Wednesday, October 2, 2013

wash your feet.

this school year - as short as it has been - has been really difficult for me. it's hard to put into words. it's not stress, it's not even too much work.
i've been dealing with a lot of rich guilt. i put that out there, because it's real and it's hard.
septembers are tight for us - i work on semester contracts, and there are two months of the year that we just don't get paid. no matter how much budgeting happens, no matter how much tightening of the purse strings, it often gets to counting pesitos at the end of the month just to make sure we have enough.
this year, we got thrown for a few loops - enrollment at our kids' school was double that of last year, added on to a new first grader with six text books instead of two. samil is also growing like a weed and we needed to get new gym pants for him. amely got bronchitis, which meant a trip to the doctors that was not in the budget and then pepito, our dog, got a parasite.
we are not poor. we don't even really struggle for money.
when we got tight this month, i almost complained.
but then, an easy 6-week opportunity to tutor a (favorite) student showed up that alleviated a lot of our weekly need.
and then, the guava tree started dropping fruit - and the cherry tree started to bud.
and then...
a little student came in with a busted toe. her older sister let me know that she had dropped something on her foot and it tore off her toe-nail. she'd need to wear sandals to school for awhile until it healed.
there's the problem - her little toe couldn't be cramped up in a shoe, but it's just not a good idea to have that sad toe hanging out in a gravel and dirt-filled playground with a bunch of other little feet stomping around. at first, the toe came wrapped up.
but then, it just was dirty. and every other day, she was crying that someone stepped on her.
it took me awhile to realize that the toe was no longer being cleaned at home. lacking some gloves, i put my hand in a plastic bag and cleaned my little friend's foot. her screams killed me. we put some neosporin on the toe and wrapped it in cotton. i sent home cream and bandaids.
she is still coming in sandals. the toe is not healing.
and so for the past few days, i've washed that little foot through screams and tears. and every single time i hold back my tears -- because that's the part of the job that is hard to put into words.
there is often so much pain. and so few resources.
i am always reminded how much we have - economic stability, solid educations, a backyard filled with fruit trees. i don't know, i don't like being cheesy but those blessings are meant to be shared.
it doesn't make it any easier - my little friend still break my heart and she screams for her mom as we wash away the dirt from her toe. (and frankly, i think we need to go to the doctor's and make sure it's just dirty and not infected). and it's easier to say "don't worry"than to actually follow through with that.
that's where i am. we're happy (and i got paid last week, so there are no longer financial worries) and healthy and even pepito is on the mend. i'm just kind of muddling through what to do with all of these "not being enough" kind of feelings.

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