Get to Know Me Valentine

♩ ♬ ♫ ♫ …Roll out the barrel and we’ll have a barrel of fun… ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬

The old polka tune played through my head for the rest of that day and each time it did I smiled a little bit bigger.  Memories and music tend to go hand in hand.  I remember in particular my grandpa singing that very same tune to me as a young child.  It was a gloriously sunshiny spring like morning in mid-February.  Who could ask for a better day for our Valentine’s For Seniors event as part of Wee Watch’s Together Wee Can Program.    The children had been making Valentine’s all month.  We had collected many and more still would arrive with the children and Providers who were attending.    I arrived about 15 minutes ahead of schedule and spoke with the Activity Coordinator Anita.

They had the morning planned out for us with a story, a craft and snack.  As I waited for the providers and children to arrive I enjoyed a few quiet moments of watching the Residents stroll and/or roll on down to the activity room.  Some were more able-bodied and whisked on by; some were driving their four wheeled rides with expert precision while others were being assisted by the friendly staff.   It was looking to be a great turn out already.  I could tell many of them were excited and looking forward to the arrival of the children.

As the providers started to arrive we gathered in the lobby sitting room.  Everyone seemed very excited.  One of the children, Zoe had a wheeled suitcase full of Valentine’s.   Others had handfuls.  Once we all had arrived we paraded down to the activity room as a group where everyone was seated awaiting story time with the children.  Anita had chosen “Pinkaliscious”.  It was a delightful story about a little girl who eats too many pink cupcakes and turns pink much to her parents’ horror and concern.  It was nice to hear the chuckles, giggles and laughter around the room.  The residents enjoyed the story as much as the children did.

After story time the staff passed around craft supplies and each child made a Valentine straw to take home.  We toured the room afterwards handing out Valentine’s and proudly showing off the straw crafts.  I had heard one gentleman singing while the children had made their crafts so as we toured the room in small clusters I knelt down at the children’s level and said to Ethan and Jenna (my smallfry crew), “I think this gentleman could teach us a song or two.”   The gentleman laughed and said “I sure can.  I have been a singer all my life.  I love to sing.”  He then started to sing…Roll Out The Barrel, and we’ll have a barrel of fun… Jenna dropped down onto her knee too and rested her elbow on my leg and her hand beneath her chin while she watched the singer perform.  It was the moment that had me smiling all day.  It was such a lovely intergenerational connection.

The staffs passed out Bearpaws (not real onesJ) for snack and some juice.   Snap magazine arrived to take our picture for March’s publication.  Everyone was thrilled to be having their picture taken.

We always lead the children out first and then the staff move in to help those who need assistance.  As we were all getting coats and hats on by the front door some of the residents pause and chat with us and the children.  They always thank us profusely for coming.  One lady, card in hand, asked who Josselyn was.  The card she had received was made by Jenna’s sister Josselyn.  We introduced her to Jenna instead and explained Josselyn was at school.  The lady was so touched by the beautiful Valentine that she had received that she had wanted to give her personal thanks to Josselyn.    A special thanks goes out to all the hard working Valentine creators, especially the ones who did not get to attend and did not get to personally give their card to our Senior friends.  Just know that your Valentine’s have made more than one person smile today.  Perhaps smile still for a lot of days.  I happen to know the Valentines are proudly on display in the Residents rooms and being shown off to visitors every day.    Perhaps I was not the only one who attended who noticed the Christmas Teddy Bears we gave out on our last visit were very present in the room attached to various walkers and wheelchairs…. :P

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