Monday, March 29, 2010

No Easter Bunny

Or at least, not the Easter Bunny they're used to.

The domestic violence shelter where I volunteer weekly has lots of middle-grade kids right now and several babies. The babies don't remember the sanctuary filled with flowers, Sunday School, Easter baskets,family parties. But the older kids do.

The shelter will give resident and returning kids an Easter party tomorrow night as part of group activities. My supervisor usually decorates the room and buys festive plastic tablecloths and Easter cupcakes and junk food in happy spring colors. She finds little crafts they can make during the party and fills "goody" bags for them and their moms. I give them a special treat during my groups and we all watch for kids who need extra TLC or structure.

It's not enough, of course. Holdiays are especially painful for women and kids who cannot return to their own homes. It doesn't matter where they are during the holdiay--at a shelter, foster or adoptive home, a friend's or relative's home, whatever. It is still painful and traumatic because holidays are about tradition and traditions vary greatly from place to place.

Traditions for these kids' families range from little to none, or may include a list as long as your arm. Passover has not been an issue so far but we do occasionally have Hindu or Muslim children at the shelter and their religious and cultural spring holidays are as intertwined with concepts, memories, family, and experiences good and bad, as are those of Christian children.

We watch sadness, anger, confusion pass over the children's faces as mothers and staff struggle to explain why they cannot go home or to Grandma's or to church this year. They promise that next year things will be better.

And I, not particularly religious, but a strong believer in prayer, ask that their promises are kept and their dreams come true.

1 comment:

JulesTX said...

I hope next year is a better year for them too !