(Photo by Wéyo.)

Today we’re featuring a guest post written by Kathy Brobst, a physical therapist assistant at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children:

What defines a family? From a child’s perspective, your family is the people who love you, take care of you, see that you have all you need, comfort you when you are sick or sad, laugh with you, teach you, hug you and kiss you. The staff at St. Mary’s meet every one of those criteria. Our residents have a huge family, with more aunts and uncles and brothers and sisters than most kids will ever have. And that family crosses every single artificial barrier that society imposes. Things like race, religion, gender and national origin mean nothing when the heart of an adult who works here and the heart of a child who lives here make that magical connection.

I see busy nursing assistants take extra time to lovingly fix a little girl’s hair so that she looks extra-special that day. I see busy nurses pause to comfort a boy who is having trouble breathing. I see countless members of other departments, such as maintenance, housekeeping, food service, education and administration (just to name a very few) go out of their way to hug or talk to a child and make them feel special. I see so many examples of family love here, every day, that I am constantly awed.

So when one of our children grows up, when it is time for him or her to move on, we say goodbye with heavy hearts. That face we have come to love, and to count on seeing every day, will no longer be here. It takes a while for it to sink in, but when it does, the pang of separation is there. They were, are and forever will be part of our family.

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