedly made the year better; but sometimes, we were lucky enough to have had double Bombas as in the case of two sets of twins.  And to now have had Bombas in my class for 10 years, I can’t even imagine their loss as a family (

Remember the goodness.  We’ve kept our turtle Shell-y alive for 2 weeks now.  We have sucked the marrow of life each and every day this summer building enough memories of sunshine and laughter to get us through the dark days of November before ski season starts.  My parents are having the time of their lives traveling in Newfoundland right now, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do all of our laundry there without having to pay extra to drag to a laundry mat.  Geoff’s dad is turning 77, and we are celebrating on Sunday family style, for which we are always grateful.

Last night we celebrated some of Geoff’s amazing volunteers for Eastern Adaptive Sports as they are about to take off for college.  To be reminded of goodness, hang out with some young people who want to make the world a better place.  They remind us of the goodness which remains even when it must float up through all the badness.  When having dinner at my friend Roy’s house the other evening, who lost his son in a biking tragedy eight summers ago, his daughter Sarah showed us this poster friends had made for her for Royce’s funeral.  Royce had been 7 and Sarah 4, and this poster is still a much loved possession, which reads something along the lines that they hope Royce has a good time up in heaven.  And I’m sure he is, right along with Leah and Steven, but they aren’t here with their families any more.  We must find the goodness every day.  So for the Rondon family of Ansonia, CT, the Whitakers of North Woodstock, NH and Hanover, MA, and the Bombas here at home, and for every other family who has lost a child, let’s be better tomorrow than we are today.

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