Last week the kids and I went on a field trip to an assisted living facility to share some Christmas joy. We prepared goody bags ahead of time, learned some songs and my 3 oldest learned and recited the Christmas story from Luke 2. It seemed easy enough, but I was so nervous! I've never been comfortable in nursing home settings, even in college when I had a whole semester of clinicals in a nursing home. I relate much better to children (under age 5, preferably).....but at the same time I wanted my children (and myself, for that matter) to find joy in giving back to the older generation that worked so hard to provide for future generations.
There was also the element of the unknown. I had no clue how my kids would react to being in a new setting, interacting with people they did not know. With their history, it could range from absolutely wonderful with smiling faces to absolutely disastrous, extreme shyness, refusing to speak, hiding behind mama the entire time or at the other extreme, running around wild and crazy like a bunch of undisciplined monkeys. I did choose a facility where I knew the activities director, so we had at least one familiar face. And to my relief, and by the grace of God, everything went fine. The kids were a little quiet to begin with, but they warmed up quickly and were very friendly with all the residents, shaking their hands and telling them how old they were.
Preparing Trail Mix goody bags
We had a great turnout when we arrived. When the activities director announced that there were children there to sing to them, silver-haired ladies (and one gentleman) started wheeling themselves down the hall and finding a spot to sit and listen in the day room. I had been told that there were about 20 residents in the area that we would be in, but not to expect all 20 to show up. We still prepared 20 goody bags and passed out every single one of them! Charlie decided to be a "mama's boy" (which isn't too uncommon these days) and Matthew was a little shy at first, too.
Holding 2 babies and encouraging Maggie
to speak up when telling her part of the Christmas Story
Singing Christmas Carols
So maybe Matthew didn't enjoy it quite as much as I'd hoped......
Overall, the outing was very successful. The residents were happy to see the children, they joined in singing the Christmas carols with us, and my kids eagerly passed out the goody bags, unafraid to go up to the residents, many of whom were in wheelchairs. There was even one lady that was 102! And if I live to be 102, I hope I look and act as young as she did!!