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My daughter asked to have her birthday party at Waffle House and I went a little extra.
When Bridgett came to live with us via foster care at age five, we learned that she had never had a birthday party. As fate would have it, party planning happens to be my favorite hobby so I assured her that she had landed in the right home -- and that I'd try to give her the birthday party of her dreams for years to come. For her ninth birthday, Bridgett requested to have her party at her favorite restaurant -- Waffle House! I couldn't find any Pinterest tips on how to throw a birthday party at Waffle House so I got to let my creativity run wild.

Today we hosted 24 of Bridgett's friends at our local Waffle House and I think it's safe to say that we kept the waffle irons hot! As her friends arrived, they were given an apron, name tag and hat so they could fit right in with the Waffle House wait staff. After each child placed their lunch order, they took turns visiting the jukebox to select a song that would play during the party. After we finished our waffles, we played Waffle House trivia and bingo games with breakfast-themed prizes like bacon-flavored lollipops and jelly beans that taste like maple syrup! We then had a timed competition using special breakfast-themed Play Doh kits to see which booth of our party guests could create the most realistic looking plate of waffles and bacon -- with the Waffle House district manager as our special guest judge! We ended the party with cake shaped like a stack of waffles along with cookies that looked an awful lot like bacon, eggs and waffles before sending our friends away with "make-your-own waffle kits" so they can keep the party going at home.

One of the struggles I have faced as an adoptive mother is grieving the time that was lost to us before the girls came to live with us. That grief is complicated by the knowledge that Bridgett has a rare heart defect that was not properly addressed prior to her coming to live with us. She has spent more than her fair share of time in emergency rooms and hospital beds since we met her. I've been right by her side every single time learning a fascinating lesson: grief can be a gift if you will let it. The grief I feel over everything that was lost to us can actually be a gift; it's a very present reminder that every day I have with her is just that -- a literal gift. She's worth celebrating all year long, but it's especially fun when we're celebrating at Waffle House.
174 views Jan 30, 2018
Amy Beth Gardner
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