September 15, 2012: Mosaic Dance Party

A smooch from my new friend, Tom

A phrase we commonly hear after doing something that is a waste of time... "Now that was two hours of my life that I can never get back." I don't know the phrase for the exact opposite experience, but that's how I feel right now. The two hours I just spent with my many wonderful co-workers, family, and friends while entertaining the residents of the Mosaic living community was the best two hours of life I have spent in a long time.

After meeting with the development manager at Mosaic a few weeks back, we had decided to host a fun-filled picnic as part of our Lutz Gives Back program. We had known of Mosaic's great services and walked away impressed with the loving care we saw today. The best description of the good work of Mosaic is summed up in their mission statement below. 

Sunday is a busy day for families.  One full of kids activities and family time.  But within the confines of their already busy days, several of the Lutz contingent along with family and friends met at the Mosaic Community Center at 91st and Fort to share some food and smiles with their residents.

As my son, Ben, and I arrived at the community park, we noticed a disabled man sitting on a park bench dressed in what appeared to be his Sunday best...a black suit, button down shirt, and blue tie. He was mumbling "it will start soon" and didn't respond when I gave him a cheery "hello".

Although I assumed he would be one of our guests, I thought it was best to give him some space based on his initial response to my greeting. Ben and I proceeded on to the community center as Rob (a.k.a. DJ Dugout) was setting up his music equipment. As we started rolling out the round tables from the basement of the center, the man in the suit first watched and then after noting his strength with the flex of his muscles; started following our lead and helped us out. Within fifteen minutes and the set up of the last table, he extended his hand and introduced himself as Tom.

As Rob played the music, there was a bit of a Pied Piper feel as the residents and caregivers began the pilgrimage out of their homes to join us in the circle drive in front of the center. Our kids set up the crafts and bingo while the adult volunteers prepared the meal of fried chicken, potato salad, and beans. And the residents lit up as though they were attending the most desired gala in Omaha.

Craft table is going strong as food is served in the background

By this time Tom had begun to dance. He warmed up the crowd with comments like "I'm  just getting started...bring on the ladies!". He would also heckle the DJ; asking for some good music. Rob conquered his critic the minute he began playing an Elvis tune. Before I knew it, I was shaking my booty along side both Tom and his adorable friend, Matt (who by the way knew EVERY word to the lyrics of each song played).  I am quite sure my kids were videoing my performance, but no worries by me; dancing with the two of them to Smash Mouth's "I'm a Believer" was a blast.
Bingo begins including curbside participation by the kids
The kids were amazing with no fear of the people muttering strange words while sitting in wheelchairs. They enthusiastically helped the residents with Halloween crafts and excitedly passed out Bingo cards. While the kid both played along and helped man the Bingo cards, Rob called the game providing great entertainment with many resulting smiles. Matt and Tom were giving us all high fives as they shouted out their bingo's and had many questions of these people who had just entered into their lives. I was asked everything from how my car drove in the snow to how short Matt should cut his hair.

The first picture displaying my gift before
the surprise kiss on the cheek

The kiss from Tom came a bit unexpectedly after he gave me the gift of a Tootsie Roll he had won in Bingo. As Beth was taking a second picture, he put his arm around my waist and planted one right on my cheek. Bliss.

I think the best way I can sum up the afternoon was hearing my twelve year old son describe in his own voice what he saw and felt at our picnic. "Mom, I didn't know what this was going to be like and I didn't really want to go. But it was good. I think they had a lot of fun. The lady in the blue shirt loved bingo and would shout really loud when she won.  Tom was my favorite. Do you think we'll go back again some time?" Yes, Grant, we will definitely go back again. I am pretty sure I promised Matt and Tom another dance party :)


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