A couple of days after my last post, the hubs flew to Philadelphia for 9 whole days. With both sets of grandparents living in Canada, I was definitely feeling overwhelmed. But then I started to feel sorry for myself and I knew I had to snap out of it. The moment I start to complain about my life is the moment I feel my unthankful heart start to shrink.
It must have been perfect timing, since the women’s bible study that I attend, is putting together care packages for single teenage moms. Each table is paired with a mom and her precious baby–to provide some basic necessities, treats for the young mom and make a no-sew blanket together.
Confirmed with reading this amazing post on the Momastery blog, I know that I am truly blessed. That the inconveniences of having to do every little thing for my little ones is outweighed by the love, health and two beautiful gifts of life. That the hubs has a career that enables me to stay at home to care for our children. That I don’t have to worry about how I am going to pay for my groceries. There are so many things to be thankful for. I just need to recount the happenings in every moment of my life.
Back to the teenage moms… in 2003, I started my teaching practicum. Green. Thinking I was going to shape the minds of the next generation of young thinkers and doers. One of my first ever students was a 15-year old girl with a 1 ½-year old baby. She was new to Canada as a refugee, with poor English. Upon learning about the horrors of what people endure at refugee camps, I can’t even imagine how much she had already suffered in her life. She showed up when she could, but when she did, she gave it her all. Her work was terrible. I didn’t care. I just needed her to show up.
At that time, I was dating the man who would become my hubs someday. I told him that I didn’t want children because I couldn’t bear the immense responsibility of taking care of a baby and raising a child to become a responsible human being. He agreed. Then we got married. A couple of years later, we had Froo. Even with all of my protestations, the hubs convinced me that it made sense to add a baby to our loving family. I agreed.
Upon returning to work and through a series of unusual daycare circumstances, we ended up putting Froo in a daycare that took care of the children of teenage moms attending high school. These babies were constantly sick, lacking in hygiene and general care. As a mom whose child was in the same environment, it was hard to have compassion for these moms, even though their needs were apparent. I was torn between wanting what was best for my child and knowing that these moms could never give their babies all that they could hope for.
But what do babies really need? After the basic needs have been met, I believe that a baby needs a loving community. People who care, take action and provide. A place where babies are loved and moms feel supported. No matter what. I am incredibly thankful to the church for taking action. For getting women involved in building a community, when it’s so much easier to stay isolated. Helping others is therapeutic in a way that puts things into perspective. It is no coincidence that the gift-giver is often as blessed as the gift-recipient.
I am not trying to pat myself on the back, by no means, I am just grateful for the community that surrounded me, during the 9 days of the hubs’ absence. There were kids programs, mommy groups, playdates and a Valentine’s day party to keep us busy, but most importantly–connected with others.
In my little effort to give hope to the young mom that my table is paired with, I made a personalized cloud pillow for her son. I blogged about my cloud pillows here–when I made custom ones for my mother-in-law’s friend (and amazing poet!), Mary Tang. This time, I used soft, dotted minky with contrast navy piping.
I want to share Mary’s poem again:
even the moon wanes
even the sun sets
stars ceased to glow
tides recede and
blossoms that scent the night
shroud the earth by dawn
and the heat of fierce embrace
fades in the glare of day
yet birds go berserk every morning
bursting their breasts with song
as mourning mists drift away
and the sun rises
again and again
© Mary Tang, 2006
This next photo is taken with a mommy giraffe and her baby. When we were on our cruise last year, I saw them and I knew I had to have them.
Okie, that is all. Life is full. Sometimes when life feels half-full or even half-empty, you just need to plug yourself into a community. That is probably my deep thought for the year. My next couple of posts will be about handmade baby gifts! But today, I am just thankful for the hubs being safely home, enjoying warm sunny weather together (he experienced snow storms and power outages–I truly feel for those living through insane winter weather!) and being grateful for my amazing community.