and it has been going around and around in my mind
even as i was too sick to sit down and just let it out.
i learned a lot on the last trip to uganda,
though it felt oh so short.
it will definitely take more than one post
to talk about everything i discovered, realized, loved and lost.
but in such a small amount of time,
i was reminded of something that i see each time i'm in africa,
but that i don't always talk as much about to my friends, here.
i don't know for sure.
maybe it is because it is a bit embarrassing at times,
and it is really hard to admit,
and it makes me miss that continent more than ever.
every time i go, i come back knowing this-
my goodness, those women are real,
they are brave and strong
and i look up to them more than i can even try to describe.
those women - the mamas at the different homes -
they know about hard love
and they know so much more than me about living on empty.
living on empty, for me, is so silly,
i almost can't say it.
living on empty, for me, looks like a rainy evening-
can you picture it?
it is raining, and i know the car is almost out of gas,
so i'm annoyed.
and i didn't park it in the garage.
and there are two in the driveway.
there are two cars in the driveway,
but mine is almost out of gas and it's raining.
maybe the baby is crying, so i'm frustrated,
and i'm out of diapers, except for the safety ones,
but those ones have the extra sticky tabs i don't like,
and they fit the baby a little funny.
i just put my hair up, and washed the makeup off my face,
and now me and the crying baby have to go out in the rain,
into the car,
drive to the gas station
[and not even the gas station i like, because i don't have enough gas for that]
get out in the rain,
wait for the car to fill up,
go to Target with the crying baby,
buy the diapers i like,
and go home.
it's a made up scenario, but it is as close to anything
real for the hardships i face in this beautiful life i live.
living on empty, for those daring, amazing women,
looks so much different.
living on empty for them means there are fifty-five diapers left,
and fifty-seven babies,
and they don't like putting those little tinies in towels
because of course it feels funny,
and it gets wet and it stinks,
but they do it anyways so that the babies can wear a real diaper
to bed tonight, and sleep in a bit of comfort they don't always have.
living on empty looks like rice.
a lot of rice.
but my word, if they don't smile as they are passing it out.
living on empty looks like thirty spoons too few,
but each baby gets to eat.
it looks like a lot of crying,
and a lot of mess,
it looks like food in the mouths' of babies who don't want it,
and those mamas keep feeding them,
because they know food means life,
and i love you too much to let you go
means they are going to keep trying until that food goes down
living on empty looks tired and it looks rough.
it looks like a group of women who have decided,
these babies are going to make it,
and when one falls down and cries,
he gets a pat, and gets told "sorry, baby,"
but then he is back up with the rest,
because that means life for him.
and it is everyday for these women.
back up and back at it.
i think they are my heroes.
and i hope when i'm a mother, i can be as real and beautiful as them.