Wouldn't it be nice if everyone had everything they needed? I don't mean the newest iGadget or a newer car with more bells and whistles or a fancier house. I mean everything they NEEDED. Growing up, all my needs were met, even if I didn't get everything I wanted. As a parent, I try to do the same for my children, carefully walking a line to ensure I don't give them too much.
Admittedly, our financial situation has changed significantly in the past two years. We've gone from a two-income family of 3 to a single-income family of 5 in about 18 months. For a kid who had been used to dining out on a regular basis, participating in sports/dance/gymnastics regularly and attending "the" summer camps, the changes were huge. (Full disclosure - I miss dining out regularly too!) Of course, Abby never understood how fortunate she was to be able to do all of those things. Once they went away, I think she felt like her life was so terrible because she couldn't do all that stuff anymore. Even without all of that, she still lives a very good life, but you can't tell a kid that. (Well, you can tell them, but they won't listen.)
This summer, we decided to sign her up for a few weeks of summer camp. But, this was a new camp for her. A camp that has kids from all walks of life and a camp that has some kids that would happily spend a day in Abby's shoes (even without dinner out and gymnastics). On her first day at camp, Abby had a fabulous time. She knew a few friends from school and made a ton of new friends right off the bat. One friend's situation made a huge impression on our little girl. You see, this new friend and her two sisters are currently in foster care, patiently waiting for their aunt to adopt them. This was a huge eye-opener for Abby. She's aware of foster care and adoption, but being aware is nothing like meeting someone your age who doesn't live with her family anymore and who doesn't get to be with her old friends and attend her old school because she is in foster care. That night, at dinner, Abby said the blessing and she included her new friend and her situation. Mike and I were blown away and we both teared up.
It seems as if our little girl is growing up and learning life lessons that we, as parents, just can't teach effectively. So grateful that God put us where we are so that we could all learn a little bit more about ourselves and our community.