I do so many birthday parties for fantastic kids from many walks of life and many, many cultures, but it's rare that I see kids whose parents aren't able to provide them even with a full Thanksgiving meal. Real, live Princess entertainers aren't the first priority of folks who have to work to afford a birthday cake.
I was a little nervous when I drove up. Nobody looked like me. Nobody came from my background, or had anything at all in common with me, that I could see. I really haven't had much exposure to homeless people, or people who are needy or severely disabled. What were they going to think about me, in my fancy high-falutin' dress? I sat in the car and stalled, fixing my lipstick, getting my hair just so, before working up the courage to walk in there.
Now I've done more than 2000 parties. I do not get nervous walking up to the door anymore, EVER.. but this was just different.
I took a deep breath, pasted on my Princess smile and walked in.
And all the volunteers and guests turned and gave me huge smiles, clapped their hands and welcomed me to their dinner. After the opening prayer, where everyone gave thanks that they had abundance enough to share, I felt like part of a big family.
|Also, it's impossible to be nervous|
around Roro. He's just so much FUN!
The reactions we got from the kids were fascinating and wonderful. One little boy wouldn't take off his motorcycle helmet the whole time we were there. Another one insisted on keeping his hood pulled down over his eyes (we nicknamed him the Ninja). One adorable little girl just followed us around, demanding balloon after balloon and giggling. Each kid was different and unexpected in ways that made me rethink my approach and my character.
After I left, I went to my Mom's house, where the food was plentiful and we were surrounded by luxuries. I looked around at the big screen TV blaring Beatles Rock Band, the gold-leaf plates, handmade wine goblets, and all the beautiful little things that make Mom's house feel like home. I looked at my family - all in amazing health, all smiling and interested in one another's lives.. and I felt my heart burst open with gratitude.. for all that we have, and all that we take for granted every day.
I'm grateful for the opportunity to see life from another perspective. Thank you all for being part of my amazing life.. and I hope your Thanksgiving day was magical too!