This post was authored by Morgan Benson, a Notre Dame student and Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar volunteering with TTL for two months this summer.
At my first birthday party, I stuck my face in the cake. It’s not a memory I have myself but one from my parents who held this party for me, even though I wasn’t going to remember a thing from it.
At first it seems sort of silly that they would even have the party. But after some thought, I realized that it was to celebrate the fact that, for the past year, I had grown and been loved. Birthdays are a day to recognize that fact and celebrate it with the people that care about you.
This is why there was a birthday party in the TTL safehome recently. Tsekiso turned three years old that last Friday, and Khutliso turned two on Saturday. Tsekiso and Khutliso are two of the oldest in the safehome with two of the biggest personalities, so when Chelsea and I heard they were turning a year older, we knew we had to celebrate.
Birthday sign made, cake baked, and accompanied by every bo’me and outreach worker we could invite to the party, we sang happy birthday to Tsekiso and Khutliso.
Frankly none of the kids knew what was going on. But everyone who had a hand in taking care of these boys for many months now gathered and celebrated the birthdays of two boys who got a second chance.
Neither of the boys stuck his face in the cake, but I think they enjoyed the party. Seeing them happy and smiling was a privilege TTL works for every day. They were surrounded by 20 of the people that have cared for them since they were so critically ill TTL had to intervene.
I was just a guest at the party; the bo’me and outreach workers are part of Khutliso and Tsekiso’s TTL family who loves them and got together to celebrate their lives. And so there was a party in the playroom.