i had a friend who once did alternative spring break in new York city and she told me of delivering meals on wheels to people there. always one for trying different community service projects, since then, I have wanted to try it. imagine my surprise to discover that there is a meals on wheels program being run right here in my very own city for homebound seniors. I discovered the program right after ruth was born and I stopped working, thinking that I had all of this free time now to do community service. well, as I was soon to truly discover, when you’ve got a baby, your free time isn’t really free, as such. and, off and on, throughout the years, I have considered trying to find time to sign up for the program, but there always seemed to be something stopping me.
however, now that ruth is older, gets into and out of her car seat with no hassle, follows directions and has an attention span of more than two minutes, I recently thought that I should start getting her (and myself) more involved in our community. there are all sorts of cool organizations to volunteer for around, and I don’t think most of them would mind if you bring along your kid and would even encourage kids involvement. after all, while people are young is the real time to make an impact. I don’t know why more organizations are not aimed at recruiting kids help (with their parents of course). I thought at first that perhaps I shouldn’t volunteer right now because I’m pregnant and all and I maybe wouldn’t want to expose myself to potential germs. plus, even though I have never really followed the guidelines, I think there is a bit of a taboo on pregnant people lifting large or heavy things and I need to carry the cooler out to my car after picking up the meals. right now, it’s not really an issue, because I don’t look pregnant. but, people tend to get all up in arms when they see a lady with a large belly carrying stuff around.
in any case, I could probably go on making excuses why it’s not a good time to do it for the rest of my life. so, I decided it was time to make the call. and I told ruth about it, no pressure, if she wanted to come along (most likely because she hates to be left home without me. nothing irks her more).
so, we had our first day. and ruth seemed to like it! how it works is you have the addresses of the people in the program, and you deliver to each one a cold lunch and a hot dinner. we had a bit of a problem with the addresses the firs time through as i am terrible with the streets around here, but we managed to find all of the houses. ruth’s job was to carry the paper bag with the cold lunch in it. and she even handed it to the people when they came to the door!
and the people, of course loved her. if there’s one thing I’ve noticed it’s that older people take an especially potent joy in watching young children. they just ate her up. not that ruth liked that part much. she was all business and wanted to be taken very seriously. she was doing a job here, after all. some of the older people tried to talk with her, ask her if she’s been good this year for santa and all that, to which she said nothing. ruth doesn’t usually talk to people she doesn’t know. she doesn’t even talk half the time to people she does know. sometimes, she can come off as a bit rude, but she’s really not. she’s just incredibly reserved. not that they know that. actually, I don’t think a lot of them knew what to make of her.
I would call the whole thing a success. at the end, she seemed invigorated and satisfied and proud. and it was nice to be out without joel just the two of us, mom and ruth, just like the old days.