Sunday, June 7, 2015

Love Rocks

Berzo's Love Rock
It was the tail end of a meeting for a group I attend and Berzo was getting squirrelly. There's childcare available, but being trapped in a room with rambunctious, space-bubble-invading, three-year-olds doesn't float, no matter how cool the toys are. So Berzo sticks with me and after two hours of coloring and wandering around the room she's usually pretty ready to go. Eager to help, my friend Kathy reached into her purse and pulled out a lovely little rock with a blue heart affixed to it. She told Berzo it was a “Love Rock” and that she wanted her to have it. Berzo was still and quiet, a sure indication that she was touched. Kathy told her she could make one too. Berzo said that she didn't know how. So Kathy told her, “You cut a heart out of fabric and use Mod-Podge to stick it to the rock and make it shiny.” Berzo repeated that she didn't know how to make a Love Rock. Kathy tried again. Berzo said again that she didn't know how to make a Love Rock, with the patience to rival Job she explained it yet again, and then I took Berzo aside and told her we'd make some together. Kathy then filled me in on the backstory of Love Rocks.

Berzo gave Kathy a hug. (The space-bubble kid.)

Berzo held her rock in her hand all the way home, repeating her experience over and over, soaking it in. Then she gave her Love Rock to her Papa as soon as he came home, and she told him the whole story.

Love Rocks. It sure does.

In the fall of 2013 two young Forest Grove girls, Anna and Abigail, were hit by a car and killed while playing in a pile of leaves and our hearts collectively broke. It was surreal. Really? They're gone? Just like that? Just like that.

Instead of letting the girls' lives be defined by their tragic end, their parents decided to honor the love their daughters brought into their lives by starting the Love Rocks movement. Love Rocks can be found in parks, libraries, coffee shops and more.  They litter the town of Forest Grove, but are spreading all over.

Boots was also moved by the idea of spreading love this way we decided to make use of a sick-day to make a few of our own. We drove to Jo-Anne fabrics and the girls each picked out a fabric remnant they liked. While I hunted for Mod Podge, they popped in and out of the kid aisles. I made several speed laps around this store designed by Entropy herself, until I finally zeroed in on the elusive Mod Podge. Randomly choosing one of the thirty varieties, we headed to the checkout.

Mod Podge looks suspiciously like the rubber cement of the 80's, so I thought working outside would be wise. It was. Our fold-up card table is now shellacked in the stuff.

The girls hunted for five nice rocks each while I cut heart shapes from their fabric. I poured Mod Podge into two paper bowls and handed them paint brushes. They were off! They painted the fabric hearts onto the rocks with fervor and randomly shouted, “I need more Mod Podge!” and “Mama, I need another heart!” Then they'd dash out to get more rocks and wash them. The heat bored into the back of my head as we completed our labor of love. Boots looked up at me red-faced and said, “Mama I think I'm done. I'm getting too hot.” WHEW!

We then trimmed the paper “Love Rocks / FB” tags and painted those on the reverse side. We laid our rocks out to dry and retreated inside.

I was expecting to produce about ten total, but I think we ended up with about forty. Still slightly tacky, the girls distributed them to the door stoop of friends and neighbors. A pocket full of rocks accompany most of our trips to the park.

The best part has been the quizzical looks that people give us when Berzo or Boots is placing them and the delight they show when they hearing the story. On our last day of my group, Berzo brought five and handed them out randomly to the other members. They all came up to me to express their gratitude. My toddler gave them rocks and their hearts were touched. How awesome is that? One woman was particularly affected, and we chatted at length. As she turned the rock in her hands and caressed the heart, I could see how deep the small gesture set. She runs a child care and was wondering out loud about getting her little charges in on the love sharing.
If you see a Love Rock, upload a picture to their FB page, then take it and drop it somewhere else. Or if it makes you happy, keep it. Make a few to share and remember that it all started to honor two little angels called home to heaven early. If you're a runner or walker, consider signing-up for the Love Rock Run, all the proceeds of which are going to the construction of a memorial park for Anna and Abigail. The run will take place in Forest Grove on June 27th.

Share the love.

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