I'm trying to think of something INTERESTING to write about and failing (AS PER USUAL). The only thing that keeps sticking in my mind is this conversation I had with my parents this weekend about retirement homes. I KNOW. If that is not excellent blog fodder WHAT IS?!
BUT SERIOUSLY. Did you know that I used to work in an adult family home? Which is code for "some narcissistic rich lady turns her mansion into an assisted living facility and hires Russian immigrants and a couple of silly girls in their 20s to take care of six extremely crotchety old ladies". Or maybe that is only true in my case. But yes, this was one of my better paying jobs in college and it was both incredibly Life Affirming AND the worst job I have ever had in my life. Turns out I really love crotchety old ladies and I really abhor narcissistic rich ladies who take advantage of Russian immigrants and 20-something girls who don't know any better.
Before that I spent a summer working in a REAL assisted living facility, making beds, vacuuming carpets, serving breakfast, and learning how to fold fitted sheets. After college I volunteered to be a "friend" at a nursing home, and was assigned an old lady who (I'm pretty sure) had no family, no friends who were still alive, and never remembered a single thing I told her. Eventually she remembered ME, but she never remembered that I had a boyfriend or where I worked or where I lived or what we did the week before, but she knew that when I visited she got to go outside for a while and this was enough. I had to stop seeing her when I switched jobs (I would visit her once a week on my lunch break downtown) and I've always felt a little guilty about that.
It's so far away still, but I DO think about what I'm going to do with myself when all the kids are in school. Or even, honestly, what I'll do next year when it's just Emma and me until 3pm every day. The possibilities seem endless. And until I was talking to my parents this weekend, I'd sort of forgotten that I thought it might be fun to work in a nursing home.
FUN! I know. My dad volunteers for the library every couple weeks, delivering books to nursing home residents. Every so often he has a good story about one of his clients or something interesting to say about the activity directors and this weekend I thought: HEY. THAT STILL SOUNDS KINDA NEAT! My dad said, "Don't you think it must be DEPRESSING?" It's true - my dad's library patrons keep dying on him. But I am an optimistic sort who believes in A Better Place and I don't feel anxious about that part.
Some people love doing crafts with three-year-olds and have a great time with the preschool set, others think hanging out with octegenarians is where it's at. I'm definitely the latter. I feel like I have to impress little kids or con them into liking me or trusting me somehow. I don't feel comfortable leading a group of kids, but I have plenty of experience charming old ladies. They're easier. They have lower standards. Yeah, some of them are nasty, but a lot of them just want to chat. I'm GREAT at chatting when I'm not worried the other person won't like me!
I just got a flyer in the mail from the organization I volunteered with years and years ago. I haven't heard from them in forever and I have no idea how they got my new address. But I was instantly interested. And I have a BABY this time. Is there anything old ladies love more than babies? NO. I would be SO POPULAR.
So I'm considering it. Maybe after the holidays. I'll sign up to be a "friend" again and make a weekly playdate with a nursing home resident and maybe see what goes on in those places again. I think it would be an excellent use of my English degree and I'm sure it pays heaps of money.
Also, I must know: do you prefer cranky old people to preschoolers? I'm not saying I don't LIKE preschoolers, I'd just rather WORK with the old folks. You know, like lead a group of chair-bound white-haired wrinkled people in song instead of roly poly adorable three-year-olds. And I do too get to compare these groups because neither one can remember the words.