I started volunteering at a daycare once a week for a school that teaches immigrant/international women English. While the moms are in class learning language, finances, etc we play with their babies & toddlers. There are families from Sri Lanka, Korea, Japan, Somalia, Jordan & other beautiful, distant places. I originally wanted to help because I thought it would be an amazing way to meet international women and to serve them while they are here – give them a positive view of Americans in my own small way. What I didn’t count on was completely falling in love; not only with the toddlers in my class, but also their mothers!
Each week I feel a little apprehensive about starting my morning with 3 hours of crazy toddler-ness (in fact, before I had Norah you couldn’t PAY me to hang out with toddlers – I was a high school teacher for a reason!), but by the time I walk through the door & little Irene runs over with a book to read her or Sebastian comes running with “TRAINS? TRAINS?” my heart is smiling. It is so much fun to hear them laughing and speaking to each other in different languages. I’m also learning to appreciate the process – helping them wash their hands – step by slow step, color within the lines (or just color on the paper!), throw their snack away in the trash can.
I also love watching the reunions during pick-up at the end of the day. To see their faces light up when they recognize their mommy & go running for the door. And then to see the love of the moms as they wrap their baby in a hug. Just knowing how I feel about Norah and the courage it would take to drop her off to a bunch of strangers that didn’t dress or speak the way I do; It makes me feel connected to them in a way I could’ve never imagined. It’s like – I’m a mom too. I get it. You’re doing a great job! We may not speak the same language, but man, do we love our kids! If only we could have those connections every day, when we watch the news and hear about famines in Somalia, or floods and earthquakes, or war and protests in the Middle East. Moms around the world – protecting & feeding & loving & standing up against oppression for their children.