February 03, 2012

preschool at a nursing home.

i had jakob's 3rd birthday party at a nursing home.
i loved it.
there is magic in the interaction of children and the elderly.
i have often thought that i could do a little preschool group at a nursing home...
we've arranged christmas programs and singing programs there.
and FINALLY i just called and asked if i could come for an hour with a group of preschoolers.
right now we go once a month- next month i will do it every other week.
it is nothing great-- just circle time with activities and songs, craft time and snack time.
i got most everything i used for $10 at the dollar tree.
our theme this month was RED which was easy because of Valentine's Day.
we'll do GREEN in March.
(i asked one of my sweet friends to come help- all her children are in school, but she came and was a lifesaver holding eve who screamed most of the time.  i had two other moms who stayed and helped out the whole time.  i couldn't have done it without other moms.  and, todd showed up for the end- right when i thought eve was never going to calm down- she had a blowout diaper and i had no change of clothes or wipes... nice. it really does take a village.)
children bring joy.
i can't imagine being at a stage of life where i am without the touch of a child.
when little fingers hold wrinkled hands, i can see both sets of eyes light up.
the facility we were at is a Memory Care facility.
seeing those men and women, who are parents, grandparents and great grandparents, as they struggle to communicate just touches my heart strings.
Wise souls who are ill and unable to remember or articulate as they once could.
i wanted them to feel normal and loved.
one grandfather started making cute animal sounds when he saw the children.
he belted out the start of a jolly hello tune before he got confused and distracted.
for a glimpse, i saw him as the man he was, and is, deep down.
i know he was a fun father and a jovial grandfather.
one of my friends has her mother in this facility.
my eyes filled with tears as her youngest child threw a balloon into the basket on her grandmother's lap.
her grandmother had a sweet smile on her face as she made a big effort to pat the balloon into the basket.
for a moment she was just a proud grandmother, i felt her spirit so present and so loving.
it was magical.
i was impressed by my timid lily...
she went around saying hello, telling them her name, holding their hands, smiling...
it was sweet to watch.

the kids sang and danced and interacted a bit.
i had a few games planned to facilitate interaction...
-we hid a stuffed heart with a grandparent and the kids went to find it.
-the grandparents held a basket and the kids tried to throw a ball of red yarn or a red balloon into it.
-i had foam hearts that the kids gave to the grandparents "giving them love".
we all did "head, shoulders, knees and toes together", we all stretched together, we all sang "If you're happy and you know it" together...
(the woman in the orange jacket was named mildred, she reminded me of my grandmother who passed away a few years ago.)
it was an easy, fun morning!
i learned this lesson-- don't be afraid to serve.
do you have something that you've thought about?
something that you could do, without much effort, that would bless the lives of others?
i believe God will whisper to you what it is.
some small thing, to serve a few of His children.
i finally listened-- and as i served i was filled with joy.
i know i was doing exactly what He wanted me to do.
i was serving in a small way... and it was beautiful.
make a phone call, schedule the date... just do the one small thing that nags at the back of your mind.
i heard someone once say, you may have a dream that seems too hard to do.
just take the first step towards it.
my first step- i cancelled leah's preschool and i told the teacher i was thinking about doing my own preschool at a nursing home.
my second step- i drove to the place where i thought i wanted to do it.
i felt a distinct impression that there was another place where i would be of more service.
my third step- (the hardest) i called the first place i had chosen.  the lady i talked to was a bit dismissive and too busy to talk.  she said they had a lot of stuff going on, could i call back next month.  i knew that was not the place.
i called the memory care facility.  i knew it would not be as fun as the other more glamorous home, but i knew  we could be of greater service.
the activity director i talked with was SO excited.  she called me back in five minutes to tell me she had checked with her boss and everything was good.
they were kind, appreciative, and very flexible.  a great match.  we scheduled a date.
my fourth step- i just did it.
i was scared and nervous and unsure...  but it was fine.
i'm actually surprised at how easy it was to do something.
we each have something we can do.  some small thing.
if you don't know what it is-- ask God to tell you again.
to lead you to someone you can serve.
"be not weary in well-doing for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.  and out of small things proceedeth that which is great."  doctrine and covenants 64:33
because i served, my family was blessed.
this line from a church song kept urging me forward...
"I strengthen my family by my good works..."
we all can do some small thing...  
preschool at a nursing home, that was my thing.
what's yours?
life is good.


The Wife said...

What a great service you performed. And what a great experience for your children! Kudos!!

beckyjune said...

I used to work in a nursing home in physical therapy for quite a while and you will probably never know the good that you were able to do there. What a wonderful thing that was for those residents.

le35 said...

This is beautiful. I think the people love you.

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