I’ve told this story before.
The story about how great my mum is.
She turned 76 years old in March. She is legally blind. And she has been running a school breakfast program for primary school kids for the last 19 years.
It’s not a paid position – this is strictly a volunteer gig. She is there every morning to greet her volunteers and organize the preparation and serving of breakfast for about 40 kids.
As the kids come in, she stands at the door and greets them by name, welcoming them and reminding them to use their best manners with the volunteer helpers. While they’re eating their breakfast, she wanders from table to table, stopping to chat with the children and and other volunteers. She doesn’t appear to do much, but she doesn’t really have to. After 19 years, this is a well-oiled machine. Everyone knows their part, and my mom is at the heart of it all. She IS the heart of the whole program.
When she’s not working directly with children and volunteers, she is planning her menus, taking stock of inventory and purchasing supplies.
She fundraises and does speaking engagements and recruits new voluteers. She works with others schools to help them set up their own program.
She scours thrift shops and dollar stores for inexpensive craft supplies, board games, and books that the kids can keep themselves occupied with after they’ve finished their breakfast.
She keeps a secret stash of socks and mittens that she quietly hands out when she notices a child without.
She laboriously does all her paperwork by hand, because, although she recently learned how to use a computer, she hasn’t mastered it yet.
Honestly, I think she was born to to this.
But just to recap the salient points; she’s blind, she’s getting old, and she’s been doing a pretty much full time job, unpaid, for almost 20 years.
She tried to “retire” last year. She resign her position as coordinator and passed it on to a new volunteer leader. Her replacement only lasted a year though, so this fall when school started again, my mum went back.
A couple of weeks ago she asked me if I could come in on Thursday and Friday mornings, because she is a little short of help on those days. It’s for my mom, so I’m happy to help.
This morning I looked around and it just kinda hit me.
It’s time for my mom to retire. The walk to and from the school is becoming difficult for her and I worry about her trying to navigate icy sidewalks in the winter months. It’s hard enough for a fully-sighted person to do, let alone an old blind lady. (That is what I teasingly call my mom, Old Blind Lady. Don’t judge; it’s how I show my love. 😉)
I’m thinking I might offer to take over for her. Handing this off to just anybody is gonna be hard for her. I know she won’t want to bow out unless she is sure things will be left in good hands.
And, lol, knowing my mum, that could be never.
I think she’ll go for it.
I think this could work out nicely.