“You know the House is full when there are no plates in the kitchen.”
That was the off-hand observation of a guest who’s been here many times—but always when it’s been less crowded. Both Houses have been full for the past two months—keeping all five dishwashers running constantly.
With so many people here, I’m privy to plenty of interesting conversations. “He’s three heartbeats from going home,” I heard one mother say to another recently. She was referring to a doctor’s insistence that her teenage son’s pulse rate needed to improve before he could be released. While those three heartbeats got him out of the hospital the next day, he’s still at the House, undergoing outpatient treatment—with months of follow-up care on the horizon.
The most compelling conversation occurred just inside the front door, with parents of a five-month-old here for heart surgery. “Is she ready? I asked, nudging the toes of an adorable baby.
“She’s ready,” the dad answered. “But we’re not! At this age, it’s harder on the parents.”
Often, the children (many of whom are infants) do have an easier time. We focus so much on the kids that we occasionally have to be reminded that the parents need reinforcement, too.
Which, in a roundabout way, brings me back to the plates. One support parents really appreciate is a home-cooked meal—which volunteers generally prepare four-five nights each week. Unfortunately, we’ve been light on meal groups lately.
If you’d like to prepare dinner for our guests (a wonderful family or team-building activity), I invite you to contact either Julie Ramil at the West House (email@example.com; 971-230-0808) or Lindsay Williams at the East House (firstname.lastname@example.org; 971-230-6708). You’ll get to meet some grateful families. And we’ll make sure the plates are clean before you arrive!
Tom Soma, Executive Director