Victor and I had the honor of helping her out a bit, as well as the rest of the older kids. So, on Friday at 5 p.m., Angie opened up “Angie’s Styling Salon” and began braiding hair, doing makeup and picking out pretty dresses, lacy socks and polishing up high heeled shoes. Diana joined in with her own barbershop, taking charge of all of the little men’s hair, faces, dress clothes and shoes. Martita, Lolis and Martha became interior decorators under Victor’s guidance, while Fidel exercised his lungs and cheeks blowing up a TON of balloons. Fatima and I made a special apple desert. She and I have made several deserts lately and she is quite the cook! (In fact, when I made cookies without her….I burnt them! So, the key to success is Fatima, not me!)
Ana and Miguel
Right before 6 o’clock, Victor, Angie and I got our own “Formal Dinner attire” on and we were ready to go!
The violinist and the waiter!
I took my position as the provider of the violin dinner music and stood in the corner of the staff quarters hallway where we had set up the “dining room” for the dinner. Angie lined up the kids in age order from youngest, David, to the oldest who participated in the dinner, Josiah, and walked them up to the basement of the main house from our house.
The kids, in age order from youngest to oldest, being led by Angie from our house to the basement of the main house for the Formal Dinner.
The transformation in the kids was incredible! They walked in in an orderly manner, quietly, listening to the violin music, waited to be seated, sat straight in their seats, folded their hands in their laps(!) and waited while the waiter, Victor J, served them each their plate of food lovingly prepared by Rosa (breaded chicken breast, cooked vegetables and pasta)! At our normal meals we serve the younger kids their plates of food before we pray in order to not have to take the time to serve them, cut up meat, etc. after praying. We have the hardest time keeping them from eating until we are all seated and done praying. (Quite regularly we end up blessing the food already in little David’s tummyJ) However, during the Formal Dinner two year old David didn’t even touch his food until we prayed! Fatima’s face shone so brightly we could have used her as a lamp! She said: “Mom, we could hear you playing the violin while we walked up here and we saw you standing there in the corner.” The kids conversed together so quietly and politely as they ate!
The two tables of "older" children and myself providing dinner music.
One of the highlights of the dinner for the kids was the ability to boss their dad around! Since he was the waiter, they found great delight in being able to say: “waiter” and have him bring them what they wanted or needed.
Papa, the waiter, dishing out dessert to be served.
We ended the evening with a rousing game of Bingo, playing until everybody had called Bingo! Finally, an informal raffle in which everybody won a small prize finished our time together.
The three youngest kids playing Bingo: David (2), Daniel (3) and Ana (4). Angie was helping them and she was soooo patient!
Ana and her raffle prize!
I was so proud of Angie for her great idea, her perseverance and her passion to bless her siblings this way.
Angie serving her little siblings - thank you, Jesus!
I was so proud of Victor for taking part in something so foreign to his own experience growing up in a gang, yet willing to love his kids this way; of the older kids by jumping in to help, even though there was no reward in it for them other than the satisfaction of seeing the happiness of others; of Martita for hanging around during the entire dinner and taking pictures, which goes against the grain of her personality, which prefers to be alone; of the younger kids who fully took advantage of and enjoyed this special time. Thank you, Jesus, for moments like these!