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Delivering a Daily Dose of TLC

When my sleepy 7 year old emerged from his bed, clutching his stomach in agony, I knew that anything planned for the day had officially gone out the window.

I truly hope your community is enjoying perfectly good health, but here in Monsey, we’re struggling with a severe stomach virus epidemic. Nothing like the ’24 hour bug,’ this one has no mercy, lingering for days and even landing some in the hospital. Lots of fluids, disinfectants and hand-washing are the main prescriptions, as well as watching out for other symptoms. Today I’m happy to report that, thank G-d, my son finally returned to school with his brothers, each with a small hand sanitizer dangling from his briefcase.

Although my son was out for a few days of school, we kept on top of his homework so all was not lost. More significant, however, was the time we spent time together, one-on-one, a rare occasion for the youngest of the family.

At one point, curled up on the couch reading books, I observed him, the long lashes (wasted on a boy, right?) cascading over his sweet, cherubic face. I tried to remember what it was like when I was his age, homebound because I wasn’t feeling well, with my mother as my nurse. More than specifics – coloring books, hot cocoa, music – I remember feeling safe, warm and secure. Although one episode resulted in a chicken pox scar near my forehead, my mother’s care was always there to assure me that everything would be alright in the end.

As I read to him, my thoughts drifted to the girls at the Home. I wondered – What happens when one of our sweet, vulnerable girls comes down with the sniffles? Or an all-out fever?

I know from my visit to the Home that each girl has a clean, comfortable room which she shares with a roommate. But you and I both know that when a child isn’t feeling well, nothing replaces a mother’s caress and nurturing. While the staff supplies her physical needs, including medication if needed, what about the emotional needs of a girl who is struggling with a fever and a sore throat?

How significant that the nurturing physical environment of the Home and each girls’ bedroom is a reflection of the acute attention given for the girls’ emotional needs. If a girl is not well, a member of the staff will see that she is medically evaluated and has appropriate medications, if needed. A counselor is assigned to monitor her physical and emotional well-being, supplying books and other calming outlets as well.

Perhaps the most beautiful display of caring comes from the other girls who visit her, delivering exquisite ‘Refuah Shleimah’ (‘Get Well’) cards they personally created. There is camaraderie among these sweet girls with troubled pasts, each one familiar with that isolating feeling of having no one to care for them. This experience has made them extremely sensitive to their friends’ needs, creating a yearning for her to know that someone cares.

From my perspective, I see that providing this safe, secure and emotionally nurturing environment only happens when we have the support of people like you. The more we care for the girls, the more they can reach into their own hearts and care for each other.

Do you have a favorite story of how you were cared for as a child? Or how you care for your own children when they’re not feeling well? We’d love to hear them! Please leave your comments and thoughts below.

Wishing you and your family the very best of a healthy, meaningful life,

Rachel Weinstein

Director of Development

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