Monday we took the homemade Christmas cards that we made at our last playdate to a local assisted living center. I was happy to be traveling in a group, because while I'm not afraid of being around older people, I'm not that great at conversation with people I don't know, and that was the whole point of the visit! One woman really put the whole trip into perspective, though.
We knocked in open doors and asked if the residents wanted company for a few minutes. Everyone said 'yes' immediately except one woman. Although her door was open, she wasn't dressed yet and said she didn't feel well. After talking to the mom who knocked for a moment, however, she changed her mind and invited the whole group in.
After the children showered her with cards and goody bags and began to look around her room, she talked to the adults and told little stories about her belongings. It was obvious that this woman was active and sentimental from her room - it was covered with paper flowers, cards, makeup, and funny pictures of animals. Soon it was time for us to move on, and noticing a stuffed Rudolph, we volunteered to sing the song to her. Her eyes lit up and she grabbed the toy and pushed its tummy, which soon began to play along with us. Rudolph's nose matched her cheeks as she waved her arms and the stuffed animals, tapping and wiggling her bare toes right along with the children's voices.
As we gathered our things and said our goodbyes, she exclaimed, "I feel better now!" and wished us a 'Merry Christmas.'
All of the residents we visited seemed to appreciate the visit and enjoyed the children. Each one seemed to like seeing the little ones and the cards they had made. But for this one woman, our visit didn't just seem to be a random moment within her day, but a moment that changed her day.
I don't even know the woman's name. I never heard anyone mention it - it was hard to hear over all the excited kids. But instead of stressing about those visits, the next time I'll look forward to it - and I might even try to plan another soon.
Our kids got to go be love in action, and that's a great lesson for them. Seeing this woman face - that's a gift for us.