Today I chaperoned the First Grade class trip to the Retirement Home. I rediscovered that Retirement Homes are not a good place for me. They bring back upsetting memories of going to Jewish Day School, just like my kids, and going to perform for the residents at the home, just like my kids. It's the same as it was when I went. So many sad people parked in their wheelchairs, not knowing where or when they are. The jaws hanging open. Sleeping in their wheelchairs while the kids are performing. I felt sad and unsettled.
Not all of the residents today were out of it. Mayim's buddy, Gracey, was extremely sweet and so openly loving with Mayim and with me. She exclaimed about Mayim. "What a beautiful little girl! She is so beautiful! Oy vey! She is so beeeeaaaauuutiiiful!" We told Gracey that Mayim is a boy and she said "A Boy?! He is soooo beautiful! She's such a beautiful girl! She is sooooo beautiful! Oy Vey!". So, we gave up telling Gracey that Mayim is a boy. Mayim was OK with that. Gracey kept telling me how all the children are so beautiful, and her eyes filled up with tears.
At one point, Gracey reached over to Mayim and fixed the hem of his long-sleeve shirt. She unfolded it and straightened it out. I could just imagine what it must have felt like for her, the need to touch Mayim, this strong and solid child. A connection.