I've missed a couple days only because too much has happened to even keep track! So on Friday we had a birthday party for N, a young mentally retarded woman. She, K (her 22yo sister and caregiver who rescued her from a terrible situation), and L (another mom) and P, her 16 year old daughter, all came for the party.
N said her favorite cake was chocolate so of course we got a chocolate cake, ice-cream, candles, and a card. Pizza and a bunch of other stuff rounded things out nicely! We began the festivities by giving them all time to take showers. And then we ate, sang, and laughed so much! So many smiles, and a few tears. They talked about so many things and showed us photos. N loved the cake--we got her a little perfume and bracelet for a present. She shyly said it was the first birthday celebration she had ever had.
At some point we started talking about things in the future. Interestingly, K, the 22-year-old, said she does not plan to have children, that she's been asked to raise other people's children too many times in her young life. P, the beautiful 16-year-old, told us she wants to be a doctor, so we talked a lot about that. She does not plan to have children either. We encouraged her to hang onto her dream and if she meets someone special at some point to make sure they care enough for her to want that for her.
We packed up the leftovers and with big hugs all around, Javier drove them back to the tiny room they share. N has never felt comfortable hugging Javier and he always holds out his hand very respectfully for her. This time she didn't take it and just gave him the biggest hug. Given her traumatic history, this was a big bridge crossed. Made me teary.
Monday, P is coming for our first Spanish/English session! I'm so happy that she feels comfortable leaving the room they are in to spend time here, because for a long while she has not wanted to go anywhere. Her mom is worried about her, given what they both experienced when the husband/father was savagely beaten to death while held in L's arms as P watched.
******* In the Good News Department: At least 18 blankets are on their way here, I got the cutest 1/2 birthday video of the baby born to our Cuban friends who are now in Miami...AND L's dental work begins tomorrow! Thanks everyone! Compassion is a verb.