I'd pretty much had a horrific day with the boys. Yes, I am big enough to admit that. It was one of those days that I actually wished...only for a few seconds...that I worked full-time and could put my kids in daycare for someone else to deal their tantrums and troubles. It was but a fleeting thought and I felt guilty afterward.
I was reminded of how blessed I truly am, later than afternoon.
My parents have had a Filipino woman working for them (part-time) ever since they moved to Hong Kong in 1998. When they first moved over, she and her husband had a young daughter...just over a year old.
Several years later, she became pregnant again and had a son. Financially, things were tighter and the marriage wasn't so great anymore either. Housing is extremely expensive in most parts of Asia. It is also tiny...space is definitely at a premium. We're talking 600'sq for a couple of families to share. Government housing was no longer optional, it was the only way to provide a roof over her family's head.
A year or so later and this sweet, weathered, young woman - with a not-so-loyal-husband - is pregnant again. Her eldest is bright but no longer the apple of her eye, her son is an energetic and mischevious (!) little boy, and the baby is exhausting.
After receiving a letter from the government w/in recent weeks, she will now have to move herself and her 3 kids (husband no longer in the picture, for all intensive purposes) across the island to another location riddled with this subsidized housing. Because the government can.
Within the next month, her new daily (I mean 6 days a week) routine will morph into something like this:
- 6am wake up the kids
- 7am get all 3 (11yrs, 4 yrs, 20 mths) onto the bus and travel across the island (of HK)
- arrive at other end of island and off load kids, only to re-load the 2 eldest on their school bus
- she then takes her youngest to work with her at a local Filipino store...full time
- when not at the Filipino store, she is at my parents' place
- at the end of very long days, she and the 3 kids pile back onto the city bus to commute across the island, and home
- once home, they must all be settled and put into bed
Let's keep in mind any "hiccups" that will inevitably occur along throughout her day. Her youngest daughter was up the other night with some sort of illness. Living in only several hundred square feet (max) this meant that everyone was up. And therefore, everyone was tired the next day. An 11 yr old, a 4 yr old, a 20 mth old, and their single mother...all tired.
Yet, there are no sick days. She doesn't work...she doesn't get paid...she can't feed her kids.
I am realizing that my problems, my ups and downs, my daily woes are all relative.
I am fortunate. Not by fluke, but by grace.
I am richer than I realize. Not by finances but by things money can never buy.
I am not trying to sit up on some high and mighty throne. But, I think that on those "bad days" we really need to sit back and assess how "tough" we actually have it.
- Will we have a hot meal for supper
- Will we cuddle up into a warm bed at night
- Will we clothe and jacket our kids without a second thought before they go out to play
- Will our kids have the luxury of playing outside...on grass...breathing clean air
And, because my troubles and frustrations are all relative, I was reminded that I need to keep
(that little voice in my head saying "suck it up, princess" didn't hurt either)