Monday, March 12, 2012

Do you know where your kids are?

Someone who works as a cleaner here in Jakarta, lost his 7 and 11 year old children. For six days.

Now I remember when I lost my eldest in a store about a decade a go. I had remained reasonably calm for a very long time whilst we looked for him. Maybe 10 minutes had passed when I thought, "He's gone. He's actually gone." Though in reality he was sitting somewhere rather inane, completely content, yet to be found.

But six days? How, as a parent, do you do six days?

Their Mum died a year ago. The Dad works everyday, for about $90 a month. Which is significantly less than even the minimum wage here. So his three kids go out on the road every day and beg for money. No maths, reading or kicking a ball. Just standing in amongst the crazy traffic here, the pollution, waiting for some small change to be handed out of cars like mine, from people who are earning more money than they could fathom.

And then they were gone.

Two of my boys are 7 and 11.

The father had his youngest still at home. He asked everyone he knew. Where could they be? He has no power, no media at his disposal, no money to pay anyone. He waited helplessly.

Incredibly, they came home. Unharmed. Hungry and carrying some flu, but okay. I cannot imagine that reunion. I'm still not clear where they were for those six days.

My gorgeous driver, who lives from pay to pay, is giving the family an old Playstation to try and keep them at home. Keep them entertained while their Dad is working, for such little income. Which also means less begging, less income, less food.

But their Dad will know where they are.

This world can be such an overwhelming place. My boys are sleeping peacefully just now. I know exactly where they are. They are safe and secure.

And I'm giving thanks.

Join me, will you?

Giving thanks:
  • First tooth lost - finally!!!!!
  • The wonderful promise of special visitors!
  • Bowling with two boys. So nice to have some focussed time.
  • Sitting on swings, spinning around...having lunch at a fun restaurant with the some of my boys.
  • Sunday nights with my groom. The 'window' in our week when we talk.
  • An email from a much missed friend.
  • Some time with number three, even though it was because he was sick!
  • The anticipation of middle school for my big boy. Exciting times ahead.
  • A run after many weeks patiently waiting. Apparently my knee has not caught up to my age. Yet.
  • Tears from a boy, worried about what a girl will think of his haircut. Already?