Raising kids whose lives criss cross international borders has a way of humbling me. It's not something I anticipated. And maybe the feeling really isn't accurately described as being humbled. I just know that there are times where I find myself amazed at the gifts I have been given and that somehow that makes me feel little and special all at the same time.
When the big kids started kindergarten this fall-that was one of those times. They went knowing about half of their sounds and Kenson was already starting to put words together when given sounds orally. I knew that they would soon be reading. That knowledge put a lump in my throat. In Haiti, the literacy rate is around 50%. That means that just from a pure statistical point of view, if my kids had stayed in Haiti, the odds were that one of them would never learn to read. To imagine that one of my kids would be illiterate, that grounds my feet in gratitude.
Then yesterday, I took Conleigh to the doctor. She has had a stomach bug since early Monday morning, complete with vomiting and a really bad stomach ache. I was pretty sure it was just a stomach bug but after an afternoon of no vomiting and her crying and moaning and writhing around, I decided to take her in just in case it was something else. After the nurse took her vitals and asked about why we were there, we were left alone in the small hospital waiting room. Conleigh was straddling my lap, her head buried in my chest. I couldn't help but think of the countless Haitian mamas who were probably in my very situation, who had a baby whose tummy was hurting tonight, whose baby might have been vomiting or had diarrhea. How many of those mamas really just wanted some reassurance from a doctor or a nurse that their baby was going to be okay, that it wasn't cholera or some other deadly illness? How many of those mamas were uncertain about their babies' well being but had no where to turn and instead kept their babies home in a small tin roof shack or tarp tent? (Just as an aside, there are approximately 2.5 doctors per 10, 000 people in Haiti and 1.1 nurses per 10, 000 people. In my town of 5, 000 people we have 3 doctors plus several physicians' assistants and one nurse practicioner. That doesn't count the various specialist doctors who make weekly trips to our town and certainly doesn't take into account the US average which is 53 doctors per 10, 000 people.)
Yes, those are the moments that leave me feeling small and special and sad and grateful and overwhelmed all at the same time, humbled by my position as an American mom.