Sunday, November 11, 2007

Apple Mint Jelly and Lindonberries?

So I had an overnight nanny job on the North side of the city on Saturday. It was for two young girls, ages 4 and 1 1/2. The four year old was interesting, to say the least. She attends a French preschool about thirty to forty minutes from her home every day during the week. Her vocabulary put high schoolers to shame as she described herself as a "voracious" reader, asked me to hurry up the breakfast "process," and repeatedly said "oh my, what a wonderful day" and "isn't today simply wonderful?" She only watched one half hour of television a day and it has to be a pre approved show on PBS or Noggin. She can play educational games on internet sites like PBS for one half an hour also. She made up intricate stories about life and animals and told them to me. She asked me a million questions about my life like separately asking specifically how every single room in my house looked, where I go to school, what I like to do, my favorite color, if I like Dora the Explorer, etc. Upon hearing her proclaim that I was her most favorite babysitter ever, I asked her to elaborate on reasons why. She asked what elaborate meant, and then explained that she particularly liked me because I was wearing a pink sweatshirt. Honestly, I was a little irritated by her by the end of the 24 hour job. But looking at her and her sister and all their educational toys and health food (they have never eaten at McDonalds, they eat banana chips instead of potato chips, no juice only organic milk and water, no junk food, they love fruit and veggies) I was able to actually see the world at their finger tips. It was like seeing a positive future in the flesh. There is no way these little girls can fail. I looked in their eyes and saw happiness, peace, excitement, fun.
It was a bittersweet reminder of what childhood should be like. What an unbroken family looks like. What manners and healthy living can do for a childs development. And money. What money and being white can mean for a child.
I have a little girl in my life that I love and spend time with. She has an absence of positive role models or figures in her world. She does not have a playroom filled with educational toys and books and when I buy her some, they always disappear from the house by the next time I see her. She does not have pink clothes and ribbons for her hair. She is currently failing second grade in a school situated in the last of the notorious Chicago housing projects. She lives 2.5 blocks from her school but does not get there regularly. When she does attend, she is late. Her mother is not fond of getting up early in the morning to walk her across Clybourn (the busy street separating her apartment from the school). The other two adults in the house are not concerned with taking her either. They often don't pick her up from school on time, leaving her to "play" in the housing projects parking lot until someone does arrive to take her home where she will sit in front of the tv and watch adult programs until she falls asleep late at night on the couch. Her clothes are usually dirty and mismatched, and she can sing all the most provocative hip hop songs on the radio word for word. Her vocabulary is deplorable and she cannot read the most basic of words like Hop, cat, on, by ...I dont need to go on.

These children live worlds apart and twenty minutes from each other. I could not help realizing all these discrepancies as I watched this little girl I babysat for dance around the room singing a song in French. How is this just, fair, or part of God's plan? Why did one deserve to be born into such opportunity, love, promise and the other into such deplorable living conditions, neglect, years of ingrained institutional racism, non stimulation......... And how exactly does the color of their skin factor in here? This four year old was light years ahead of my seven year old sweetheart.

Some things I bet my sweetie would not be jealous of though- the little girl I babysat for had apple mint jelly and lindonberry sandwiches for lunch. What is a lindonberry? I still am not sure but they were imported from Switzerland. Apple mint jelly; the color, the smell, the consistency, the idea - all made me close to vomiting.

5 comments:

Marquis said...

I love that Noggin! (no pun intented) lol... wasn't really funny, huh?

You ask the question "How is this just, fair, or part of God's plan?

Paul adressing the Areopagus answered this question;
"And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,"

Each one of the girls were put in their situation "in hope that they might feel their way toward Him and find Him.

God established the boundaries of their habitat/ Ain't no accident that she was born listening to rap/ accident that God made them white or black/ in America, South Africa or Iraq
Flame

daMamma said...

...Jesus came here for the sinners and the less fortunate... remember HE stayed in the sinners house NOT the rich persons house...

It's easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven... 'member that???! ! !

Sarah said...

to enter into conversation here mom, Marquis pointed out to me recently that Jesus came for the sinners: that means rich and poor.
It was weird I knew that everyone was sinners, but sometimes I think that like "screw the rich people, they don't need saving." In essence, I think they need God as much as anyone else.

In the sermon on the Mount (in Matthew), Jesus teaches us to store up our treasures in Heaven where they cannot be destroyed, instead of on this temporary earth.

mark said...

I think you meant lingonberry.

noun
1. low evergreen shrub of high north temperate regions of Europe and Asia and America bearing red edible berries [syn: cowberry]
2. tart red berries similar to American cranberries but smaller


And lingonberry jam tastes great. especially in warm rice pudding.

damamma said...

I think by RICH... it means people that have "their riches" in worldly things... RICH as in lots of $$$ and lots of THINGS...

some people could be RICH in experiences, RICH in compassion, RICH in forgiveness, RICH in love... but poor in worldly things,,,