Click here to go back to the Society of Richmond Children's Centres website.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Clearing Cook Rd

Do you ever clean out your house or office and you feel like its lighter....that the room is somehow unburdened?

I was struck while cleaning out our Cook Road Children's centre so the contents can be stored during the repairs and renovations that somehow, despite throwing piles and piles of almost 20 years of accumulated "stuff" out....the rooms were not did not feel good to be purging and clearing out.

Three of us started the initial clearing out but I quickly became uncomfortable about making decisions about the materials and decorative pieces in the centre without the Centre Supervisor who is also the SRCC's resident Interior Design specialist.

So she and I spent yesterday morning there.

She was faced with 4 tables full of items she has lovingly procured over years and years.

She is the patron saint of Value village and has an eye for special pieces and a flair for making eclectic look homey and inviting and engaging for young children.

She is an efficient person and got to work filling boxes.

But as we chatted and together processed all that has happened over the last several weeks as our hopes for a quick resolution to the water ingress were dashed over and over....... I realised just how heavy a task this was for her.

These are not just things to her.

These are holders of memories.

As she picked up each one it reminded her of a time, or a particular child, or an event.

Even if she didn't speak it out I could see it in her eyes or in the gesture as she swept her hand over the item.

It was hard for her and it was hard for me to watch her.

She is temporarily displaced, as are her colleagues.  Our families relocated to other care.  Our "place" in disarray..... depressing....quiet.

To many it may be just another child care centre..... some shrug and say "not to worry it will open again"....

But for her and for me and for our organisation it is a loss....we lost the space in May and we don't expect to have it back until 2015 sometime.

 A loss of time, a loss of connections, a loss of a workplace, the loss of providing a service to families
we care deeply about.

We are all grieving a little bit.

Also hopeful a little bit of what will come back in this space.

What a beautiful new space will offer the community.

For now we are packing and purging and cleaning.

And the building does not feel lighter because you cannot pack 16 years of memories.