Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm a Guest Blogger! Whoo-Hoo!!

I know I talk about my workplace a lot - St. Mary's Home for Disabled Children.
There is a reason for that.
A very simple reason.

It is an extraordinary place
with extraordinary people
who do an extraordinary job
for extraordinary kids.

(I'm sure that sentence required some punctuation somewhere, but I like it better without.)

When St. Mary's started their own blog, I answered some questions for them,
being the experienced blogger that I am.
(Snort, choke, spew)

The author of that blog, Sonja, is one of my 3 faithful readers.
Wait, no, I'm up to 5 now, I think.
Recently she honored me with a request to write something for them as a guest blogger.

Hmmm, what to write about?

It only took a few minutes to realize what I wanted to say.
Something that struck me the first day I walked through the door in March 1992.

St. Mary's is a family, and a very special kind of family.

So, here is a slightly expanded version of my guest post for Sonja.
And Sonja, thank you for that opportunity.
It means a great deal to me.

St. Mary's Redefines 'Family'

In the next year, we will be experiencing a boatload of what has been, to now, an occasional occurrence. Our kids are growing up and leaving the nest.

Sure, there have been the infrequent families who move to another state, so their children must move with them, but that was the exception rather than the norm. Why is this year different?

The age limit for our kids has slowly crept up over the years, so we are now experiencing a large number of them aging out at the same time. This year we will be saying goodbye to numbers in the double digits. The reason this is on my mind now is that Dupree left a couple weeks ago, having turned 21 in January. He came to St. Mary’s when he was just over a year old, and I have known him for 17 years, which bring me to the point of this story.

What defines a family? If you look at it from a child’s perspective, your family is the people who love you, take care of you, see that you have all you need, comfort you when you are sick or sad, laugh with you, teach you, hug you, and kiss you. The staff at St. Mary’s meet every single one of those criteria. Our kids have a huge family, with more aunties and uncles and brothers and sisters than most kids will ever have. And that family crosses every single artificial barrier that society tends to impose. Things like race, religion, and national origin mean nothing when the heart of an adult that works here and the heart of a child that lives here make that magical connection. Our staff and kids come in every color, and they all blend into a beautiful rainbow of love.

I have seen busy nursing assistants take extra time to lovingly fix a little girl’s hair so that she looks extra-special that day. I have seen busy nurses pause to comfort a boy who is having trouble breathing. I have seen countless members of other departments, like maintenance, housekeeping, food service, education, and administration (just to name a very few) go out of their way to hug or talk to a child and make them feel special. I have seen so many examples of family love here that I am constantly awed.

So when one of our children grows up, when it is time for them to move on, we say goodbye with sadness and heavy hearts. That face that we have to come to love, and to count on seeing every day, will no longer be here. It takes a while for it to sink in, but when it does, the pang of separation is there. They were, are, and forever will be part of our family.

All photos by Wéyo, a group of gifted photographers, journalists and marketing professionals
who specialize in giving the stories of non-profit organizations a life, who
"effectively communicate the power, depth and ideals of the organizations they work with."

I couldn't decide which of the pictures I liked the best, so I included a bunch of them.


nana said...

Hey Root,
You know, you really are a good writer. Maybe you should write a book. St. Mary's would be a good setting (just change all names of course) Anyway, think about it.
Love, Nana

Hairball said...

It's always hard to say goodbye.

Sista G said...

Great photos, great story, great people!! Not a "not my job" from a one of them. Bless them all!!