No doubt this was a result of your love and prayers. Thank you!!!
It was a very fun experience.
Vince had helped pick out the majority of these toys (which is why there are so many Ninja Turtle things for the boys). The chair that has the stuff piled up is almost exclusively Ninja Turtles. I kept pulling girly stuff into the basket so they wouldn't feel left out with all the stuff geared to boys! What a joy it was putting this basket of goodies together, though... especially with Vince. He understood that he was going to be giving these things to other children to "make them happy."
After school, I picked him up we drove over to the hospital. He was excitedly chatting about how he was going to share all "his toys." It made me really happy that he was so excited about our little adventure. That he willingly participated in charitable giving made me feel like I was doing something right as a parent. God bless his little generous heart.
When we got there, security had us wait in the lobby for a nurse to come for us. While in the lobby, Vince had a field day hopping on and around the turtle statues in the waiting area.
(Eventually we'll get his parts of speech right...)
The little boy shied away behind his mother. His mom smiled at Vince and said, "He's Antonio."
Then she gently pushed Antonio towards Vincent and said, "C'mon, Antonio, say 'Hi' to your new friend!"
Vince didn't wait to hear a "Hi." He just started rambling off, "Hi Ann-toe-nee-o. Do you want to share with my toys? I give some to you!"
And without hesitating, he rummaged through our bags until he came upon a set of blocks. I stopped him from handing them off until I asked his mother if it would be alright.
She looked confused so I said, "It's okay. We're here today specifically to donate these toys. Would it be okay if Vincent gave Antonio the blocks?"
His mom nodded her head and smiled down at Antonio. She said, "Look, Antonio, blocks! You love blocks! Thank your new friend."
Antonio was quite baffled that he was being given blocks. He reached out happily for them, but wasn't sure if he should open them or not. Vince made the decision for him and began to pull at the box.
I said, "Hold on, Vince. You gotta ask his mom if that's OK."
Vince stopped and looked at Antonio's mom. She shook her head yes, and Vince went to work opening the box. He and Antonio played for about thirty seconds before Vince decided he wanted to give more toys to other kids.
I was beginning to worry they'd be gone before the nurse came to collect us!
Luckily she arrived a few minutes later and we took our goodies upstairs. I don't have any pictures of the joy behind those doors for obvious reasons (patient privacy being chief among them), but suffice to say the smiles and hugs and laughter will remain etched in my heart forever.
I really think Vince gained so much from the experience, and I know the kids (and their families) enjoyed seeing him bounce around like a mini-Santa Claus.
We gave a different set of books / toys to another nurse so she could take them to the kids too sick for us to visit with, then it was time to go.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience. It really was. I highly recommend volunteering your time at a children's hospital if at all possible. There is just SUCH joy there. The children, though sick, have such joyful, loving hearts. And they're SO appreciative of even tiny gestures like coloring books or matchbox cars. What's more, their families instantly welcome you as part of their circle. They, too, are so beyond gracious for the time you're willing to spend with them and their children - I was incredibly moved. They are a special group of people.
Please keep them in your prayers this Lent. <3