Why Her Daughter's Birthday Party At Waffle House Meant So Much To This Adoptive Mom

"One of the struggles I have faced as an adoptive mother is grieving the time that was lost to us before the girls came to live with us."

When Amy Beth Gardner first met 5-year-old Bridgett through foster care, she was heartbroken to learn that she'd never had a birthday party. In August 2015, Gardner and her husband adopted both Bridgett and her older sister. Gardner couldn't wait to give them both amazing birthday parties they'd remember for many years to come. 

This year, Bridgett turned 9 and requested to celebrate at her favorite restaurant: Waffle House. "I couldn't find any Pinterest tips on how to throw a birthday party at Waffle House so I got to let my creativity run wild," Gardner wrote in a Facebook post about the celebration

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On the day of the party, 24 of Bridgett's friends went to the local Waffle House to ring in her last year in single digits. They put on aprons, picked songs for the jukebox, and, of course, ate waffles. They also played Waffle House trivia, bingo games, and made a plate of waffles and bacon out of Play-Doh. Prizes included breakfast themed prizes like bacon-flavored lollipops and jelly beans that taste like maple syrup. 

"We ended the party with cake shaped like a stack of waffles along with cookies that looked an awful lot like bacon, eggs and waffles before sending our friends away with 'make-your-own waffle kits' so they can keep the party going at home," Gardner wrote. 

But it's not just the fun and unique birthday party theme that made the event so special. The adoptive mom opened up about why throwing the party was so important to her, and the struggle she's faced grieving the time she didn't get with her girls before they came to live with her and her husband. 

"That grief is complicated by the knowledge that Bridgett has a rare heart defect that was not properly addressed prior to her coming to live with us," Gardner explained. Unfortunately, that means Bridgett has had to spend quite a bit of time in the hospital. 

"I've been right by her side every single time learning a fascinating lesson: grief can be a gift if you will let it," Gardner wrote. "The grief I feel over everything that was lost to us can actually be a gift; it's a very present reminder that every day I have with her is just that — a literal gift. She's worth celebrating all year long, but it's especially fun when we're celebrating at Waffle House."

(H/T: Love What Matters

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