I was sitting on the bus today. This was one of those rare moments when my children were silent and starring out the window. I was keeping an eye on them, each in different parts of the bus (not far from me, but enough for me to keep an eye on them). I noticed a couple behind James. They were darling together.
They were an older couple. He was whispering in her ear. She smiled and nodded. There was love. You could feel that they were happy. They were real groomed. I thought I hope when Adam and I reach their age that we will look like them. I began to wonder what they looked like as teens and as children. I looked over at James who smiled at me. I imagined the man as a boy. I began to imagine James as a teen and as a man. I hoped that he would still have that smile he flashed at me moments before.
My eyes than turned to the man in front of me. He was an older man. Age was written on his face, hands, and clothing. He looked like he was wearing his best, yet dust and stains marked his pants, shirt, and jacket. I looked at his hands, one of them shook slightly as it held his can. I noticed his fingers and they looked worn and tired. His chin was saggy and covered in white hair. It looked like his skin would tear if he shaved it off. His eyes is what I remember most. They looked like they were full of what-ifs.
I could not look at this man for long because I started to tear up as my mind filled with so many thoughts and emotions. I began to think about how it must have been to grow up in Lithuania 30, 40, 50 years ago. I thought about all the war and turmoil this county had seen. I thought about me being born in the middle of this man's life. When life was really beginning for this man his country was under a tyrants rule. He may have even seen Germany be in power when he was a boy. He may have seen his family, friends, neighbors being dragged off to Siberia or other locations. He may have had no opportunities in life due to when and where he was born. The thoughts of his filled my heart with grief. I began to wonder how I was so blessed.
My great grandparents went to the US with my grandmother when she was a small girl. I do not know why they went. They seemed to have all they needed in Mexico. They left. They raised their daughter there. She in turn married a Mexican man. They chose to have and raise their family in America. Many of my Uncles and cousins have served in the military. My own father served in the Navy. I then was born and raised in the US. I am so grateful for this. I think why me?
If my great grandparents had not made the choice to go to the US would I be in some small town? Would I have married young and had no real opportunity for an education? Would I be one of those many illegals trying to get into the States? Would my life be a life of crime as a worker of the drug cartels (they are known in the region where my grandfather is from)? I do not know. All I know is my life would not be what it is. I would not have the family that I have nor the opportunities I have and had because of where I was born.
I wanted to sob when I was on the bus. If no one was there I would have. I was overwhelmed with the emotion of gratitude. I have lived a happy life full of blessings. I sometimes complain that I do not have XYZ thing here as I did when I was in the US. I was humbled today that many have nothing nor half of what I have. The most precious thing I have is my family. My children are my greatest joy. I am grateful that I have them. Even on days when I feel like I need a break I still know that I am so blessed.
I have seen so many people who have no one. There are many old men and women in my neighborhood. Many of them are shocked when they see all my children. That they are all mine. I get asked when do I find time for myself. Or why I have so many. I have thought about this a lot. My children are not an accessory or part of my marriage package. They are my life. Once you decide to have one child the choice has been made to give up yourself for that child. The child needs you. In many ways you need the child. It is a beautiful bond that can not be experienced any other way.
I am not perfect. I want time to myself. They get loud. I do have moments where I want to leave and go shopping by myself or go see a movie by myself. I go to the bathroom for a quiet moment even if I do not have to go. I do sometimes stay an extra 10 minutes in the shower because I cannot hear anyone cry. I am a normal person.
I also have moments where I cannot stop hugging them. I go into their rooms at night to give them another hug or kiss while they sleep. I sometimes still go in to make sure they are breathing. I like to play games and build with them. I love my children. I really do. I want them to do more than I have done in this world. This is what my dad wants for me. I believe that is what his parents wanted for him. I am grateful for who I am. I am me because my dad was who he was/is. I have what I have because of all those who were before me. I am grateful for all the sacrifices of those who made my path easier and happier for me.
17 hours ago