Saturday, May 26, 2012

Andrew-on-Wheels

One of my favorite things to do with the kids, hands-down, is Meals on Wheels.  In the middle of our route today, standing together outside the elevator, Andrew said to me: "We must have let you get enough sleep last night, because you seem so happy."

And I was.

All 3 kids love it, are excited to go, and are thrilled with all the minutiae of it.  They want to carry everything...knock on the door... announce loudly "Meals on Wheels!"... and proudly present the meals to the person we're meeting.

But there's a special kind of magic for Andrew.

Andrew's deepest needs are to help people, to be important, to feel a sense of purpose.  I wish I had a picture of him standing outside a door holding a meal.  The brightness in his eyes, the pure joy.  He bounces on his toes, he's so kinetically excited to share this meal with the person - like he's bringing them a wonderful Christmas present.

The closer that Andrew is to a superhero in his everyday life, the more "right" his little spirit is.  What I love so much about this community service is that it is PERFECT for children.  The meals are light enough for them to carry, the people adore seeing children, and the kids get incredible practice at meeting all types of people.

We always have a chat in the car beforehand, about how we might see people with oxygen tanks...or who drool...or who can't get out of bed.  We don't know what we'll expect, so just look everyone in the eye, smile, shake their hand, and treat them the way we want to be treated.  

It's one thing to give this lofty speech in the car, but the maternal explosion of joy I feel when I actually see it in action...

There are no words. 

My favorite memory from today won't likely translate into words, but I want to remember it.  It was the last stop out of 14 homes.  We'd been delivering food for 2 hours, and Andrew was just as enthusiastic at the last house as he was at the first.  The woman came to the door, hunched over and tiny, and Andrew carried in her food and put it on the counter proudly.  She thanked all of them, told them how happy she was to meet them, and then we started to leave.  Andrew turned around, waving and smiling broadly, and said: "I hope...you enjoy...your life!"  Then his hand flew to his mouth, like he'd just said the wrong thing.  He looked sheepishly at me, and mouthed: "I didn't know what to say at the end!"

She smiled so big, so happy, and she got a bit teary-eyed.  "Isn't he the sweetest little thing?"  I could tell she sensed the sincerity of him, how much he wanted to give her a  special good-bye, even if he didn't know how to put it into words.


When we got outside and away from her, I crouched down and looked him in the eyes. "That was the perfect thing to say, Andrew, and you know why?  Because it came from your heart.  She could tell you were really happy to meet her, and I think you made her feel really special.  I'm so proud of how you treat people, Andrew." 

I want to remember his sweet, proud face forever. 

love watching his precious little self get to do what it NEEDS to do.   Getting to feel like an important part of helping others. 

Goodness, I love this little man.

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