I am not going to get the mother of the year award after I confess this one.
It was 8:00 ish and I was tucking my little girl into bed. It was a day where I felt that although I really really loved my daughter, I really really couldn’t stand to be around her for one more second. It had been a day full of complaining:
“Mom, I don’t like this shirt. It feels funny.”
“Moom, I don’t want this. We ate it yesterday.”
“Mooom, I don’t want to … Moooom, I don’t have to … Mooooom, that is so icky!”
I seriously came this close ( imagine dead bugs on the bumper of a farmer’s truck) to plunking her on a shelf of cereal boxes in the grocery store and putting a for sale sign on her forehead, with a huge warning : “Not responsible for any lose of sanity that may result after purchase.”
So as I was tucking my little precious pumpkin darling dumpling doodles of a child into bed I was thinking: I don’t want to go through another day like this. And then it hit me.
“Pumpkin,” I said to her, “would you like to go and visit Desta tomorrow?”
My little girl’s eyes got as wide as frisbees. She sat up in her bed, barely able to keep herself still. She was like a bowl of jello sitting on a jack hammer.
“Oh oh oh! Can we really go and see her Mom?”
“Of course, you can pack your suitcase and we’ll hop on a plane tomorrow.”
I turned off the light and as I climbed the stairs I marvelled at the innocence of a child. Desta was our sponsored child. She didn’t live next door, or in the next city or next province. She lived in Ethiopia and I would need a tad more time to arrange a trip there.
That morning I put a suitcase by the door and set out a breakfast like no other for my daughter.
Kira bounced up the stairs. “Mom! Mom! Are we still going to visit Desta in Ethiopia?”
“Of course. We’ll get going right away. I thought you would like to eat what many of the people in Ethiopia have for breakfast. As soon as you’re done we can get going.”
My daughter took a look at the table, looked at me, then at the table again.
“Well,” I said, “I know you were so tired of eating the same thing day after day after day I thought that maybe you would like to try something different.”
My daughter looked at the plate and glass and her chin fell to her chest. A minute passed, then two. I had never seen my child so quiet for so long. Then finally she said those words that made me think that maybe things were going to be alright:
“I’m sorry, Mom. I won’t complain anymore.”
I gave that little girl of mine a big hug. Not because I knew she wouldn’t complain anymore, because gosh golly she will. But she got it. She actually got it.
I dumped the glass of muddy water into the sink and gave our dog the crust of old dried bread while my daughter grabbed the Cheerios.
My journey as an author, giving voice to child soldiers.