As a kid I remember going with my family to old folks homes, or seniors villages as they call them now, some Sunday afternoons. We didn’t know any of the people there personally, but my parents knew what a joy visitors brought the elderly, especially children visitors, and taught us a valuable lesson of giving.
Giving our time.
My older brother played chess with some of the older men, I would show them the newest song I learned in piano lessons, my younger brothers drew pictures, my parents chatted and held their hands- and we all did a lot of hugging.
We weren’t perfect children, sometimes we grumbled how boring it was, or how we got kissed too much. But although I was quite young (8?) It’s stuck with me and planted a love in my heart for the elderly.
This Christmas holidays I brought my daughter, Elise, and baby to the seniors village with a group of moms and tots for Christmas carols. I had told Elise (3) how happy the older people would be if she gave them all lots of hugs. How they’d love nothing better than little girl hugs.
So we sang our carols, visited, handed out goodies and ornaments the kids made and then the group got ready to move onto another floor. My kids and I were the last ones heading out of the locking doors when Elise cried out, “MOM! You said we would get to give lots of hugs! I never got to give ANY!!” and began to cry! So we went back into the room where all the little old ladies still sat and Elise gave hugs. Lots of hugs. Elise squeezed them with her little arms and just let them hold her. One lady got down on her knees from her walker to be at Elise’s level and thanked me with tears in her eyes. We promised her we would be back for more hugs.
So today we came back.
I brought Jonas, my 5-year-old, as well and a stack of the children’s art work.
Where as you, or I might struggle for small talk; the kids have a knack for saying just about the wildest things imaginable and it being perfectly adorable.
I over heard Elise who had three ladies in walkers captivated by her stories.
“My Uncle Will just sleeped on the roof!” She pulls out of… know where.
I explain we were in Mexico.
“There was no room in the house so he had to.” She says.
“Ya he got COVERED in mosquito bites!” Jonas pipes in.
I end up telling them all about how 21 of the Davies went to Mexico.
When we came to the main floor, some elderly ladies started to wave to Elise across the room. She ran full tilt to them with a smile, then ripped open her jacket thrusting her tummy out. She just stood there waiting expectantly for praise over her shirt cause a lady made a big deal about it on the second floor.
She was still standing there gripping her jacket like butterfly wings when I caught up to her and filled the ladies in- cause Elise was too preoccupied trying to look at her tummy to explain herself.
While we were at the home I didn’t have to worry about what to say, I just helped fill in the blanks the kids left.
And the kids didn’t want to go home.
But who would when your basically famous? Everyone wants you to talk to them, and beams at your every word! The kids soaked up the attention… Well all except my one year old escapee who just wanted to do some independent visiting down “that next hall”. He was buckled into the buggy not too pleased.
We went thinking we were gonna give, but we returned having gotten
more than we gave.
Because although we gave love
Love was returned.