Welcome to week three of the 52-Week Gratitude Challenge. I started this challenge for 2017 as a way to recognize the small things in my life that make it magical and worth living. Other posts can be found here.
Week three of the challenge invites me to focus on my family. Well, I have no issue being grateful for them and to them. My family puts up with a lot from me. I leave my house insanely early to get to work now that I am on foot. I get home insanely late. I am sometimes gone for fifteen hours a day. In that time, I leave before we spend any time together and I get home when every one is asleep. All for a job that feeds them and puts a roof over them. But that is not all there is needed in life. Life is more than food and shelter and basic needs. There are other needs that cannot be met for them while I'm working the way I do. I know this and I lived this with a mother who worked three jobs and I never saw. I wanted for nothing, except maternal affection. I know the effects that this has on a child growing up. But what else could I do in my current state? I must work, and I have to travel far to get there. Hector stays home and has to me mother and father to the kids, which is something that does not come very naturally for either of us. He has to do homeschool and shuffle kids from one activity to the next, all while maintaining a house and caring for Leo, and do it without a car. Sometimes we know we've bitten off more than we can chew, but we're already too late to back out.
Cecilia has been the savior of us all, helping with the baby, with cooking, and with housework. I'm afraid sometimes that we'll become too dependent on her- she's still only a little girl. She wants to play dollies and visit her friends, but instead she's been having to take up a role far beyond her years. She puts Leo to sleep every night. He lights up when she enters the room. Leo has not once called me 'Mama', or anything for that matter. He says "Cece" and goes to her. He adores her and she him, but sometimes she does not want to be a pseudo-mama. She just wants to do her homework uninterrupted or hang out with her mama. Can I really fault her for that? Without her, Hector would have to put Isaias into public school. Without her, my house would probably never get clean, cars would not get worked on. Hector would probably lose his mind from being forced into a role that he never expected to take on without getting a break, a break that Cecilia's help gives him.
When I chose this life of being the main bread winner, I knew that I would have to sacrifice a lot. I knew that Hector was going to have to sacrifice a lot. I never realized how much my children were going to have to sacrifice as well. I know that I would not have chose a different life for our family- separation was not an option, but I may have been able to prepare ourselves for this kind of life a little differently. Now we're in the thick of the battles of daily life and I can only tell my family thank you, for making it possible for me to work. I can only continue to care for them from afar, putting in the hours that get me to and from my job, that physically support them. I try my best to give them love and attention on my days off, but I know it is a poor substitue for having your mother there most of the time. We are losing out on time with each other for the sake of a job. I must work so their physical needs are met. I am only sorry that their emotional needs are not, a sacrifice we are all making.