Just like Fight Club, the first rule of volunteering at the children’s hospital is: You cannot talk about volunteering at the children’s hospital. I’ll do my best not to break the rule, but I’m going to bend it as much as I can.
After another blah day at work, I knew that kid therapy was exactly what I needed. In our pre-shift meeting, I waited anxiously to hear the name “Marcus” from the list of referrals. The patients’ names were called out one-by-one, some familiar and others not. But no “Marcus”. I started thinking of who I would visit, when I heard his name. Five minutes later I made my way to the 6th floor and immediately upon turning the corner near his room, I heard his cry of loneliness.
As a nurse rushed in, I asked, “Is that Marcus?”
“Yep, that’s him.”
“I’ll be right there to hold him.”
After washing my hands, I smiled at the sight of my little boy. “Do you remember me, Marcus? I spent Thanksgiving with you.” On Thanksgiving, I was introduced to my little boyfriend as he wailed…and thirty minutes later he fell asleep in my arms for a 3-hour nap. I fell in love that day. Since then I’ve been thinking about him. Missing him. Worrying about him. Has he been sleeping? Have his (young) parents been by to visit him? Does he miss me too?
Last week I allowed another volunteer to visit him, but tonight I knew that there was nowhere else I’d rather be than holding him. Minutes after rocking him in my arms, he was my little resting angel again. He was so much more alert tonight: looking around the room, watching me, and I swear he even gave a few smiles. As he laid there in my arms for 90 minutes, I dreaded leaving when 8:30 rolled around. I could have stayed there all night if permitted, and I think my little man would have wanted that. For a tiny little 5-week old, he has a strong grip on him. He held my hand so tightly, as though he didn’t want to let go and I didn’t want him to either.
Tonight served as another reminder that this line of work is my calling…and that it’s the little things in life that mean the most.