There is always light amidst all the uncertainty and fear that bubbles amongst children who reside at Tennyson, and the staff who care for them while carrying their own fears and anxieties.
Because the coronavirus is not only changing our lives but also making us look over our shoulders, wondering where it awaits us…
Despite all this we celebrated last night.
With music, grilled burgers and Shirley Temples.
As we do every Wednesday evening, but with an added splash of joy and hope that made last night particularly special.
A girl — who cares for others, who stands with some of our most afraid children and comforts them, and whose academic progress astounds only those who gave up on her — is headed home to her mother this afternoon.
A mother whose love bursts out from her daughter’s smile and who too many judged erroneously, simplistically.
A celebration was called for, and a celebration was had to the sounds of sizzling burgers, laughter, optimism and music that confirms I am getting old.
Because when a kiddo goes home all children start to imagine a similar storyline for themselves…
A 6-year old led the charge on the Shirley Temples — an amazing young girl who took everyone’s orders after researching (with a teacher) what a Shirley Temple actually is — 7UP, maraschino cherries and grenadine — and who Shirley Temple actually was because you have to know the story to truly make the drink properly.
She gave you only two options for cherry quantities — 2 or 7 — and why not?
Seven is a bit much for me so I stuck with 2, but I noted that many kids celebrated with 7.
Again, why not?!?
This girl left her mark on my wall, as all children who leave Tennyson do. It’s special and illuminates the story all staff will tell of her — how she helped people heal by being their friend, especially to those whose stories of loneliness and isolation was carried by them into Tennyson, only to be rewritten by this remarkable young girl.
As is tradition — we all share hopes and memories about our time with this young girl. The memories were beautiful and heartwarming and silly — as they should be — and the hopes all centered around hoping she never has to come back to a residential facility like Tennyson.
Hopes that she thrives at home, that she is the best student at her school, and hopes that they see her again because she profoundly served the speakers on their own healing journeys — children and adults.
I could not help but raise my Shirley Temple to that…