Friday, August 17, 2007

rocking the house

We had a back to school party at one of our housing programs last night. We were able to outfit almost a hundred kids with new clothes which was a labor of love by many fantastic volunteers and donors. We had a ton of food and volunteers and I arranged for a friend of mine who sings reggae/calypso to perform as entertainment for the families.

We all ran around on the lawn, babies crawling everywhere, kids racing like maniacs, and parents hanging out together in a multitude of ethicities, ages, and beauty. I had the good fortune of seeing old friends and children who've grown. I had brought M with me so she could hang out and at one point while sitting on the lawn surrounded by children and parents a volunteer came up and offered M a gift intended for our kids. I gently told M that those were for the others and I sat back and smiled because being mistaken for a homeless family means we must be doing something right - that our kids are well and happy and fed and alive and indistinguishable from everyone else which is exactly what they deserve after suffering through so much hardship.

And mostly I was filled with love. Love for the kids and for the normalcy of it all. I watched the parents smiling and chasing their kids around, the kids devouring pizza, people moving in rhythm to the music. And the joy on their faces when they saw their new stuff - stuff that will help make starting a new school feel a bit more normal and a bit more like everyone else.

At one point my singer friend was really jamming and everyone was dancing and getting into the groove and it was glorious. A bunch of us formed a conga line, staff, clients and kids and we sang and danced our way around the lawn together and in that moment, with hands full of M and others I looked at the sky and soaked in a perfect moment when poverty wasn't an issue and appreciating great music didn't require any money at all.

35 comments:

liv said...

oh! what a wonderful sounding evening! I so love these views into your world!

NotSoSage said...

I love that those kids are so happy and well-fed. What amazing work you do, jen.

kiki said...

i love that there were no lines of distinction and that you all blended together. the conga line image is fantastic. i miss you. xo

nomotherearth said...

There should be more times like these in the world, I think.

Laurie said...

That is one of the most beautiful, upbeat, positive posts I've ever read. Thank you for that, sister. You are an angel.

Orangeblossoms said...

you made me want to dance..... and dance..... and dance!

Oh, The Joys said...

I wish we could have been there with you.

metro mama said...

Glorious post. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Beck said...

Wonderful story. I'm glad to read it.

Lawyer Mama said...

That's what I hope for my children and my life too. Thanks for sharing this, Jen.

Blog Antagonist said...

What a wonderful thing. I am looking forward to many such moments with my volunteer work.

M is lucky to have a mother who gives her the gift of such experiences.

Kyla said...

Sounds wonderful, jen. You are giving her such rich experiences and teaching her the right way to walk through the world, full of compassion and kindness.

slouching mom said...

How terrific for everyone -- for the kids, for being well fed, and happy, and dancing.

And for you, to see the fruits of your labor, which I worry you don't see often enough.

Her Grace said...

May there be moments like that today everywhere. How beautiful.

mitzh said...

Simply beautiful. Each and everyone of us deserves a lot of moments like that...

mamatulip said...

*happy sigh*

Awesome.

flutter said...

I would have loved to have been there with you.

What a beautiful night.

painted maypole said...

great post, and a reminder of these things we take for granted... pizza parties and kids playing on the lawn... that others don't have. I'm sure that was as much of a gift as the school supplies. And lucky, lucky M to get to enjoy it all.

carrie said...

Love this.

We send McRae to taekwondo school in what people would call a somewhat lower class neighborhood and what we've learned there this past year (besides the excellent martial arts training) has been priceless in terms of educating him about the world and the people in it. What you describe sounds very much like the get togethers that they have (minus the calypso music, but there's always room for improvement) where everyone is equal, and not judged and even the kids who are better off and have stable families can see that materialism isn't what matters. The smiles do.

Again, love this!

Carrie

Mrs. Chicky said...

Lovely. I would have loved to have been there.

Heather said...

Moments like this are what give me faith in our world- what a memorable day, so glad you were able to share it with M.

Pgoodness said...

Ah, those moments that don't require money - priceless and too few and far between sometimes. Thanks for sharing - this post gave me goosebumps.

Redneck Mommy said...

You paint such a beautiful picture.

I really wish I could share our lives with you in a non-virtual manner.

Tabba said...

this sounds awesome, jen.

isn't it amazing how music can be that glue....the glue that makes those seams invisible and leaves no one out?

Sober Briquette said...

Yes. There are so many wonders in this world that we can glory in - absolutely free!

And when the worries of the cost of living are suspended so the joy can flood in - that's what we can all aspire to.

Christine said...

oh jen--it is so good to be back and read your words again.

Magpie said...

That sounds really lovely.

Hel said...

One day when I grow up I want to be as comfortable in my skin as you are.

I wait sister. One day we can just sit happily staring at the clouds with no need to say anything.

Momish said...

That sounds great! I am going to see if there is something like that around my way. I would love to participate and help out.

The music would be the cherry on top for sure!

QT said...

What great images - and how wonderful that everyone got a night free of worry...it sounds rejuvenating!

Deezee said...

You are clearly a community builder. Would there ever be a chance to post images of the facility (properly obscured for privacy) so that we can have some glimpses?

luckyzmom said...

How cool that you remember your dreams.

Jennifer said...

You have the most incredible way of making us all feel we're right there, in the conga line with you. Thank you, thank you, for these peeks into times when all is right with the world -- it completely warms my heart.

Susanne said...

*sniff*

kim said...

Our church had a back to school party and backpack giveaway. I helped get the backpacks filled, but I wouldn't go. There was too big a line of distinction. I didn't want kids I see at school to see me and my kids and know we weren't there to get backpacks. I have to get them to change the way they do this.