Every year on Christmas Eve, Jim's family joins other members of their church for a time of caroling at a local nursing home. For a number of years now, even back to our dating days, Jim and I have enjoyed taking part in this annual tradition. We hold our little song books and make our way up and down the wings of the nursing home belting out every Christmas song you can think of. The kids pass out goody bags to the residents as we go along and we spend a few minutes here and there socializing with anyone who welcomes our company. This year, we brought our girls with us.
We didn't think of it as a big deal. In fact, we didn't really think about it at all. We wanted to go caroling with Jim's family, so the girls, naturally, would come along. When we arrived, I strapped Kylie to me in the Baby Bjorn and Jim took Kyra with him. We joined the group and began roaming the halls.
As I made my way, I noticed something special. I noticed the faces of the residents light up as I passed by, but they weren't smiling at me. They were enamored with the tiny little girl strapped to my chest. So I began taking her to say a little "hello" to some of the elderly folks. And as soon as she was close enough, they would reach out a fragile, wrinkled hand and take hold of hers. And she wiggled and giggled and cooed and smiled as she met each one. A few of them even pulled us closer so they could kiss her hand or forehead. And I swear I witnessed the years lift from them, just for a moment. I could picture them as a new mom or dad. I knew they were once where I am now.
Kyra also brought joy to the residents as she ducked and dodged her way around their wheelchairs. She danced to our songs and even tried talking with a few of them. Several times during our visit, we were told what a joy it was for the residents to see such small children and how much they love being around little babies. In the world they now live in, that aspect of life is missing. And most of them, having been a parent and grandparent miss the feeling you get from seeing a baby smile or a child at play.
So even though we didn't come in a Santa suit bearing loads of presents, we apparently brought a much more precious gift.