Little Girls, Birthday Parties, and Bathroom Stalls

Facebook.  I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.  I love that I feel connected to the outside world when I can’t actually get out into the world. I enjoy seeing pictures of sweet little boys and girls who’ve lost their first tooth.  I love seeing all the pictures of families at Christmas. And Facebook is one of my favorite things on the planet when someone posts something that makes me laugh on a really tough day.  But then there’s the other side of Facebook that I hate. I don’t enjoy people arguing about the current or former President.  People share the best parts of their life and I compare it to the worst parts of mine.  And I find myself feeling empty and less than.  And then there are the pictures of little girls at birthday parties.  You would think I would enjoy those pictures but they’ve always made my heart ache.  I’ve carried a secret around for 11 years that has hurt too much to talk about. Mikayla and Hope have never been invited to a birthday party.  I’ve waited for years for them to have a friend.  And last year I celebrated as I watched two sweet girls from church befriend Mikayla and Hope.  My dream for them to have a friend came true and I began to believe that other dreams I have for them can also come true.  Maybe someday they’ll be invited to a birthday party.  That would be amazing.

I was driving to church one Wednesday night in January.  Life was beating me up and I was feeling pretty hopeless.  I parked the van and the girls started jumping out.  I told our older girls, Taylor and Brynna, that I needed a moment to myself and asked if they would take Mikayla & Hope to class. I looked up to heaven and I said a desperate one sentence prayer.  God, would you put someone in my path tonight who will speak something that will give me hope?  

The very first person I ran into was Amanda.  She told me that her daughter, Katelyn, wanted to invite Mikayla and Hope to her birthday party.  The party wouldn’t be until March but Katelyn was already making plans.  Amanda was telling me that Katelyn wanted to have the party at a children’s museum.  And then I burst into tears.  Is this really happening?  11 years of waiting and my girls are finally going to be invited to a birthday party.  I began to explain to Amanda the reason for all my tears.  I told her that Mikayla and Hope had never been invited to a birthday party. And that I had never told anyone because I didn’t want to be the one to make it happen.  I could’ve went around to other moms and complained or cried about my girls never being invited to a party.  And someone would’ve felt sorry for them and invited them.  But this was happening simply because they were loved and wanted.  I had asked God to send me someone to speak something that would give me hope.  And He answered my prayer within only a few minutes.  My girls finally being invited to a birthday party renewed my hope.  God cares about every detail of our lives.  Even the little details that no one else knows about.

I’ll never forget the day that Katelyn handed me the invitation to her party.  I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the dinosaur on the front of the invitation.  Mikayla and Hope love dinosaurs.  I put the invitation on the refrigerator.  It was a reminder for me to take them to the party.  But it was also a reminder to never give up on my dreams.  Don’t give up even if I have to wait for more than a decade.

March 18th was the day.  We loaded up and headed for the children’s museum.  The girls enjoyed watching Katelyn open her presents.  They were all smiles as they ate their cupcakes and ice cream.  And then they got to explore the museum and have fun being with their friend.

About halfway through the party I took Hope to the restroom.  She looked up at me and she said “Where’s my friend?”  I told her Katelyn was probably playing with some of her other guests.  And then the tears started to come.  Not in Hope’s eyes but in mine.  “Where’s my friend?”  It’s a question I never thought I would hear her ask.  She has a language disorder so just the question itself coming from her mouth was a miracle.  But it was so much more than that.  A friend was something I wasn’t sure she would ever have.  A birthday party was a place I wasn’t sure she would ever be. But yet here we were in a bathroom stall and it was all happening.  A friend, a birthday party, and a question that brought tears to my eyes.  My heart overflowed.

The invitation to Katelyn’s party is still on our refrigerator.  It reminds me to never give up on my dreams for our girls.  Don’t give up even when the road is long and I feel like my dreams will never come true.  Don’t give up when Facebook constantly reminds me of what my family doesn’t have. Because one day my dreams for our girls just might come true.  And if they don’t come true I can always choose to dream new dreams.

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