For five days now my house has been home to a giant Barf-O-Rama, which I don't recall volunteering to host. I've jumped out of bed to change at least one set of sheets (if not several) first thing each morning (and for part of the time I've been among the sick). I've also not been able to leave the house in several days. So needless to say, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself when I left for an hour to buy some food after the kids were sleeping last night (did I mention my husband was mildly disgruntled that I was leaving him here at all while the kids are sick?)
But then at the grocery store I noticed the cover of a magazine with a hurricane victim on it. The woman was kissing her baby's face with a look that jolted me out of self-pity mode. I can't begin to understand or "know how this woman feels" having just lost everything she owned and being homeless and completely dependent on the kindness of strangers. But as a mother I do know and understand that look on her face. I could see on her face that in spite of everything she's lost, she feels incredibly lucky and blessed to be holding that living baby in her arms.
And that got me thinking about the movie "Rabbit-Proof Fence" that I watched recently. For those who haven't seen it, it's the true story about the Australian government stealing half Aborigine/half white children from their mothers and institutionalizing them ... essentially grooming them for a life of servitude. Watching things like that always makes me wish I'd never had kids at all. Not because I think the threat of something like that happening to my children is imminent, but because I find it so disturbing that human beings can be so cruel to one another... and most especially to children.
Reflecting on the trials of mothers who are in situations in which they lack the ability to protect their own children makes cleaning yet another round of puke off the carpet seem almost pleasant. Well maybe not pleasant, but it is a good reminder that many people have a lot of things to complain about... and I'm really not one of them. Please find a reputable charity and help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. And then go hug your kids.