Generations Day Care Part Three: UNO and Legos

Building Memories

At the end of each day at the summer camp, Sarah would go back to the main office bringing the cooler full of snacks with her and taking care of paperwork and other important loose ends before she went home for the day.

Amanda and I stayed with the remaining kids and kept them busy until their parents arrived. On a nice day we would go out to the playground and give them a chance to burn off a little excess energy. But during the windy or rainy days you could find us sitting at the activity table with a huge bucket of Legos, building all sorts of cool things.

One of the reasons I loved that little bit of time at the end of the day goes back to when I was in the first grade. My parents didn't own a car and the school I was in had only one bus for the kindergärtners. So after school I often had to wait, either on the playground or in the classroom until my mother came to pick me up. My teacher and one of her assistants would spend that time with us, reading, playing games, or making pattern necklaces out of beads.

I think that's why I got so much pleasure at the end of the day, playing a simple game of UNO with Raymond and his two older sisters. Eight year-old Preston, who also waited for one relative or another on many occasions, played a lot of games with me after his best friend Danny went away.

Danny's mother couldn't pay the daycare fees, so Danny and his older sister went away. I think it was hard on Preston, being the oldest boy there and having no one to really latch on to. With short blond hair and blue eyes, Preston always seemed to have his mind on something. His biological father had left, something I related to very strongly, but his stepfather was a firefighter whom he loved very much.

Raymond on the other hand was six years sold and at the time I knew him, he and his sisters were having some problems at home. Although he had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, when he was on his medication he was no different than any other six year-old. Active and playful, just more focused.

One afternoon, Raymond seemed sluggish and practically asleep on his feet. It wasn't until Sarah pointed out that the medication his mother had given us was actually prescribed for his older brother. Apparently it was settled out that day, but the year after I stopped working there I went to volunteer and found out that Raymond and his sisters were both separated and in foster homes. I was worried for them at first until I met their foster parents and decided they were doing fine.

When times get rough, or when I started worrying about the kids, I remembered those moments at the end of the day playing UNO and making memories from legos.

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