It was 7 p.m., just 30 minutes short of everyone breaking fast. Just like everyone else, we were seated at our tables with our plates filled with food, patiently waiting. This unusually quiet 7 year old boy who was two seats away asked for permission to use the washroom with his friend and so we let him.
5 minutes after, the two boys came back panting and they were so eager to tell me of their misadventures. I listened intently and observed that the boy was missing his two front teeth. He was so cute when he laughed.
However, beneath all the laughter, I wondered how it must be like for him back at the children’s home. He has been there for the past 3 years and I’m pretty sure his teeth-dropping experience happened in the home.
Did he freak out when his tooth got wobbly in the beginning?
Did he wonder if it would be a painless, bloodless when his tooth drop or the complete opposite?
When I was 7, I had all those thoughts. Thankfully back then, my parents were there to ease my fears and anxiety.
But this boy probably had to deal with all this by himself. For his age, he probably figured that he gotta learn how to face the world without any help. He just gotta learn how to deal with it. He probably cried in his sleep because the world is such a scary scary place.
I wish I could be there for him and tell him that everything will be okay, that this big sister is there to protect him. But I knew reality wasn’t so easy and straightforward for this boy. This reality applies to the many other children in the home.
When I was new to the job 3 years ago, I didn’t know how to manage my emotions well enough that I broke down after work a couple of times because I felt so helpless. Lol. I didn’t tell my colleagues until much later and realised that it’s actually normal to feel that way. I needed to know my boundaries and role as an employee.
Not to restore their world as a parent or a guardian, but simply to be effective in my role.
So, that was what I did.
When there are days I feel so unmotivated to write that proposal, I tell myself that it’s not for me. Or when there are days when I am swarmed with work, I remind myself that it’s okay. The opportunities and partnerships we get from all the hard work will ultimately benefit these children.
I don’t know why I am writing this, but I guess I just need moments like these to remind myself that hey, everyone have their battles to fight and on sucky days like this (I’m down with a flu), there is a reason why I do what I do.
Oh little boy, I hope you know that someday, somehow that somebody was rooting for your survival success in this world and I hope you will have that strong fighting spirit in you too.