From Chicken Soup for the Volunteer's Soul

A Child’s Gift

About a year ago, as I prepared to leave the house, the telephone rang. For a fleeting moment I toyed with the idea of not answering it, but I ran back to the kitchen anyway.

My husband called and said, “Sorry, honey, but I have to work overtime. Guess you’ll have to pick up Taylor at school today. I’ll be home as soon as I can.”

Each week I set aside several hours to bring a little joy into the lives of the women at a nearby home. On this particular day, I was bringing freshly cut red and yellow snapdragons and mammoth zinnias.

Accompanied by my unexpected companion, we started our rounds with bundles of blossoms in my arms and Taylor at my side. After we visited the third or fourth room, I noticed that, just as we were ready to leave each room, my son would hug each woman and then whisper something into her ear. Because I wanted to make sure that we had enough time to visit all of the residents, I didn’t ask him what he was whispering, but he elicited a smile from every lady.

Later that evening, during dinner, my husband asked how my volunteer job worked out with our son in tow.

“It was actually lots of fun,” I said. “We were quite a pair.

Whatever Taylor said to the ladies, it definitely made them happy.” Puzzled, I stopped and glanced across the table at our son. “What was it that you whispered?”

Looking at both his dad and me with an angelic face, he responded, “All I said was ‘I love you, Grandma. You look soooo beautiful today.’ I wanted to make them feel good.”

Pamela Strome-Merewether

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