By Amy Cunningham
We’re constantly reminded to share love with those around us this time of year; here’s an idea on how you can continue that throughout the year.
One of my favorite ways to reach out to the people in our community is to taking my son to visit the local nursing home. We don’t have any family in town, but I like to go for visits to “other kids’ grandmas and grandpas”, as we call it. We live just five minutes from a large one, so it’s a great fit for us.
In the past, our mom’s group has gone together, or I’ve gone with another family or two. We usually take something small to pass out, like something my son has colored or some sugar-free candy. It helps the kids to have a connecting point with the people they’re visiting.
This time, however, I’m juggling two children and back to my part-time job, crunching my “let’s get creative” time. In fact, after calling and setting up the time with the coordinator, I started to question if we should even go since I knew we weren’t going to have anything Pinterest-worthy to distribute.
Then I remembered why we’re going in the first place- to spread a little cheer and love to some folks who could really use it any day of the year, not just at Valentine’s Day. And so I picked up a few sheets of heart stickers and headed over.
We showed up while everyone was hanging out in a large common area listening to a jazz band, and my son quickly began working the room. Wheelchairs and walkers were soon adorned with red heart stickers. Some people were even wearing their “gifts” on their cheeks and smiling at us as we walked by them again. Smiles were abundant in the room! Less than one hour of our time entirely well spent, in my opinion.
Even though Valentine’s Day is upon us, call up the closest home to you and grab a friend or two to get a day on the calendar later this spring. You’ll surely spread some love with your kids, and even though you can if you want, it doesn’t have to involve any crafty time or Pinterest.
Amy Cunningham is a Chicago native turned proud C-U resident for over 10 years. She lives in Urbana with her husband, energetic 3-year-old son and new baby girl.