I learn so much more from Palmetto Place than I will ever be able to teach. This proves itself to me time and time again, particularly when I need a reminder of what's important (and thank you, God, for those reminders). This week's lesson was about learning names. We have wonderful houseparents and other staff caring for our children, but I think it must be overwhelming and challenging for a new kiddo to learn all of our names and learn -- quickly -- that we are all going to keep this child safe and provide love. A new little girl arrived on Sunday, scared and in pain inside and out. We have surrounded her with love. Our houseparents have served the role of aunt, sister, cousin, friend, teacher and, maybe most importantly, nurse. As we've cared for this child each day - just Sunday, Monday and Tuesday so far - we have all turned 100% of our focus and concern and prayers to her.
Yesterday afternoon, the kids were coloring Easter eggs from coloring books. Each egg had an initial on and the kids were picking out a J for Mrs. Jackie and Ms. Jenny, a V for Mrs. Vera, a G for Mrs. Gloria, a T for Mrs. Thelma, etc. And then this quiet little voice spoke up and said "and an M for Ms. Matilda and an E for Mrs. Erin." And she kept going with names. My heart sang! In the midst of her pain and trauma, she knew our names! She had learned so quickly who was taking care of her! We'd earned her trust!
And then I knew, she was going to be ok. Sweat the small things. It's always the small things that our kids remember. One day she'll remember that Palmetto Place was a happy place and that an amazing group of houseparents with hearts as big as the whole wide world loved her and took care of her when she needed it.
~~ Erin Hall, Executive Director