"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, October 22, 2012

Visiting Friends

Sometimes friends come from unexpected places. 

The girls and I often visit "Great" (my grandma, who is now 94!) at her assisted living place. She is now in the memory care area, which is much smaller section of the facility. We have gotten to know the residents a lot more than we could when she was in the regular area. The people all just light up when the kids come to visit. Everyone will be slumped over in their wheelchairs, eyes closed, but when the girls walk in, it is party time! 

Anastasia had the great idea that they should all wear their Halloween costumes and visit Great today. So I figured that even though it was a "school day", visiting Great certainly counted as learning to think of others, which is just as important as fractions. So off we went. 

Getting ready took half the day (can you believe I actually found a barrette to match her costume?)

This dragon costume is practically an antique by now and has been worn by several of the other kids.

Catherine made it quite clear that she was not a princess, but a queen because queens have all the power over the kingdom. She also told Francesca that she was a princess and princesses have to obey the queen.

Anastasia is Cleopatra and Isabella is a "water fairy" (her own invention)

Victoria loves to come visit and they love her. She isn't the least bit shy. She holds onto everyone's hands and they just melt. This is our friend, Jean. 

And this is Milly. She looked so sad and vacant when we first came in. She actually reminds me of the way Victoria used to be in the orphanage.  Victoria immediately brought a smile to her face. Milly started singing to Victoria. I think Milly just needed to know she was still needed and that someone cared. The irony is not lost on me that only 17 months ago, Victoria was the one who needed to know what love is and now she is spreading the love around to everyone she meets. 

This is Timmy. She just recently moved to the memory care section. She can still walk around independently and I really think she knows what she doesn't know, if that makes sense. She has been really down lately. Anastasia was telling her all about our upcoming Halloween party. 

Victoria was still cruising around the room, working her magic.

Not too long ago the doctor's said Victoria wouldn't walk and now she is helping someone else to get around. 

Francesca was a little shy at first, but once we brought out the balloons, she joined in.

A little music to pep everyone up.

Isabella figured out a craft project we could all do. Stickers! Who doesn't love stickers?

No one around here ever seems to notice that Francesca's hands. 

This is Sue. At first, she didn't want to do the sticker project, but when you have kids shoving stickers at you, you kind of have no choice but to get with the program. She was really proud of her creation. 

This is another Jean. She is one of my favorites. She calls everyone "honey bunny." She has seven children! 

Brenda really loved Anastasia. She kept holding her hand and saying, "thank you so much for coming."

Victoria got really hot in her dragon costume, so she want for the natural look. She is with Great here. 

I kind of didn't want to leave. We all felt surrounded in love. Who knew we would make such good friends with people over 90 years older than Victoria. 

I sort of felt like that song from "Cheers". 
"You wanna go where everybody knows your name.... and they're always glad you came."
(actually, no one here even knows our name, but it doesn't matter at all!)

Definitely, a very good school day! 


  1. :) This post makes my heart happy!

  2. What a wonderful way to spend time with people who need to spend time with YOU! :)
    We have our dear friend Joy that we spend time with at the Nursing home. And when we visit we see all sorts of lovely folks. :)
    So glad Victoria and all your girls are bringing joy to others. :)

  3. It is true, all we need is love. What a wonderful way to spread it!!

  4. What a great outing for the girls. They all look comfortable and I know they felt happy and important visiting everyone. Wearing their costumes was a good idea from Anastacia. I'm sure a lot of memories came back to some of the women. Your children are a joy to watch as they grow and learn every day. You are doing a great job loving these kids. I really enjoy keeping up with them.

  5. Lessons learned far more fun than fractions! My kids say the answer to fractions is you always want the bigger piece of pie, but give the othe guy the bigger piece of liver. Love the irony....doesn't God make you giggle?

  6. People with dementia DO go through a stage where they know that they are forgetting. They can be panicky(as I would be) and they do 'know' that they don't 'know' what they used too. It's really heartbreaking. Thanks for bringing them some cheer, your kids are adorable as always.

  7. This makes me want to go visit an elderly home. I used to work at one and I loved all the residents so much. I would love for my children to light up their faces as your own lights up these wonderful women at Great's home.

  8. I am just in tears. Beauty expressed in so many ways here.

  9. Love the pictures! Such a great idea and a great way to teach your children the joy of reaching out to others.

  10. Great school day! Your girls will grow up to be very compassionate women! And how could anyone not fall in love with them? They are so gorgeous!

  11. This was a powerful, wonderful post! I love the ministry your daughters are performing with these dear ladies and your Great. Visit, and visit often if possible.

  12. I sat here laughing and crying :)) Your kids seem to bring out the best in everyone, and that sweet little Victoria...well, what can I say? She is a true inspiration!

  13. This is so precious... Thank you for contributing to create heaven on earth and beautiful connections across generations...
    In loving gratitude, Eva

  14. It has all been said by other commenters but you and your girls really did it up big!! This gesture of love from you meant the world to these sweet folks! And what a lesson in love, acceptance, and compassion!! (((HUGS)))!!!

  15. Oh my gosh, that is maybe in the top 3 sweetest blog posts I've ever read... Thank you for sharing this - you just made my day.

  16. Happy! Happy! Happy! I used to work in a memory support unit and I know that you and your crew made their day! Thank you for making the residents and me smile!

  17. This is beautiful! I work with elderly people and I know how much this meant to them. All the costumes are wonderful. I especially like the dragon turned streaker:) Ha ha!!

  18. oh, Catherine... This is one of those posts that makes even your most erstwhile lurkers come out and leave a comments. You guys make the world a much better place!

  19. Victoria is smiling in most of the pictures. She clearly enjoys all those grandmas arounfd her very much!

  20. I love it, so wonderful and great for everyone! I loved spending time with my grandma when she was at her nursing home and then her memory unit :)

  21. Oh, Catherine, this is so beautiful. Your girls are going to be changing the world with their own kids one day, and the ripples will go on forever. I love the way they were loved by the women there, and the way they spread their own love. This was a wonderful post.

  22. We go to a nursing home every Wed, all I can say is DO IT as much as possible, b/c their lives ARE like Victoria's was in a lot of ways! Nothing makes my day like seeing our Gma and Gpa's eyes light up when they see my daughters and my friends son and daughter. We've had people that haven't talked in over a year start talking/trying to talk to the children. There is a woman who is 104 and spends her days staring at a wall, but bring a baby in and she starts to tell you stuff in her gorgeous British accent. And Libby whose husband left her and took the children when she was a young mother, who keep touching my Mary's foot and asking if she is her child. Then tell me how wonderful and gorgeous she is. I've been begging for other people to come with us, but so far no takers. I remember you saying that you felt so drained at the thought of going into the orphanage to visit V & F one day b/c of all the horrible things you kept seeing, but you went b/c you knew that Victoria wouldn't get out of her crib that day if you didn't. THAT is how I feel every Wed, it's VERY VERY HARD to get up after being up with a baby all night or thinking I have 1 million other things I HAVE to do other than go visit the nursing home. But I go, b/c I know our Gma's and Gpa's won't wake up and have fun that day unless we do. Currently we are the only ones coming, the activities director gets teary every time we walk in the door, she's had so many people quit on her. Anyway, sorry for the book, but this is SO important, we need to take care of our elders (AKA widows & orphans like the Bible says), they need us!


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