Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Yesterday I had the best proudest, most wonderful parent moment of my life.

We were invited to serve food to the residents of a homeless camp with some friends. This stretched me in many ways because this wasn't a soup kitchen where the volunteers stand behind tables and serve food or where you make up some take home boxes and hand them out, and the only contact you have is a brief hello.

This was a BBQ put on by an amazing ministry called Project 61(no website, though. boohoo) The members of this group go out to a homeless camp in our area every two weeks and provide more than just food to the people who live there. They provide the residents with friendship, laughter and most importantly their actions show these residents that they are human beings deserving of love and respect.

It is hard to put the whole experience into words. I was saddened by thier living conditions, amazed at their tenacity (one man made himself a lovely garden complete with a pirated watering system), heartened by their ability to relax and have fun with us-most of whom were complete strangers.

We chose to bring our children with us, a choice that we were unsure about, but in the end proved to be just what they (and we) needed. We had brought birthday party horns with us and I gave the bags to Monkey to hand out to people. He took his little bag of horns and walked around the crowd offering them. He and several of the residents played and ran around with their horns.

Monkey is just at the age where he will make blunt (and rude) observations (like "that lady is fat" or "why do you have no teeth?") so I was worried he might do that, but my boy was wonderful. He played and talked and ate, blissfully unaware of missing teeth and dirty clothes. He explored the camp (under our watchful eye) and made new friends. He sat down with a man and played with his toys, a scene that just broke my heart.

They have a camp "toybox"-an old Folgers coffee can with 5 or 6 small toys inside. One man told me that during the day they will sit around and play with the toys. When the man (whose name I didn't catch) saw that Monkey was going to sit down and stay awhile, he brought Monkey the toybox. The man was very quiet and just watched Monkey play, but there was a very slight brightness in his eyes that wasn't there before.

When we left they made us promise to come out again. They said they didn't even care if we brought food with us, they just wanted to talk and visit with the kids. They just wanted to see their friends again. We will definitely be going back. I pray that experiences like this leave my kids with a respect for life and for people.

As we pulled into the driveway Monkey said to us "That was a great party, Momma. " Yes, son, it was. And that is the best Mother's Day gift I could have ever gotten.


Handmade Dork said...

That's so beautiful, Claire. I love what you're teaching your kids...they're lucky to have you!

susan said...

thanks for sharing your family's wonderful day.

LeeAnn said...

That was very touching to read. I hope you continue to go back.

Vallen said...

You are quite a mom!!

Stephanie said...

Thank you for sharing such an amazing day. You are teaching your son what really counts in life and these are memories that will sculpt him as he grows.

Sonya said...

That is amazing and the choice to bring your kids - they will gain so much, yes they will ask hard questions, but it's better to have them really see (to a certain extent) what other people are like and how they live, rather than just looking the other way.

Sarah and Jack said...

That was a lovely thing to do. (Although I can see how it was a little sad also. Since having Jack I have a very low "sad" tolerance. Aye.)