Let me preface this blog by saying I hate when my kids have group projects. I hate them because somehow it always seems that their projects somehow become my projects.
That’s what happened last weekend when on Saturday night my 13-year-old daughter, Maddie, informed me that her and her group needed to finish their project by Monday. And by finish she meant they had to buy groceries and deliver them to our local Ronald McDonald House.
So I shelved my plans for Sunday, dropped my other kids at my sister’s house and toted six 7th-grade girls to the Ronald McDonald House … begrudgingly. When we got there, we handed over our bags of groceries and filled out the necessary forms. As we were about to leave, someone asked the girls if they’d like a tour. Before I could protest they all answered an enthusiastic “yes.”
There goes the rest of my afternoon, I thought. Our tour guide, Ned, led us to the living room area. And that’s when I saw him. The adorable little blond-haired boy sitting on the floor with his mom. He looked about two or three.
“He had a bone marrow transplant,” said Ned. He must have noticed that I was mesmorized by the little guy. We moved on and walked past the resident’s rooms. On the doors hung pictures and signs telling the stories of the families behind the doors. For a little under an hour, Ned showed us examples of the staff and volunteers efforts to maintain this home away from home.
Finally, our tour complete, we headed for the door. On our way, a Girl Scout troop who were doing crafts with the kids invited us to join them. When I sat down at the bracelet table, a little girl came up to me and asked if I would help her make a bracelet for her mom. I saw her mom and dad sitting at a nearby table. I recognized them from when we were on our tour. The little girl’s sister was at the hospital. I finished the bracelet I was working on and gave it to the little girl. She ran it to her mother, who held the bracelet to her heart and kissed her daughter. “Thank you,” she mouthed to me.
A father and his son joined us at the table. They were from Croatia and had been at the house for quite a while, Ned had told us. The father quickly got to work with the beads. Suddenly it began to take a familiar shape. I watched him run his fingers over the beads he had put in place.
“A rosary?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he said in broken English. We exchanged smiles.
Before long, I gathered up the girls and headed for home certain that today I had witnessed Christ in action. That evening I said a prayer–both for the families and in thanksgiving for the many volunteers who give of themselves and their time, including Maddie and her friends. And I said a prayer of thanksgiving that I had been blessed enough to be a part of the experience.