Since we last connected Miss Leila turned 10 years old, double digits. Each year we are fortunate enough to celebrate the changing of the numbers with a few different celebrations. We maintain the birthday breakfast in anticipation of the years ahead when she will choose to celebrate with friends in the afterschool hours without TiTi.
Auntie Nicole remains my right hand for birthday prep. Parents offering their assistance ensure I can simply go with the flow. Kids having a ball. Leila is surrounded by some amazing young people both in her extracurricular endeavours and school. This year she celebrated with friends who can be considered life long and those new to her circle. Leila’s circle is reassuring. I observe children who are respectful of one another, listen to one another, and appear to truly have joie de vivre.
A big thank you to the parents/guardians/families who guide these young people. With so many reasons for us to worry about what is going on beyond our control that could negatively impact on them and witnessing Leila’s friends in action what I see are resilient children, bright children, optimistic children and carefree children.
No, I am not naïve in believing they live in a world struggle free or they don’t have meltdowns or they don’t create a little havoc in their wake. What I choose to see if they continue on what appears to be a path of caring adult support, they will build resources to meet the challenges. I can assure you some of them already have met tough situations, so the foundation seems to be firming up. I am also not so naïve as to think their paths are set in stone. Those of us who have lived life into adulthood know that anything could come along at any time to knock them down, because life does that sometimes. What I do know if they continue to be surrounded by caring adults the safety net is there to catch them.
Oh, and by the way, we are all part of that safety net. For the kids in our lives and the kids we don’t know. The ripple effect of our care reaches far beyond the immediate circle of influence. No pressure, just be you with love.
With that being said, the lines in my life are often blurred. Path interrupted positively when Leila arrived in 2009 to teach me life lessons that are continually popping up. I reflect on my childhood, the caring adults who were my safety net and with my broader lens from life think of what their journey was like when life threw curveballs their way. They lived through the Great Depression, WWI and WWII. They either emigrated to Canada or were first generation newcomers building their lives and in turn building a strong foundation for our lives. As a child, teen and young adult they shared stories and teachings of possibilities. I am forever grateful for their guidance, strength and courage. Because of the integration of their influence and opportunities life added to my path, many times unexpected the life I live is richer beyond anything I could have imagined.