Our five year old granddaughter was excited when she woke on Wednesday morning.
“Mommy, we’re going to the old peoples’ house after recess this morning. It’s for Christmas and we’re going to play bingo,” she said with delight.
Our daughter, a nurse in a seniors’ home was familiar with such visits from school children. She engaged her five year old in conversation about wheelchairs, walkers and beds, what to expect and not to be afraid. Caitlin listened with interest, eyes wide. Claire encouraged her to sit with the people, listen and speak with them and answer their questions.
“I put on this special shirt. Just look, it has a bow,” she said as she lifted her hair off her neck to reveal a bow at the back of the collar.
“Old people will like that,” said Caitlin.
“I should put your hair up so people can see it,” replied Mommy.
“Would you like to wear this Christmas sweater too? I think the seniors would like this as well,” added Claire. Caitlin loved the sweater.
“And Mommy, we have to walk over there so I am going to need three scoops of breakfast,” said Caitlin as she ate, happily looking forward to the day.
On hearing the news, her grandfather and I wondered where we fit in Caitlin’s idea of old people. Did she, like her mother before her, consider “old people” to be like her grandparents?
When Claire finished her nursing degree, she decided to work with seniors. For her, it’s like working with her grandparents every day. She enjoys her job.
While my husband and I can still enjoy our own home and an active lifestyle, there may come a day when we will be in a nursing home. We can only hope to be so lucky as to enjoy visits from excited young children.