Just over a year has past since my children and I began our relationship with the community through the Meals on Wheels program, and last Saturday I was reminded why I started. I don't know if I will be able to express on paper what I felt as I watched my five year old son Jeremy connect with an 87 year old woman in the honest way that only a child can.
We started to walk away from her apartment on the 3rd floor as we have done many times before, and she leaned out of the door and watched us go as she does every Saturday.Just then, something stirred Jeremy to walk back to her. As I watched my son, I saw that he meant to give her a hug, but when he reached her he realized that he doesn't usually do this and spontaneously took her hand. She was as moved by this as I was, and she asked him if she could kiss his forehead, when he smiled and nodded she gave him a little kiss. We walked peacefully away, and I could see in him a feeling that I am sure he could never put into words, but I think it will always be part of him. When we got to the car I quietly said, "you meant to go and give her a hug didn't you?" and his lightly shocked response was "how did you know?" I just smiled at the little red lipstick spot on his forehead.
As a stay at home mother, I volunteered with Meals on Wheels as an opportunity for me to show my son how we can reach out into the community. I hoped that he would enjoy volunteering with me, and perhaps together develop our social conscience. Meals on Wheels has become much more than that for our family. It has become very special time for my son and I to be together, pretending we are driving a submarine or listening to stories on CBC radio's vinyl café (which require a lot of explanation to a curious 5 year old). The community relationships that we have made over the past year extend into family discussions at the dinner table, or in the car when we pass one of our peoples' homes. I expected that as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels I would be helping people in the community, but most unexpected is how these people, who would otherwise be unreachable, have helped me. My one-year-old daughter Elisabeth has joined us on many of our deliveries, and I am excited to share this journey with her. Thank you for providing an opportunity for our family to develop in community spirit, and we look forward to growing with your organization.