I wuv you Barney mwah!
– Ajla Ribic, age 2, my neice
At an age when all of my peers are getting engaged, married and popping out a few children, I am quite comfortable in my space.
I don’t have my own child, but I have many children. I don’t have a husband, but I have the constant love and support of a boyfriend for four years (and counting). Whilst I do perhaps have desires to “settle down”, I am in love with my work and so grateful to have the support from family and friends which allows me to continue to grow TNF…
My work has without a doubt required me to build a certain level of emotional distance for me to be truly effective and forge a path of positive change in the lives of orphans and vulnerable children. It occurred to me that perhaps I have become a little too good at what I do, I am physically present directing and overseeing the order of our many projects, campaigns, workshops, fun events and distributions with our kids monthly but…
I have shifted so far from where I started – visiting my favourite orphanage in between lectures at university, helping the staff with the feeding, bathing and playing with the little ones; rolling up sleeves and helping with homework with the older ones or even sitting and listening to the girl’s talk about their teen angst and being an “older sister” to them.
I cannot remember the last time I did any of that.
Ajla Ribic is my niece (my boyfriend’s sister’s baby) and might be one of the cutest babies around.
The other night we were baby-sitting her and it was an awakening experience for me because here is a beautiful little girl with parents, a family and everything she could ever want, but at the end of the night, she ended up crying for her mom. It broke my heart because my mind went back to my early day experiences where babies and toddlers at orphanages would call any female in their presence mom without any real understanding of what a mother is or even worse, they don’t have anyone to fill that role in their lives and show them love.
Ajla stopped crying and immediately dropped to sleep the second that Fazlur put her on his chest and patted her back.
Babies who lack that physical contact are proven to be slow at both physical and emotional development. It broke my heart to think about all those babies lying in their cots day after day with no more physical contact than their feeding, bathing and changing times.
I need to get back to my roots, I need to go back to where I started and remind myself about the very basic reason of why I do what I do…
Yes, I had an Aha Moment. Oprah, wherever you are, I hope that you are proud 😉