Since I got home from Guatemala, I’ve felt like this:
I’m not really sure why. It’s not like I’ve been an emotional wreck. I’ve just felt…like I’m moving too fast and my brain can’t catch up.
Last Thursday morning, August complained about the milk in his cereal and then poured it into the sink untouched. So, of course, I followed him to the bathroom where he was brushing his teeth and proceeded to cry fat tears about how I SPENT THE PAST WEEK WITH REAL KIDS WHO DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FOOD. AND ALL I WANT IS FOR YOU TO BE THANKFUL.
Then I took some deep breaths and remembered that my son is five years old. He doesn’t need my tearful lectures in the bathroom about why his milk tastes just fine and he should finish his cereal. But my tearful lecture was all I had to give him.
I’m doing all the regular things. Washing clothes and pulling them out and imagining the women with their arms deep in the shared community washing bin in the center of their towns scrubbing and scrubbing, their hands raw and red. I think of their kids playing in the dirt around them.
I fold clothes and I think about poverty.
I know this is how it goes. I know it takes time to process a trip like this, no matter how many times you’ve experienced the reality of poverty. You still slide your knife into the onion and remember how those mamas cooked in that hot, tiny room where the flies landed on their children. You remember how they were learning to feed their children protein. And you ask your kids to eat their meat or they won’t get any dessert.
And it feels like you’re rolling through this. Faster and faster and opening your eyes to the sun only for gravity to whip your face back to the ground again.
They are real people, you tell yourself, every time you look around at your upper middle class lifestyle, your hands carving slices of excess food, taking out the trash of all that you’ve consumed. Real people, you think, so you won’t forget.
Also, you can still sponsor a child in Guatemala by clicking this link…