Today is a holiday that has so many different "feels" for me. Today is the day that Haiti celebrates mother's day. It's no secret that life here is hard and that the level of injustice is overwhelming at times. At the mention of "Haiti" one quickly can come up with a list of things that this beautiful country struggles with or is in lack of. And yet, what most don't realize or give credit to is this band of women who literally have stood together for years upon years doing absolutely everything within their power to raise up the future generations of Haitian's. At first glance many of these women don't look like my own mother or in some ways raise their children the way I was raised. And yet, the longer I live here and sit in the homes of my dear friends the more I realize that there really is no difference. My mother did absolutely everything she could to make sure my siblings and I were cared for and loved. It looks different here but at the core these momma's are fighting against everything else to prepare meals for their children, to send their children to school, and to physically carry bucket after bucket of water to hand wash laundry and bathe children all day long. All of my kiddos have different stories but at the core they each have or had a mother. My relationship with each of these mothers is unique and different.
One of my sweet friends has this relationship with the Lord that is so present and real that it literally overflows into the way she loves and parents her children. Her life story is anything but easy and yet she is quick to hug her children and has a laugh that is contagious. Some of my kiddos are raised by their grandmother and I am constantly in awe at how well she loves them. This grandma raised a handful of her own children and is now raising several of her grandchildren. She isn't quick to get angry with her grandchildren and always gives them the bigger portions of whatever food is being prepared. Daily this grandma makes sacrifices in order to provide for her grandchildren. I am constantly in awe of another dear friend who I rarely see sit down unless she is washing clothes or breastfeeding the baby. This momma works day in and out in order to send all of her children to school. Just days before this momma delivered her last child she was still walking several miles with her donkey loaded with charcoal to sell in order to provide for her children. This mother isn't a mom that is all "hugs and kisses" and yet watching her do everything she can to make sure her children are cared for is humbling. This mother has given me a special spot in their lives and that is something that I will never take for granted. We have laughed and cried together and she has shown me that there is so much more to the story than what is seen at first glance.
I am so thankful that I have been surrounded by women who have not only taken the time to teach me about language and culture but that have also "parented" me by teaching me to hand wash my clothes and how much to pay for everything from fruits and vegetables to material for school uniforms. These women have given me a spot in their homes and in their children's lives and that is something I will be forever grateful for. I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to learn from this generation of momma's that love in so many different ways.