May 12th, 2017
As the mother to one four year old daughter, Charlotte, and another bundle of joy on the way, I am able to honestly say that parenting is one of most eye opening and difficult challenges that I have ever faced. Children are often our teachers, best friends, and greatest challengers. They learn from us and test us, sometimes frustrating us to our very core, but when they’re hurt or not feeling well, we often feel most helpless and pour every ounce of ourselves into trying to make the pain go away.
Looking at my own personal experiences, I am extremely fortunate to have not needed the services of a Ronald McDonald House, and I am thankful that such an organization exists for families that do. Not only is it a place where a family can sleep peacefully knowing they are close to their child, it’s a place of comfort and refuge. It is a place where their children can focus on being children again, playing in the playroom, game room, participating in art or music therapy, and playing with McNugget. A place where the families can gather and get to know other families who are going through the most difficult time in their lives. It is a place where they can enjoy a hot meal and take care of themselves and to be present for their loved one in need.
For me, in my role as the Family Services Manager, the House is a place I can truly feel at home and comfortable. A place where I know I am doing the most good I can every day. I get to witness the pure joy on the faces of kids as they walk into the Magic Room, but I also witness the despair some of our families face on a daily basis. It can be challenging and it takes a lot out of you watching these families go through the most difficult time in their lives, but just knowing that we are doing all that we can, by serving them to the best of our abilities, certainly makes even the worst days worth it.
In the end, the House is just that, a building, but what makes it special is the people who fill it: the families, the staff, the volunteers, the generous donors and friends. The Ronald McDonald House is not only a place that helps make some of life’s most challenging and stressful moments a little easier, it helps keep families close so they can spend time with their loved ones and make memories together. It’s not that actual house that I love: the lumber, nails, and drywall, but what happens within our walls. It is the kind word, the smile, helping hand when life’s challenges shakes them to their very core. It is the moments shared within this house that matter and that make RMHC a truly magical place.
-Sarah Buchanan, RMHC Family Services Manager