Saturday, September 13, 2014

Different worlds, same crap

This could be anywhere in the world... you'd find it's got stories you're already familiar with.

Tonight I was talking with my Thai masseuse. Normally I don't like to speak while I'm getting a massage; I don't seem to be able to relax if I have to listen to what someone is saying. But for some reason, I didn't mind talking tonight. It turns out, I'm familiar with a lot of her story.
She told me her Thai name is Na (this is how I'M going to spell it). I asked, but she didn't tell me if it meant anything. She's almost 39 (or like she said, almost 40). She's a mother of two; a 14 year old girl and a 6 year old boy. They live in Thailand still. Na's parents are taking care of them. Na's been here for at least a year and a half.
As a parent myself, I can now understand what it means to leave your children behind. Or at least, I can imagine. I can imagine how hard and heart wrenching it must be and it's something I don't wish to experience first hand. Ever.
My mother is, however, familiar with this story. Due to a number of circumstances, she had to make that choice many years ago when I was still a kid. I was eight.
My father had travelled to the US back in 1979. Pursuing the promise of a better a life, not just for himself, but for the rest of us, he set out to try his luck. Lady luck proved to be hard to attain.
In 1984, my mother made the same journey, but try as she might, she was only able to get a travel visa for herself. As gut wrenching as the choice was, she had to endure it in order to survive.
I recall the day she left, not with fondness, of course; it still makes my hear sink. Literally.
As a man, I wager that women are, in fact, stronger than men. I say this because I can't imagine doing what my mother and Na did. The thought of leaving my two kids behind while I travel to a far off land for an uncertain amount of time kills me inside. It really does. I couldn't do it. I simply could not do it.
As Na was telling me her story tonight, I shared with her that my mother had had to make the same sacrifice years before. I  knew that what my mother had had to do was nothing unique to her. It's something that happens everyday around the world. Unfortunately.
It's just one more proof that try as we might, we're all more similar than we are different and we often share similar fates and experiences.
I told Na not to give up. She's working to help her family back in Thailand and save a bit to start her own little business here in the US. She has a good attitude. She said she talks with her kids over the phone and through Skype sometimes, but it saddens her. I can only imagine.
It sucks that we live in a world where sometimes, being far away from your flesh and blood is often the best solution to help provide for them. Just think of all that both parties are missing! A mom missing all the little milestones in a child's everyday life and a child living without his/her mom nearby.
May God watch over both mothers and their children all over the world. May He grant them the strength not to give up and not let this world get the better of them.

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