Our foster kids had birthdays this month! They have shared with us that they have never had a birthday party with their friends! This makes me feel sad. We enjoyed making our bio kids birthdays a special event with friends and family. The day they entered our lives is worth celebrating!! Our kids probably have at least one great memory linked to a birthday party with their friends. But having a friends birthday party for a 14 year old feels a bit daunting!! We are way past pirate cakes and treasure hunts in the playground here!
The other mother chose not to celebrate her kids birthdays this way. Maybe it was cultural or maybe she just didn’t have the community connections or mental health to pull it off. Her kids were raised in Canadian culture though, so they felt the gap.
So we tried to fill the gap and help them experience a birthday party with friends! We got through one birthday successfully at the beginning of the month! Party with friends happened at an amusement park. Great connections with friends, memories were made! Then Covid-19 swept in and everything changed! The new found connections with peers were lost as isolation became the norm. The look on his face when I told him he couldn’t get together with those friends in the coming days broke my heart. For him it has been a long stretch of isolation and loneliness… before Covid-19 stepped in! Her birthday had to be postponed… no friends over. But we celebrated at home as best we could!
Each year that we celebrate a birthday is another year to reflect on. What marked this year as unique for you? Was it a good year? Did you enjoy an adventure or two? Did you check something off your bucket list? Did you meet a goal you’d set for yourself or complete a long task like education or building a business? Were there challenges in the past year that make you glad the year is over? How do you define the past year?
The past year for our two foster kids holds some black marks that they might rather forget. But it also holds some really good things. They arrived in Alberta one year ago today. They’ve been in Foster Care for almost 11 months. There have been a lot of firsts for them in this past year of their life. So how will they choose to define the year? The choice is up to them…
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens
As we face the current challenges that this year has brought what will we choose as our takeaway? We can focus on the negative impact the economy has had on our community or the restrictions Covid-19 has inflicted on us all, or we can choose to look at what has brought us joy and hope this year! I am thankful for our continued ability to be Foster Parents who are engaged in making life better for kids at risk! I am thankful that we continue to be healthy! I am thankful that this year we have taken steps to live intentionally in a way that honours who we are and who we are becoming!
I will choose to look at birthdays with a new perspective this year! The day someone enters this world changes things forever. There is no one else exactly like you. You have something to bring to the world. We never know how many birthdays we will have or the circumstances in which we will celebrate them. But they are worth celebrating!
So as you navigate the world Covid-19 has forced upon you I hope you choose to celebrate the occasions, enjoy the little things and look for the joy! Spring will come! How you remember this time will be up to you!
In the midst of the mess