Even though kids can be very resilient and are quite adaptable, it can still be very hard for them to part with friends. This is why we decided to allow each child to wrap up their time in Honduras by giving them the opportunity to say goodbye to special people in their lives in their own unique way. They were able to choose (1) who they wanted to invite to their party and (2) what type of party they wanted to have.
Each party was different; but they did have a few things in common:
- They were all very simple. Since the purpose of each party was to spend a memorable time with friends -and I’m not a very good party decorator-, we went “all natural” with the decoration. We used what we had and spent money mostly on food, disposable plates, forks, napkins, etc.
- There were blank note cards and markers for guests to write a special message to the parting child. If the guest was a child who could not write, I asked the child’s parent to write for them. We loved collecting the notes at the end of the party and reading the special messages from friends.
Below you will find a picture and brief description of each of the three parties we had:
Our middle child wanted a pool party. This one was going to be tricky for two reasons: (1) We didn’t have a pool and (2) rainy season was starting. Once the rainy season hits, it is very hard to maintain a pool clean. So with sufficient notice, we asked our friends and co-workers to allow us to use their pool and we set two different possible dates for the pool party. If it was too rainy on the first date, we would pray that the second choice would work. Luckily, the first choice turned out to be a very hot and humid day!
We provided delicious fried chicken cooked by a local lady and several side dishes (potato salad, cabbage slaw, watermelon) and we asked guests to bring a dessert or a drink. It all worked out so well. I really miss that fried chicken.
Dinner and Movie Party
Our second party was the simplest of all! My youngest invited two friends over for dinner and a movie. I prepared a very simple gluten-free meal of whole chicken cooked in water with carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper. I strained out the vegetables and kept the broth to cook rice noodles and steamed broccoli for their vegetable. I spread out old blankets and big towels on the floor and couches for them to sit on while they watched Cars 2 and served their dinner and drink on cookie sheet trays. They had a great time.
Reading and Bonfire Party
Last, but not least, was our oldest daughter’s Reading and Bonfire Party. We provided marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate squares, chocolate chip cookies, coffee and hot chocolate. We asked each guest to bring their favorite book and a dessert to share. At first, we weren’t sure if many would show up. A reading party is just not the type of party with which people are familiar. But this was the most attended party of all!
Our guests were asked to read a favorite passage from one of their favorite books. We had titles from Dr. Seuss, Richard Scarry. We listened to a few paragraphs in Tom Sawyer, El Loro Tico Tango, The Little Blue Truck, La Vaca, Definitions of Scottish Words, etc. etc. It was a fun time to get to know our friends even more. And it was a special way to realize just how much my children are loved. I was so thankful.
Do you have any other creative ideas for simple goodbye parties you would like to share? What are some other things you have done to bring closure to your children’s time cross-culturally?
When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home. Acts 21:5,6