It was 8 o’clock last night when I sat down to write my personal highlights post from the Digital Parents Conference. I thought I might just check out one or two (or eight…. or maybe ten) other posts from some favourite bloggers of mine before I got started.
And that was my first mistake.
At 8:15pm, the LGBB wandered up for last hugs (she’s all out of sorts, part first school-holiday-funk, part daylight savings over-tired emotional confusion). I tried to discretely wipe away my flowing tears. She came over to me from hugging her Dad and looked into my eyes before she held me tight. She was all soft and warm from the comfort of her cosy bed and pretty nightie. We didn’t let go of each other for at least a minute. The whole time, I was offering up grateful thanks to the unseen Master of Ceremonies, that my child would never know starvation – beyond what she deems as “starving of deaf” when her tummy is so hungry it growls – and that we had the capacity and the facilities around us to provide safety, comfort and nourishment.
You see, one of those blogs visited was Edenland. If you didn’t know already, Eden and two other mum bloggers (Kim from South Korea and Stephy from Germany) have travelled to Niger in Africa with World Vision. There is a food crisis so severe there that people have been working hard for months to slow the effect. But we all know how these things go. There is malnutrition. There is displacement. There is famine. There is death.
Lolly broke away from me and checked my eyes again. I smiled wanly at her but the kid wasn’t buying it. My thoughts were too loud for her not to hear something. She does that sometimes. Cheeky minx. “Oh Mummy, you need a tissue. I’ll get you one.” I watched as she climbed up onto the desk behind me and reached past the iPad, beside the iMac, over the two hard drives that store our movies and photos, and grabbed a tissue. She handed it to me with an endearing smile and then followed her father back to bed. Thank God. I didn’t want to have to explain my way out of my tears. Not tonight.
When we first received the sponsor child information for Miriam in Peru, I cried similar tears. This child with the wild hair, hard face and aged eyes was my hope in 2005. Hope that babies and children do live in this world. Not just live. Thrive. Off the back of losing my own child in privileged circumstances, Miriam brought me so much joy – she was alive! Our money and basic luxuries may not have saved our own child, for no amount would, but it seemed almost too easy to give if money was virtually all that stood in the way of Miriam’s village receiving basic services that would help everyone.
Survival is a basic right, certainly a natural instinct, but it does not befall everyone in this world. Losing a child is a reality for a woman sitting in a hospital NICU just as much as it is for one sitting exhausted under a tree giving the only shade in a dry, foodless wasteland. And I feel guilty. So, so, so guilty with my lot. That I would even call it a “lot”.
So, I can’t quite yet muster up that DPCON12 post I was hoping to bash out on these weary keys – did you know, I’ve typed so much on this lappy that I have worn through my second keyboard? And yes, they can be replaced! Who knew??
Perhaps the wrap-up post will come a week out from the day. It feels right to let it sit a while longer. And wrong to force it if my energy and attention are elsewhere for the moment. And right now, they are with the beautiful mothers who took my breath away and made the tears fall faster and harder.
From Eden’s latest post.
To keep up to date, you can follow the hashtag #edeninNiger on Twitter.