While the group home experience made last weekend very stressful, the party that Fi and I planned to celebrate the guardianship was a great success. There were 11 of us, family, Fi's friends from the Great School and Amazing Jane. Jane had only gotten back from vacation the day before but had agreed to not only come but to bring some of the friends.
I had made a reservation a week or so in advance and we had 2 waitresses that were assigned to just us. They were so kind and handled everyone so graciously. As you may imagine, some of the guests had some cognitive or behavioral challenges (my Chet falls into that mix incidently). Yet they were kind and calm, handling the occasional odd question or extra wait time for someone to decide if they really wanted dressing on their salad, with aplomb.
Fiona just shone with happiness. I think as much as the fact that we were cementing "forever family" for her, we were also cementing the promise we made at the start of the transition from the Great School, which was that she would not lose contact with people she had become close to.
She got a heart necklace that K and I made, Jane gave her a picture that I had taken of all the kids together at Christmas, and her friends gave her jewelry. It was a really bright gem of an experience. I will remember how she was smiling always.
Speaking of memories, we have not been to Olive Garden since KC was 2. Yet when Fi chose that restaurant he recounted a memory of how they used a giant grinder to put the cheese on his pasta. He was correct, but I was floored that he would remember that from such a young age. This is not really a random little aside. What it made me stop and think about was how many memories remembered or shadowy that Fiona still deals with, most of hers made intense from situations of trauma. I am glad that at least for that moment, there was a happy memory that outshone the others.