Volunteering comes with great rewards. Generally, those rewards are in the form of quiet satisfaction that you have helped someone or given back to your community, which is plenty. Occasionally, though, there are tangible perks too. I received one of those last night in the form of free tickets to a benefit for UCSF Benihoff Children’s Hospital. The benefit was a concert featuring Neil Young. It was great! Members of the Family Advisory Council (FAC) were invited to attend the concert. I saw at least five of my fellow council members there. These people are my peers, all of us are parents of kids who have (or had) medical issues and are cared for at UCSF.
Steve was supposed to pick me up and we would head downtown together. He did not get out of his meeting until late, though and he was 60 miles away. I had to get myself down there to pick up the tickets. It was raining and I was cutting it close. I knew parking would be a nightmare near the venue (some people waited in a long line to pay $40 to park.) As I neared downtown, I considered my options. I spotted a car pulling out of a place on the street, grabbed it and hopped in a cab for the last mile or so. It was brilliant.
Just as I was walking in, the nurse called from home. Maggie’s feeding tube was completely clogged and she could not get the food to go in. I told her how to fix it, but it would not work. I called Steve but he was already nearing downtown. I called my neighbor to go help her, but she was not at home. I knew I could fix it in about 10 seconds, but I could not get home. I had no choice but to have her change the tube. It was a waste of resources, but fixed the problem.
After all the drama and excitement or getting there and dealing with the tube issue, I was hoping for a relaxing and entertaining evening. I was not disappointed. The beginning of the concert was delayed, which gave Steve time to get there. We were told they were waiting for President Clinton to arrive, but that never happened. The evening started with General Colin Powell giving a bravery medal to Paddy, a 12-year-old cancer survivor, which was very moving. Stevie Wonder and his entourage walked right by our seats a couple of times, which was pretty cool. When Neil Young took the stage, though, I did not think about any of that. I was back in high school and college days listening to song after song after song from that era.
Heidi, a fellow FAC member was sitting next to me. She was amazed that I knew the songs. She was not yet born the last time I saw Neil Young live. She had no idea of his significance and trying to explain the shootings at Kent State and the importance of the song “Ohio” was mind boggling to me. I realized that my “peers” on this council could easily be my children.
That was a special moment for me.
It did not matter, though. As that music played, I was 18 years old and did not have a care in the world. We got home around midnight. When the alarm went off this morning, I did not feel 18 any longer.
Have a listen to "Long May you Run" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nszR0tfp4Es