The Ronald McDonald House is not just a place for children to stay while undergoing outpatient hospital procedures. It is so much more than that and I feel so lucky to experience just a little part of its magic during every visit.
To Matilda, it was her first home. It was where she learned to nurse, it was where she learned to hold her head up, it was where she was reunited her brother after three long months apart. It was where she spent her first Christmas and where she was blessed by Cardinal Dolan.
When we go back to the house, Matilda is greeted with so much excitement and love. The bus driver's eyes light up as he gives her a fist bump and tells her he knew her when she was the tiniest baby he had ever seen. The family donation coordinator bursts into laughter when she sees Matilda running vibrantly onto the elevator with her curls bouncing joyfully. And the mother who helped carry our things to the room after Matilda was discharged from the hospital, stood with tears in her eyes as she caught a glimpse of the now healthy Matilda running down the hall with her now healthy son (both kids back for check-ups and routine labs). The volunteer who not only remembered Matilda but asked Parker (by name) how his school year went and if he was enjoying his new home. The people that live, work, and visit the Ronald McDonald House in NYC fill it with so much love. The kind of love that leaves me overwhelmed with gratitude, rejuvenates my spirit, and fills my soul with warmth.
How lucky are we that we get to come back and visit the place where we celebrated life as a family after the most uncertain of times?