Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Letter

I had a whole other post in mind today. Something fun and frivolous. But that's not the post I'm gonna write. You see, I went in the boys room to put their laundry away. I swore I wouldn't pick up their room, because it's their responsibility. And once again they didn't do it and I forgot to check before they headed to school. I was pissed. I tried NOT to pick it up, but I couldn't stop myself. The puzzle was scattered all over the floor and if I didn't pick it up we would have lost Rhode Island. Yes, we could have lost a whole state! Now that I think about it it's just Rhode Island. Would anyone have noticed even? Besides me. I shouldn't have done it. You know what they say about hindsight though right? That's when I found the letter.



If I have made it seem like life is a big extended party over here from my posts, well, that's kinda true. But it's also hard and frustrating living here for a lot of reasons. And I don't think I've written about that until now. I knew when we got the opportunity to move to Africa that this would be the last time I wanted to move the kids, especially overseas. They've gotten to an age where their friends and their world outside our family has become increasingly important. So imagine moving that world to go live in Africa. We realized it would be tough for them to leave their long time friends and head to a far away land, but we thought that the long term benefits would far outweigh the short term sacrifices. And we still do. Now we live where we don't know the language, the customs or why you can buy kleenex at every friggin' traffic intersection and yet I've never seen any Moraccan buying kleenex, much less using it. This is Moroccan Mystery #132.

From the beginning, our oldest child has had so many challenges. That's a whole post in itself and one I will never write. He was 11 when we told him we were moving to Africa and he was the only one who cried. At the time we were supposed to move to Senegal. Looking back now, thank god plans changed and at the last minute we were diverted to Morocco. Things would have been much harder in Sub-Saharian Africa.

Every day that we have lived here my son has told me how much he misses the states, how much he wants to go home and how much better EVERYTHING is in America. I'm not exaggerating. We have this conversation every day. Every freakin' day! And I try to be Morocco's best cheerleader because there is a lot to love about being here. ( But today isn't the day that I'm going to go down that list.)

So I listen, console, commissertate and try to inspire new ideas and new thoughts. That's try with a big t-r-y. Because it's exhausting doing this every day. And you know what? Somedays I'm not feeling so damn cheery myself because I too miss my friends back home. Some days I just want to be shopping at Target and not bargaining in the medina. I miss the comforts and the familiarity of home too. I don't like the 9foot wall around our house that makes me feel like we live in some bizarre Beverly Hills prison. I don't like seeing all the poverty around me and feeling helpless. I don't like that it's illegal to be gay here. I'm sick of stray cats everywhere, especially ones that attack our cat. And I do not enjoy standing up and trying to aim just right so my pee hopefully makes it into the squat potty and not on me and then tipping someone for the opportunity to do so. And this is the short list of my complaints. I'm whinning. I know I'm whinning.

Luckily, Sky has made two really good friends while we're here. But guess what? They are both moving back to the states this month. And do you know how great the states are? Do you? So now my child who has been bullied at school this year and waded his way through friends to find really great ones now has to say goodbye to them. This sucks! This of course means that we have to say goodbye to their parents who are our friends too. Double suck! I'm whinning again. Of course we really never say goodbye to friends, but man it sure seems like it right now.

I had so many expectations for myself and the kids when we moved here. And in so many ways I feel like I've fallen so short. I haven't learned French or Arabic. And learning the language is just the most basic thing one should do when moving to another country! I wanted to be part of the local community, to help clean up the environment, to volunteer at an orphanage. Something. And I've done nothing. And then I look at my kids who are my everything. They have been so brave through this "Hey we're moving to Africa thing". I'm so proud of them! So what I'm not changing the world? They need me. They need me more than the environment, the orphans or the kleenex guy.

So when I read the letter from Sky this morning in his bedroom expressing all of this, well, I cried. I'm still crying as I write this. It's hard to see your child hurting. I know it's been a really hard year for him. I know he wants nothing more than to go back to Colorado. But the fact that he wrote it all down so succinctly and then cleverly didn't pick up his room so I would go in there all pissed and discover this letter next to his copy of Popular Science featuring a great article on Black Ops all folded like that. And then he signed it affectionately, "you know who". How can a mother of an angsty tween help but get all emotional?

I can't magically make everything better for him. I can't change the world. I can't clean up all the trash in Morocco. I can't take in every orphan. Hell, I can't even take in every stray cat. I can't give to every homeless person. I can only do my best to help him (and I) see things in a new way. To take each day as it comes, even if I need to take a big breath and put on my best fake cheerleader smile to do it. I now see that my best efforts to change the world are right here at home. Cause this is where I'm needed most. Now, where the crap is the kleenex guy when you need him most?

We've been keeping something from the kids. I hoped to keep it a secret a little while longer. But I think it's time to tell Sky and lift his spirits a little bit and he can keep it from the other 3 kids for just a little while longer....maybe...

8 comments:

Treathyl FOX said...

I feel for you, momma. It's hard trying to keep yourself. It's even harder when you have the responsibility of raising children. I have 11 children (5 boys, 6 girls). Most of them are grown. I have 10 year old and 17 year old left. I find more than one letter by more than one child. God bless the pen and pencil. Writing is so therapeutic. I don't know the particulars of your situation but I can tell you this - stay strong, be their mother, feel their pain, help them through their struggles - pray a lot cause it's probably a bunch if stuff they won't tell you! With God's help THEY WILL LIVE!! I survived 9 of my children, I have 2 more to go. My conscience is clear. My decisions always had their best interests first in my heart.

Jack Scott said...

My father was in the army when I was growing up and we moved around quite a bit. I have some memories of feeling dislocated. On the whole, though, I look back on my experiences positively and with affection. Hopefully, your son will too. It's very mature of him to write his feelings down and a credit to you that he feels able to.

hocam said...

Hi Marie, I feel for you. Raising our children is the most worthwhile but also the hardest and heartbreaking job we will ever do. Sky has told you, in a way that was safe for him, exactly how he is feeling. Hang on in there. You'll work through this together. With your support he'll learn how to work through his difficulties, a great education for later in life, when he will have to cope with what life throws him as an adult.

Dwija {House Unseen} said...

First, you almost had me crying at this post, so I can't imagine how emotional you must have been writing it. You are a great mom!

But now:

Hold on...you've been keeping something from the kids? are you coming back to AMEEEEEEEEERICA AMEEEEEEEEEERICA GOD SHED HIS GRACE ON THEE??? If not, tell me now before I decide that that's it. Either that or another baby. Pretty much those are the only two things I can think of. Hurry, before I start spreading rumors!

The Loerzels said...

So NOT pregnant! So NOT moving!

Surviving Five said...

Beautifully written, I was in tears along with you and I'm happy that I found this blog so that I can follow your journey (and find out your surprise!)

A Brilliant Life said...

I know days like these. I have noticed, for me, that the good days here are really good and the bad ones are REALLY bad. Like somedays I just get so sick of being bullied in traffic and everyone trying to cheat and and and and and I could go on and on. But then along comes a good day that leaves me feeling out right lucky to live here and have my little girls know this place as home. Ehhh ebbs and flows. Keep your head up! I am sure that letter was heart wrenching!

The Loerzels said...

Yes, and I was in an ebb when I wrote this post and I'm back to flow for now, thank god. I must confess I totally love the freedom of driving any way I please here. I'm gonna have trouble driving in the states again...

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