Many of the children we work with don’t experience a lot of fun before they are put in placement. When you come from an abusive or neglectful situation, survival takes a much high priority than recreation. Fortunately, after we get them we are able to provide that security and then they can experience other things.
Today, thanks to a kind donor, I was able to take most of the kids in my cottage to a Mississippi State University football game. And though our team got handily beaten by LSU, the kids had a great time anyway and for two of them it was a totally new experience. They were in awe at being on the top row at the stadium, impressed by the marching band, baton twirlers, and dancers, amazed that we could just throw peanut shells on the ground, and genuinely enjoyed watching the football. It was a pleasure to be able to provide that experience to them.
That got me thinking about other firsts I have been a part of. One of the most memorable was in Wyoming when a 15 year old girl caught her first fish, on her first camping trip. You would not have believed how excited she was.
I also remember a small cottage vacation a few years ago. We have three boys that have been with us for almost 4 years, and though they have always lived just hours from the gulf had never been to the beach and kept asking us if we could go. With a donation from a former houseparent’s Church, the use of the former houseparent’s living room floor to sleep on, and some money from my checking account we were able to go to the beach for a couple days. The kids had a blast and they still talk about it.
Some other firsts include teaching about 15 kids how to ride a bike, some were teenagers. First trip to the zoo, first horse ride, first game of bowling, first time on roller skates, etc. etc.
I can honestly say that I enjoy watching children experience new things more than I enjoy doing those same activities myself.