In 1969, Lorraine* was a single mother with two teenage sons, working nights as a waitress. When asked by a co-worker to babysit his newborn infant for a night, she agreed, but the man did not return the next day and Lorraine was left with the baby boy. For her, there was no option but to continue caring for this helpless child.
And isn’t this just how mothers are? Resourceful and unselfish, caring for whomever is in need. In spring, we celebrate Mother’s Day, also remembering grandmas, aunts, and others who have been there for us through our lives. Honoring your mother or other loved one with a gift to Friendship Center will allow us to continue caring for those who have cared for us with kindness and generosity in their hearts.
Today, Lorraine, 88, is a member at our Montecito Center, and has the most generous heart. It often seems she wants to mother everyone she meets, the kind of person who would give you the sweater off her back… and believe us, she’s tried! We love her caring nature, but knowing her story makes us cherish her even more.
Back in 1969, after several weeks of caring for and bonding with the infant, finally Lorraine managed to track down the father. It became immediately clear he had no intention of returning. Instead he asked, “You really care about him, don’t you—why don’t you keep him?” Stunned, she asked why he had chosen her. “Lorraine, I knew you’d be a good mother,” he said.
Her son, Dave*, then 13, recalls saying, “Oh, that’s all we need.” But in the same breath he shares that he and his older brother truly “fell in love” with the child, Josh*, and were happy to have a little brother. Lorraine relates proudly that her boys helped care for the baby at night while she worked. “Even changing diapers!” she says with a laugh.
The family moved to the Santa Barbara area to make a fresh start. Lorraine got a job in electronics and became a high-level solderer, NASA-approved to work on circuit boards. An accomplished artist, she also enjoyed painting and macramé. And she always loved to cook, feeding anyone who showed up at her table, including her sons’ hungry friends.
As if this was not enough, for a time Lorraine was a long-distance caregiver for her mother, whose health was declining. Each weekend she drove to Los Angeles to care for her mom, cooking and leaving meals for her to eat throughout the week.
Having always wanted to make Josh’s place in the family official, Lorraine was thrilled when she was eventually able to legally adopt him. Our local newspaper even ran a story about the unusual family addition.
Lorraine unfortunately suffered a stroke in 2008, and since then has lived with Dave and attended Friendship Center’s day program in Montecito. After a lifetime of caring for others, it is Lorraine’s turn to be cared for.
“It’s totally changed her life and mine,” says Dave. “She loves coming to the Center so much, and the friends she has made there. I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s all about keeping the family together, and I’ll always appreciate what Friendship Center has done for my family.”
With your contribution to Friendship Center in honor or in memory of a loved one, you can support families to continue with that loving care at home while we provide a caring, home-like environment during the day.
When you were a child, your mother and mother-like figures cared for you. As these women move into their later years, they are now in need of such unconditional love and compassionate care.