Recently at our staff meeting at work, I was awarded the "August All-Star" award (which comes complete with my very own parking spot!), and one of the reasons cited was because of the One Can a Week program. So I think this sign should read "All Star - Catalina Vista Neighbors!"
I can hardly contain my smiles when I walk up to a porch and there it sits - your generous food donations. Even when you forget, I really enjoy ringing the bell to say 'hi!'
Here's my two littlest helpers, my children Noah and MeiLi. Noah is a lot like me ~ he can't contain his silliness in the world. You see, a lot of things are funny, and he sees the humor in most. And Mizz MeiLi, with the capital in the MIDDLE of her name, is the smallest but not the youngest member of our brood, but certainly the Loudest. She hails from Hunan ~ and yes (if you are Chinese or have been to China you will laugh at this), she is SPICY! But her 'spicyness' serves her well. She will not be pushed around by anyone and she definitely has her own opinions. She also has no lack of self-esteem! Thank Goodness...
You see, MeiLi was left at birth on the steps of the orphanage where she would spend two years of her life. Her birthmother wanted to make sure that she would be found and taken care of. What her birthmom did not know ~ MeiLi is deaf.
Four years ago, she lay on the steps of the orphanage, and two years ago, she lay in my arms. When I picked her up, I was as terrified as she ~ although her terror was heard through screams (a complete shut down howling kind of scream like no other), and mine was in the pounding of my heart, terrified that this child didn't want me as her Mom. Little did I know, I was not in control of this ~ any of it. I was and am MeiLi's Mom since the beginning of Time.
When the orphanage staff handed me a soft little plastic bag, I put it away and figured it was a gift or perhaps a blanket of hers that I had sent previously in a package. But I was wrong.
We went back to our hotel room while MeiLi slept I took out the bag. It was the kind of bag with the plastic zipper that your children might have used to house their pencils. But inside it was something that sits in the fabric of my being.
When I opened it, I found a shirt with a character on it, some little pants (split pants - which are what Chinese babies use - they have a giant 'split' where they can go to the bathroom - no diapers), and a homemade hat. I traced the threads of that little hat, knowing that her Birthmother did the same as she made it. It was dark colors and she likely was hoping for a boy. I still cannot connect with the pain that she must have felt as she left her baby dressed in the little hat and clothes, wrapped in an adult sweater on the steps. She probably hid behind a bush and waited until MeiLi was found. And the emptiness. And the sacrifice.
I have a lump in my throat as I type this. I am certain I don't know what sacrifice is. And I still have that same throbbing, lump of a cry; a wail; an idontknowifitwouldstop kind of feeling that if I ever let it go ~ I might not be able to catch my breath.
So I send out into the Universe, to MeiLi's Birthmom ~ Thank You. Thank you, really. Thank you for sacrificing Yourself, for MeiLi. I wish you could see her laugh and hear her sleep. I hope for peace in your heart. MeiLi is bigger than Life itself, and she wants everyone to know it ~ including you. Thank you.
And Thank You to my wonderful neighbors who sacrifice the moments and groceries for a bigger cause. Life is so Precious. We only get one. Thank you.
See you next Sunday, you All-Stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!