Wednesday, 18 January 2017
I left Haiti last December in preparation to give birth to my baby boy, Beau. I had planned to come to Canada for his birth, stay a couple of months, and then head back "home" to Haiti. However, after arriving in Canada, plans quickly changed. Ryan and I started thinking of the life we wanted for our son. We realized that if we went back to Haiti not only would we have no help/little help or anyone to ask for advice, but our son would be estranged from his family here in Canada and in the United States. He would not get to grow up playing hockey or trick or treating at Halloween. He would not have access to great medical care or education (at least nothing that is affordable for us at the moment). So many things came to light and I realized just how fortunate I have been to grown up in North America. We are surrounded by unlimited resources and so many opportunities. So my thought process was "is it fair for me to strip my child away from this? Is it fair for me to decide to bring him into a life that I chose to live, once I was old enough to make my own decisions?" It was my choice to move to Haiti. It was my decision to live with less and be far from my family. It was my choice to miss birthdays, funerals, weddings, etc to live out MY calling. But would this be my sons calling as well?
It has been the best yet toughest year of my life. It's always hard making big decisions but now even more so than ever as I must make these big decisions for someone other than myself. It's not as simple as just following my heart anymore. It is no longer about me and what I want, it is about this little boy who has me completely wrapped around his finger.
However, on the other side, I also have 15 children who I love with all of my heart and who are depending on me too. I have a country which I have called home and where I have loved and lost so many. This is the longest I have ever been away from them. I had planned to take trips back and forth but what I didn't realize is that breast feeding kind of makes that hard. Plus balancing work and starting a new business. And then the thought of being away from Beau for a week is almost unbearable. All of the little things that I would miss. I would love to bring Beau with me, but due to the current political unrest and him being too young to receive some of the vaccinations, I also do not want to expose him to any dangerous situations or illnesses.
I feel stuck between two lives. And my heart breaks every single day.
I miss waking up to so many little ones jumping on my bed and taking them on beach days. I miss driving up the winding mountainous roads and the breathtaking scenery. I miss the simplicity of life there and the focus on human contact and relationships versus materialistic items. Although I have family and friends here, I often feel alone. I've been struggling to try and figure out why I feel this way. And then I realized its simple... Every where you go in Haiti, you are constantly surrounded by people. You are greeted with kisses on the cheek, someone taking your hand, someone always asking you how you are. Your neighbours are always checking in on you, bringing you lemon juice and soup when you fall ill. You have real conversations. Not conversations about what things you bought when you went shopping last week.. and you don't have the materialistic items to distract you. You talk. You enjoy each others company. You sit on the side of a mountain with a family that has nothing more than four mud walls around them, and you are the happiest you have ever been. I miss it terribly. But yet, I also miss Canada when I am there. So what do I do?
I don't know the answer to that. I am not sure if I ever will. No matter what decision I make I will always be missing someone. There is no simple solution. Duct tape can't fix this one. I've remained silent over the last few months... suffering quietly... trying to figure out this balance of who I used to be and who I am now and what that means for me and my family's future. I've been feeling guilt for wanting to go to Haiti because that means leaving my son at home, and I've also been feeling guilty for being here in Canada and being away from my kids in Haiti. I've distanced myself from fundraising and posting updates as its been too painful for me to talk about Haiti or the kids. And the guilt from that consumes me as well.
At this moment, I've decided that although it will be extremely difficult to leave my son for an entire week, I will return to Haiti at the beginning of March to try to ease some of this burden I have been feeling. My friend & coworker Lacey will also be joining me. I can't wait to finally hug and squeeze all the littles that I've been missing so much. I can't wait to laugh and to catch up with our staff members and see the progress that has been made. It has been over a year since I have seen them. I can only imagine how they have grown and how they've changed. It saddens me to know that I have missed out on all of the new things our toddlers are doing and all of the challenges our teens have faced. Skype and WhatsApp can only tell/show so much. But I am grateful for our dedicated staff and nannies who have continued to care for our children and keep me updated day to day. I will miss my son terribly and will likely cry every day that I am gone.. however.. it comforts me to know that he is in good hands here with his very supportive and understanding Dad, and with my family to assist him. I know this is something I must do. I know that my heart needs this more than ever. Haiti has become such an integral part of who I am. I need a little taste of "home". I need a little taste of "me".