Friday, January 22, 2010

New Face, New Phase

Growing up, my grandmother Brooke meant the world to me. When I was about 10, I would go to bed willing myself to wake up early. Then I would sneak down the stairs and sit and read in the green chair outside her room. Eventually, she would look up and see me. The two of us would go into the kitchen and she would begin making breakfast -- which always included my favorite coffee cake. The entire time, I would rattle on and on about things from school, a poem I read, a story I'd written. She would listen and ask questions. I hated it when the others would begin to stir and I would have to share her with them.

Aside from my grandparents, I've never spent much time with older adults. Rather, I've gravitated toward children. My sister and I started a lucrative babysitting business as 6th graders going into 7th. I think we were in such high demand because we actually played with the kids. How did the parents know? Once we got attached to the children, we would show up "off the clock" to seek if we could take them for a walk or play tag or whatever. When we started driving, I think we spent half our money treating kids to ice cream and McDonalds.

Over the years, I've volunteered in numerous ways: nursery, Sunday School, vacation Bible school, as a mentor for a child in a residential treatment center, as a court advocate for children in foster care, . . . . You get the picture. But I've been "between" volunteering for the last year or so. This past fall, someone suggested a nursing home. I was hesitant. They persisted, and last Monday I went to an assisted living center in town. This is somewhat different than a nursing home as the residents are more mobile and such.

Long story short, I've been paired up with one of the residents. (Though, I'm not sure what to call her. Due to HIPPA, I really can't post her name or any identifying information. Maybe I'll just call her Friend for now.) We had a really nice visit -- complete with a competitive came of Scrabble. She beat me, but for most of it we were pretty evenly matched.

So, it is a new face, and a new phase of volunteering for me. I think it will be fun.



Laura said...

How sweet, Amy! sounds like a wonderful opportunity to grow. Good for you. What a wonderful way to give of yourself.

Joyful said...

Oh Amy, there's so much of this that brings back memories of my own. My Nanny (my mom's mom) lived with us and I too remember the times of one-on-one with her. Precious.

Also, I too gravitated towards children. Having older parents, my sister and I were often included in more adult fellowship, yet, if on our own, we would spend time with children. It made me smile to read of your trips to McDonalds. We did that EVERY Saturday night with a little girl. It was so much fun. Working in a Children's Library for so many years, I became friends with so many children - even outside of working hours. Many happy moments.

I'm thrilled you're going to be volunteering at an assisted living center. I just know you're going to enjoy your time there and you will be blessed for being a blessing.

Can't wait to hear more.
Enjoy your weekend.

Joyful said...

Just remembered too....when I started working full time, I would schedule my summer holidays so I would have time off to volunteer at local Vacation Bible Schools. Thanks for helping me recall these wonderful times.

Love ya,