There’s a saying that goes, “While we try to teach our children all about life, they teach us what life is all about.” Kids have this magical way of seeing the world, and when we look through their eyes, what’s really important in life suddenly becomes very easy to see. Take our young volunteer Tyler, for example. The son of Sam, our Legacy Lane Coordinator at Cobblestone Crossings in Terre Haute, Indiana, Tyler began volunteering at our campus over the summer. Immediately, he bonded with Wanda H., a resident in the campus’ assisted living community. The two spent a lot of time laughing and learning from one another, and when Tyler went back to school, Wanda missed him very much. So much so that she even dreamt about him.
In Wanda’s dream, she was at the ballpark. It was the perfect fall afternoon; the kind where the blue sky is unbroken by clouds and air carries that salty-sweet, concession stand smell. She was watching Tyler run the bases, his small frame speeding along the baseline towards home to the sound of applause from his family and friends. She felt the pride swell in her chest as he crossed each plate. When she woke, she wished that it had been real.
When Wanda shared her dream with Sam, the staff immediately mobilized. Baseball season was ending, and Wanda needed to see her friend play. That’s how, on a blue skied fall afternoon just like in her dream, Wanda found herself in a camping chair with a front row view of the baseball diamond. This time, she had two more of her friends alongside her, fellow residents Meladie and Bob. The group cheered on Tyler’s team, who played their hearts out and won the game! Afterwards, as the sun set over the field, Wanda and Tyler posed for pictures together. It was hard to tell who was smiling wider, the boy who won his game or the woman who had lived out her dream.
Throughout his friendship with Wanda, Tyler didn’t care that she was much older than him, or that she was a girl. What he saw when he looked at her was a kindred spirit. He demonstrated a skill that leaves many when we get older – the ability to see what we have in common on the inside, instead of what is different without.
It’s thinking like this that inspires the kind of care and support we provide the seniors who call our communities home. They’re not just the people we care for. They’re the people we care about. That’s why we make it a point to learn their stories, and to fulfill their dreams. We would like to thank everyone who helped get Wanda to that special game, including Life Enrichment Director Bree and Life Enrichment Associate Anne. You rock!