Have you ever come to the end of a day and known that you spent it in exactly THE right way? That’s how I felt after I finished my family portrait event for the children and families of Saint Mary’s Home for Disabled Children. I can’t think of a more fulfilling, rewarding, or fun way to spend a Saturday.
Saint Mary’s website says, “St. Mary’s Home in Norfolk is a special place full of love and laughter, where children and young adults from all across Virginia live, play, go to school and receive complex, professional, around-the-clock care in a nurturing, comfortable environment to help them achieve their fullest potential.”
I love that…”achieve their fullest potential.” We are all born with God-given gifts, abilities, and limitations. We are not like each other. Each of us has particular strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and we each have a unique purpose. I love that at Saint Mary’s the children who live there are nurtured, taught, and loved in ways that help them fulfill their purposes and develop their gifts.
Saint Mary’s is a beautiful, modern, 80,000 square foot facility that is located in Norfolk, VA just off of Kempsville Road. Everything about Saint Mary’s is warm, welcoming, and cheerful. Original artwork adorns the walls, a heated, outdoor pool is housed at the center of the facility, gardens and flowers surround the perimeter, and the classrooms are inviting and stimulating. Teachers, physical therapists, and occupational therapists come to Saint Mary’s to be sure each child is challenged and educated. Local community groups and businesses generously provide rich activities for these children such as a spring prom, days at the Virginia Aquarium, Old Fashioned Photos at the oceanfront and a host of other opportunities. It is a happy place to be and it is filled with happy people.
Before my family portrait event, I sent a questionnaire to each child’s parents so that I could find out a little bit about them. Interests of these dear children range from Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift to Hello Kitty and Curious George. Several of the young ladies love purple, fuchsia, and zebra stripes, and Frozen is a favorite movie choice. It was such fun watching them respond with joy and excitement to Adam Levine being blasted from my iPhone and to see their mischievousness show itself when we weren’t expecting it.
The staff of Saint Mary’s is kind, loving, thoughtful, skilled, nurturing, compassionate, friendly, and selfless. And somehow those words are just not enough to communicate the feeling one gets being at Saint Mary’s and seeing the way the staff and children interact with each other.
I loved spending my day with these wonderful children and their amazing, loving, caring parents and siblings. There was much love, laughter, and joy to be had by all.