Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Too Old

Our church hosts a Harvest Party each year. Beth loves to go to play the games and get the candy. Chuck and I were running the popcorn machines this year so Beth basically had the run of the place. Before we left the house I told her this would probably be her last year attending the Harvest Party.

She is 27 after all. And the Harvest Party is geared for kids 2 - 11.

I was talking to some friends at work and they both said, "Awe, but if she has fun...?!" And that's where the controversy comes in for me. Yes, she does enjoy it.... but she's 27 years old.

If I want others to treat her equally, I need to treat her equally. Which means not attending the Harvest Party....

But, I know the volunteers at the Harvest Party don't mind if she plays the games and gets a few pieces of candy....

But, we wouldn't let other 20 somethings stand in line behind a 4 year old to try to knock over some milk bottles....

So 2011 will be her last year playing the games. Next year we'll try to find a place for her to volunteer.


Our church hosts a Thanksgiving outreach each year. (Are you sensing a theme in this post?!) :) For many years I lead the Staff Childcare team. There are about 600 volunteers and we watched their children while they served food, bussed tables, took family photos, etc.

A few years ago we took a break and just stayed home. It was the most boring, uncomfortable Thanksgiving we'd had in many years! So a few years ago we signed up to volunteer again.

There are three seatings, 11:00, 1:30 and 3:30. We serve a free meal, family style. People are seated at tables and are served turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, and pumpkin pie. There is a short program (this year a ventriloquist is performing), then the guests can visit our clothing bank, pick up the family photo that was taken before dinner, hop aboard our transportation shuttles and head home. We serve an average of 1200 people on Thanksgiving.

The pace is fast and can sometimes be very hectic. It's been difficult to find a place for Beth to volunteer. When I was doing childcare, she would help there as a volunteer and she would often be the last one coloring or would still be eating her snack when everyone else was lined up for the next activity. So to put her there as a volunteer now, I'm just not sure how that would work.

But... we think we've found the perfect place! There are a few ladies that prepare appetizers. They sit at tables and put cheese and meat onto crackers. The crackers are on large trays, then runners take to the trays to the waiting areas for those who have come early for the next dinner seating. The Appetizer Room will be the ideal place for Beth! Sitting at a table, putting cheese and meat on crackers?? Perfect! It's slow paced and comfortable and quiet. The ladies just sit and chat while they are there.

I still need to contact the leader of that group but we're hopeful and excited that Beth'll be able to volunteer this year!

Beth's adult life sure has brought some unique and interesting situations!


Becca said...

I find Beth's life so fascinating - thank you so much for sharing her with us. The challenges, the joys, the accomplishments - they're all interesting to me, not like I'm holding Beth under a microscope or anything, but I *am* learning a lot from her and from you. I appreciate it all. I hope the volunteer opportunity pans out for her! I bet she'll do great. :-)

Kristin said...

Sounds like a great plan :)

Nan said...

Love the cracker tray idea! It is so HARD to let go and grow, but if there is somewhere to fit, where you will have fun and be loved ... well... what more could you ask? We had a couple of meltdowns the year we told Jess that she was too old to get dressed up and go out, UNLESS it was with friends who were already doing it and/or for a special party/activity where other college-aged kids were dressing up. She was fine once she got together with friends, and now the Rocky Horror Picture show has become a standard. You should have seen us prepping her: Okay. like there is this transvestite? and ...

But the church ladies rule! Last week (All Souls) Jess sat up at the front without me, next to an elderly couple (who are very ennvironmentally active). When they read out my Dad's name (as someone who died this year) she burst into tears and sobbed the rest of the service. I think tho, as she knew where I was and could come back to me, she really enjoyed being hugged and consoled by others, and they enjoyed consoling her. Of course once church was over, she sure dried her tears and made it to the coffee/treat table way ahead of me! (Note, our congregation is only slightly over 150 people, so vastly different from yours). Okay. goodnight!

Mom of 12 said...

It's so hard to let them grow up. My autistic son is turning 18 today. I can't believe it! Where did the time go?