Inside the Houses is a monthly online feature written by RMHC staff – sharing special moments from the Ronald McDonald House. Lindsay Williams, Assistant House & Volunteer Manager at the East House, contributes this month’s column.
I have always known I was fortunate to work in such a special place, where sharing the trials and triumphs with families who come to stay is our job. They come for many reasons, and are sometimes unsure of why they have to be here in the first place. We do our best to offer a kind smile, some comfort when it is possible, to make something easy when everything else seems hard. The rewards of being here for this job alone are great, but occasionally something happens that really makes those heartstrings burst. We are here to give care and comfort, and what we get back is more than enough.
One of the best memories I have here is about a shy kid, always well behaved, who had visited here quite a few times for ongoing treatment. I always spoke to him, tried to get a smile, but he often kept quiet. One day, upon the family’s check-out, he showed me a sand sculpture he had made in the hospital art room. He was clearly very proud of his creation, so I, of course, asked him all about it, how he had made it and why he chose the colors he did. When it was time for them to go, he handed the sand sculpture over to me. Unsure of what was taking place, I asked him what his plans were for it. He said with a smile, “I’m gonna give it to you.”
This small gesture made me feel so special, and reminded me that what we are doing is valued and valuable. Every morning that I see that sand sculpture sitting in my window it brings a smile to my face and new gratitude to be doing what I am doing. The smiles we share come back a thousand-fold.