Before we came to Haiti this year, I had a discussion with Mackenzie about some things he should expect during the week here, and how it might be different from home. We talked about the weather, the food, where he would sleep, and, most importantly, the children. We talked about their names, I shared some of their “stories, ” and I told him he would figure out the rest when we got here.
Looking after kids like any big brother
None of my kids are perfect, and I have never strived for that as a mother. I have only ever wanted kind, helpful kids who realize not everyone is as fortunate as they are. And still, trying to teach those lessons is an ongoing process, and, as any childcare provider knows, there’s no instruction book!
A badly needed break in the heat
I knew Mackenzie was ready for this trip as much as he could be, but he has far surpassed what I expected of him. From the moment he stepped out of the van on that first day, I knew he would be as happy here as I am. His smile lit up his entire face, and the kids ran to him with hugs as if he was a long lost brother!
Mackenzie as overseer of Luc’s math
Mackenzie spent the first night outside with me on the second floor in his bed tent, and then decided he’d move his mattress onto the floor on the screened-in balcony–away from his mother
–for the rest of the trip! He had his own little piece of paradise under the Haitian sky!
Bedtime story for a tired boy
But now, he has moved even farther away from me, probably a whole 100 feet down the driveway! He’s spending his last two nights sleeping with “the boys” in their house “anba” (down below)! I kept asking him if he was sure he wanted to do that, but then I realized I wasn’t asking because I was worried about HIM…it was me! I, his mother, foolishly worried about him being away from me to stay with the boys he’s spent so much time with since last week. They’ve worked together and hung out together, doing all the things kids do, no matter whether they’re “vanilla” or “chocolate,” as Karen says!
Mackenzie and Luc at a sleepover at Boy’s House
Having Mackenzie here has reminded me of an important lesson as his mother–I can only teach him so much, and the rest he can figure out on his own. The children here have the same hopes and fears in their lives as any child would, although their circumstances make things more challenging, but not impossible.
When we teach our kids lessons in kindness, compassion, and some life skills, there’s no need for us, as parents/guardians, to keep “fixing” things for them. Things won’t always “go right” for them, but they don’t always “go right” for any of us. Our kids WILL survive and find their way, and they will be all the better for it, because no matter where you go, kids will be kids!
Time really does fly when one is having fun. It is time to leave but we do not want to go. We will be back to our family here next summer.
Hugs from us in Haiti. Heather