Saturday, January 10, 2009
Sometimes we wonder why we do what we do.
Things get tough. Doing it on your own with little to affirm you. Life is not perfect in a family of 18 where fights can start over who left the bicycle out or who drank the last of the water. Sometimes it seems the problems outweigh the solutions, the failures outnumber the successes and the thought of losing even one of these lives you've poured the last 6 months into...seems crushing.
Times like this you need a talisman. You need a reason. A reason to stay and keep fighting against the tidal wave of kids who are killing me with medical bills and girls who still need to grow. People keep telling me I should do orphans because they're easier. Kids are not as hard as teenage girls. Yeah, we got drama.
And then I picked up my camera. I had left it while I went on a short break and the girls hijacked it and went nuts as you can imagine. I was told they took a "few" pictures. Try 174.
So as I was flipping through the endless montage of heads cut off and out of focus shots of babies walking and babies eating, and girls cooking and girls eating....I stumbled across a few videos they made (unknowingly because they weren't quite sure how to operate my very sophisticated machinery)
The girls were dancing and the children were bopping up and down in their own discombobulated dance trying to copy their mothers. They were laughing. And hugging. And cracking jokes by putting pillows underneath their shirts like they were pregnant (this last one slightly less humorous for me :)
But all the same...it struck me. This is why I do it. That laugh. That laugh that is no longer a stricken face, a stifled sob. Life giving them a reason to dance and not dig through garbage. It's a single acknowledgement that my existence here has some value. And that somehow, while I may not always see it, while I may not always get to reap the benefits of it---lives are being changed. It is these relationships that keep me here. They keep me here after walking away from big NGO's with lots more money to spend on internet that works and buildings I wish I could use to put my girls into school. With child care.
It is the fact that every night we sit around and talk like a family. Complete with inside jokes. And while some days it feels like a lot of work. There are the days when it feels like home.
And it is enough.