by Ann Jerome
Summertime is in full swing! Everyone I know seems to be getting back from a wonderful vacation or heading out soon to enjoy a distant and amazing spot in the world with their family and friends. I just got back from a semi-spontaneous trip to Amsterdam to spend a few days with my 24 year old son who is a musician touring through Europe this summer. Wow – what a beautiful city – and, more importantly, while I loved wandering the unfamiliar streets and seeing shops that were definitely unique to Amsterdam, the highlight of that trip was spending so much uninterrupted time with my son and really just enjoying our time together.
I was reminded that most of the time our children need for us to show up, be present in their lives – no matter how young or old they are – and to just hang out without too much of an agenda or plan. Rarely does it seem like I have that kind of luxury. Being outside of our normal setting and routine really helped.
Everyone staying at the Ronald McDonald House is living outside of their normal setting and routine. They are here for one reason – to be close to their hospitalized child. The importance of their presence and support is evident in the successes we see when families checkout and go home with healthy, healing babies and older children. We know the difference it makes to just be present for their children – it’s what our mission is all about.
I’m still planning on making some more fun summer memories with my family – maybe without the jet lag though. I hope you are able to find ways to create time and space to hang out this summer with your family, with your friends, with your children. It doesn’t have to be fancy or involve trans-Atlantic flight – it can be simple, close to home and wonderfully meaningful. Happy summer!