Tonight our family had the opportunity to go to the local nursing home and provide Family Home Evening for the residents there. Opportunities like this don't come often. As you know, we live in a predominantly LDS community with many wards looking for service and they have to be shared. (The last time we had missionaries for dinner was before Adam was born 6 years ago! There are just too many people who want them over!) So, when they sent around the sign-up sheet, Calvin jumped at the chance. I will admit, when I first heard that he did this, I was a little... put out. It was two weeks before camp, I was feeling completely overwhelmed and couldn't even fathom adding one more item on my to-do list.
But, Calvin is very wise and knew in the end all would be well.
Since I was busy, Calvin was in charge of putting the program together. He decided that we'd run it similar to the way we have our own FHE. (I will admit we stole the idea from our neighbors.) We each pick a hymn or a song from the Children's Songbook, sing all the verses, and then move onto a lesson, activity or game. (FHE is mostly singing.) He decided that Adam would sing a song (I Want to be a Missionary Now), Aly would sing (Quiet Grove by Janice Kapp Perry) and I would play a piano solo (Spirit of God arranged by Marvin Goldstein). Calvin would give the lesson on pioneers.
It worked out well. I think the residents really enjoyed having us there.
But what I was proud of wasn't the program, the singing or the lesson. I was so proud of my children and how they handled themselves while they were there. We all know that nursing homes can be difficult and the wonderful people there can act in ways that society deems "different." I don't think the kids cared that the old man on row two let a loud belch that would rival anything I can do after drinking a Diet Coke. Aly, while she was leading the opening song, kept waving and smiling to the old lady on the front row who had a grin a mile wide and wanted to be acknowledged. The kids didn't act like any of this was unusual. Their smiles were genuine and their affection was real.
There was one sweet lady who adored Adam and his energy. I was helping her walk back to the common area and she kept pointing at Adam and smiling. She couldn't verbalize very well, but she communicated with her eyes. I asked him if he would help her walk to her chair and without hesitating, he ran up and took her hand. You should have seen her eyes light up. When we got to her seat, he walked up and gave her a big hug and then ran off. I think it made her whole day.
Aly didn't grumble or complain about going. She helped several residents back to their rooms, looked them in the eye and had conversations with them. She treated them like people which is important when you're in this station in life. It seems that often elderly are treated like children and talked down to. It's so important to give them the respect that their long life deserves! And I was so impressed that Aly instintively knew exactly how to do this.
Sometimes, being a mom is the hardest thing in the world. You love your children and you want them to be good, upstanding members of your community. Sometimes they aren't. Sometimes there's fights and frustrations, tears -- and you are mortified when your 5 year old son punches a girl in the face at the park (another story for another time). But every now and again, your faith in the celestial calling of motherhood is restored. Sometimes, the divineness of your children's spirits shines through --bright and clear. I call it "Mommy Moments." Or "pay backs." These are those moments that make being a parent worth it.
I will always treasure the memory of tonight (thanks to this blog I will be able to).