My Monday was hectic and long, but I had to keep my promise to the two newest children to arrive at Hope Gardens Family Center. It was one of the youngsters’ birthday and I had promised to get her a bike! When you start a trend, you should count the cost. I write this because as the first few children arrived at Hope Gardens when it opened this summer, I noticed that they were borrowing the bikes of our residential staff. I thought, “This can’t be.” So, I came up with the brainy idea to buy bikes for them. Well, 30 children later, this is getting kind of expensive! But, fairness and consistency are important, so now it is my job and delight to get new bicycles for each new child who arrives at Hope Gardens.
I picked up my new friends, Earl and Angela, at about 5:00 P.M. on Monday evening. We received permission from their parents to take them to the store to pick out their own bikes. On the way Earl, 5, spoke up first, “My biological father does not like to spend time with me. He likes to spend time with his new kids, but not me!”
I replied, “Well, I like to spend time with you, Earl, you are a fun kid to spend time with!”
“How old are you?” answered Earl.
“How old do you think?” I asked.
“My mom is almost 30, so you must be 26!” I really liked hanging around Earl now!
As I delighted in his reply, Angela, 15, leaned over and whispered in his ear that I was closer to 55! I laughed on the inside.
“Angela, how could you do that to me!” I asked playfully, since I will be 49 next month!
She blushed and we all laughed together.
Then Earl, more at ease, began singing his version of “I Can Fly” – something about Burger King and a chicken wing. He indeed was 5 years old, despite his wonderful vocabulary and breadth of knowledge.
We went into the store, purchased the bikes, and stopped at McDonalds to have a birthday dinner, as it was in fact Angela’s birthday. Angela purchased the food with the money I gave her while I picked up a bike, a scooter, 3 helmets, a horn, a tricycle for a little one, and a stroller for a new mom with a new baby.
Earl didn’t buy any food. “I am too excited about riding my bike! I can’t eat!”
“I know how you feel!” Angela exclaimed. “When I heard that we were moving to Hope Gardens Family Center, I couldn’t eat for 3 days! It is the first time in my life that I have my own room!”
Thanks for your support. It is my delight to bring joy and so much excitement to children that they are too excited to even eat! — Rev. Andy B.