Welcome to Lily’s Pad. If you walk in the door to this space, you will have to move fast as the front door tends to swing back and is likely to give you a good smack if you don’t hurry. You’ll be met by a slightly musty smell since we have had some rain and a lot of humidity and it’s been locked up tight for quite sometime. You’ll walk across bare concrete floors in need of paint and your footsteps will echo because the space is wide and empty. You’ll see missing tiles in the ceiling, broken bathroom fixtures and a whole lot of things in need of repair. And then, in the corner, looking slightly out of place, you will see a black and gray desk with one single chair.
That’s my desk, the same one I’ve had for probably over 20 years. I got it some time ago when I worked for my family’s catering company. I loved this desk from the minute I got it. If you could sit at it, you would understand why. I mean it’s truly perfect. A great U-shape, tons of storage and a decent color theme. It’s been disassembled more times than I can count; moved from various offices and buildings over the years and finally settling to rest at Lily’s Pad just waiting to be useful again.
Fortunately, this desk has always been mine and mine alone and I’ve never had to share it or give it up for anyone, In fact the only person I know who has ever had the gall to steal my prized seat at this desk is none other than my sweet little niece, Miss Lily. Our office was a bit of an oasis for her when she was going through her cancer treatments. A place she was allowed to go when everything else was off limits due to her weakened immune system. Inevitably she settled in my office when she came and without fail, she took over my desk. She would color at it, or play with my calculator or keyboard and sometimes she would even eat her lunch there. I knew when she visited that I would be deskless for the next hour or so and that was truly alright by me.
Miss Lily was a bit sad to learn that our catering company was going to close and she wouldn’t be able to come over to hang out there anymore. She wasn’t too consoled by the fact that my new career was going to be at Lily’s Pad until I showed her a picture of my old desk sitting there. Now I highly doubt that my desk will be the highlight of a visit to Lily’s Pad by any means. We will have a playground for goodness sake! Who needs an old desk to hang out with when there is a jungle gym and toys to play with. I get it. I’m sure the desk will understand too.
The thing is – I think it’s pretty sweet that the only thing sitting in this space is my desk. It’s a symbol of something. Not only has that desk managed to break apart and come back together at least a dozen times, proving it could weather any storm and stand up to adversity, but it also became a place that provided joy when there wasn’t a lot of joy to be found. To those that walk by it today, it’s probably just an old desk in an empty space. But to me, it’s a symbol of what this space will become. A space that is broken but will be put back together. A space that will provide joy to countless families who are having a hard time finding their joy. A space that will be used well and loved deeply. A space that will be a welcome sight to tired eyes. I guess some people will see an old desk but for me, I see an old friend. Hang tight, my friend, we’ll be back together soon. Until then, you keep sitting there being all symbolic and holding down the fort. It’s a big job, but I know you’re up for it.
Dawn Garza, Director of Operations at Lily’s Pad and a huge fan of that old desk