Looking Up to the Locked Up
October 28, 2020
Today, we visited a local nursing home.
We all brought baked goods for the staff and made festive cards for the residents. After placing these things on the front bench to be picked up, we started to walk. Window to window, stopping at the blue masking tape X’s (residents who welcomed visitors).
As the brisk fall air swirled, my son and daughter, along with the other kids from our group, would wave and blow kisses, playing patty-cake with the elderly through the glass. Smiles and a thumbs-up are about as cheery you can get while trying to communicate without any sound.
Passing under bird feeders, occasionally hung, to entice a bird, (or squirrels as one “young” gentleman informed me) to welcome activity to a seemingly uneventful day.
We happened upon this one window, where an especially captivating woman sat. Sitting eagerly close to her window, we smiled and waved, blew kisses with her. Then, she pointed, examining the stroller I had in tow. I proceeded to lift my 3 month old daughter from her pram into the morning sun. The woman lit up.
She put her arms as if to cradle my baby, rocking them back and forth. Unmistakably apparent that she had held many babies like this - her babies and her baby’s babies. Excited to share my sweet little with her, I placed these two tiny feet against the glass.
Out stretched her weathered, wrinkled, vein-webbed finger pretending to tickle newly born toes.
I held up the number three, mouthing “three months old”. She smiled and nodded, signing the same number back to me. Both of us still intrigued, I placed a matching hand to those tiny feet, making a miniature handprint in the dust that clung to her window.
Mirrioring the gesture, the woman pressed her hand to the glass. There they were, the minutes on the clock stopped. The tears from our hearts trailed down our cheeks.
Turning away slightly, trying to compose my reaction, quietly reminding myself that this is supposed to be a happy experience. As I am able to look back through the pane with clear eyes, I see her arms reach out towards my small babe, bringing them, crossed, to her chest. A hug.
I don’t let a lot of people hold my babies, let alone a stranger... but for her? Give me a rock, give me a hammer, give me something to shatter that glass. To shatter the loneliness that these, the wisest of our land, are dealing with.
How dare we take the hugs of the ones who showed us how to love. How dare we separate those who instilled in us the value of being together. How dare we silence the ones who developed our voice.
It is time we start standing for the ones who taught us how!