Or, “The Cockroach and The Girl”...
The Spanish version sounds so much better, doesn’t it? Whenever the need arises, Dani and I only ever say those words in Spanish. And when we say it, we don’t actually say it, we sing it…“La cucaracha, la cucaracha…” while doing the shoulder shimmy.
The other night, Dani walked out from brushing her teeth before bed, and reflecting a beyond-her-age maturity, so calmly said, “there is a cockroach in the bathroom”. So, I did what I normally do when Una Cucaracha (in this case GRANDE) invades our space—I grab anything that has a spray spout that might slow it down (usually Windex which is always within arm’s length of anyone with OCD like me). Experience has taught me that this does nothing but buy me time to conjure up the courage to actually kill a species of insect that can supposedly survive a nuclear war. So, with a bottle of Clorox Cleaner in hand (definitely better than Windex I’m thinking in my head…SCORE!), I went to war with La Cucaracha Grande and my Dani was right there cheerleading and hiding behind me. And when I say behind me, I mean literally holding on to me like I was her shield.
This moment was so symbolic and reflective of our reality because in our lives right now, I AM her shield, both literally and figuratively--a role that's beyond stressful for me, but it's not about me anymore! Being a mom, and therefore being completely responsible for someone else’s life, has been the scariest, most eye-opening, life-changing thing that has ever happened to me. What I’m also learning is that the scary part never goes away. My decisions about her life and the consequences of these decisions are all on me, at least for now. That’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly. I would literally give my own life to save hers, but I hope and PRAY hard it doesn’t come down to that any time soon because she needs me here now. We need to be together so I can teach her how to be without me one day (ahhh tears!). In my Prophetic Dream (see our first blog post), to break free from the evil, I was able to fly and while I was flying, my Dani was in an inner tube.
When we got here, Dani insisted on buying these little inner tubes for our drinks (a brilliant innovation, in my opinion!). We took them with us on our first trip to the not-so-secret, Secret Beach, and that's when it hit me. I knew at that exact moment the meaning of the inner tube in that Prophetic Dream (the picture with this post captures it all for me). I realized just how symbolic an "inner tube" is. It’s symbolic of Protection in so many different ways. In the case of her new little cheap, souvenir-store floaties, they protect your coveted cold drink--and boy are they coveted in a world where ice melts before you can blink. However, on a much grander scale, I feel like I am Dani’s inner tube. With every ounce of energy and every single resource I have at my disposal, I’m trying to protect my Dani from so many different things in this totally chaotic, unprecedented world right now. And FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.
By American mom standards, I’m not a helicopter, by any means. But here in Belize, I’ve had to learn a whole new level of ‘letting go’ to a place that’s out of my immediate comfort zone. She plays with her neighboring friends--Belizean which up until now have been locals and not other "expat" kids (I hate the word "expat" but will save those thoughts for another post). Anyway here in this culture, there are no monitored “play dates” in as far as I've encountered. Kids play like we used to when I grew up oh so many years ago. They do have ‘screens’ and they are now connected on "WhatsApp", an app we are now realizing is critical to our connectedness here on this island and beyond.
However, the key point of difference is that these devices and screens aren’t the center of playtime here. So far, from what I've seen, these kids prefer to go OUTSIDE and play, creatively making up activities like I remember doing. For example today, Dani and her friend walked up and down the street in the mud barefoot (because of one of those epic tropical rain storms) with a pitcher of juice and chocolates for the 3 or 4 construction workers that Dani's yelled "HIIIII" to accompanied by gigantic wave as we have passed them to and from our bumpy road to the "end of the world", since day 1of our life here. She brightens up their day and she knows it which makes her happy, and that makes me happy. So, my amazing Daniella brightens the day of at least 5 people every day. God, I love her BEYOND WORDS and am so thankful she's my happily wandering sidekick.
The other night Dani was playing hide and seek with two boys a bit younger than her. When I think about all the places they were hiding outside (abandoned boats, golf carts, others’ yards, etc.), I freak out! But then when she came home safely, she asked me if I ever sucked a honeysuckle and it brought me right back to my own childhood. I said “OMG, yes!”. And I told her I wouldn’t have remembered until she recounted her experience. And, today, as she was swimming, I heard the bells of the ice cream truck that triggered my own childhood memories. I screamed “Helado!”, a word she very quickly acquired in Spanish. She grabbed her little wallet with her US and Belize dollars and bought an ice cream cone for herself and her new friend who unfortunately will only be here for the summer until he goes back to Belize (City) for school.
I’m so happy that she gets to have the childhood I think she needs to balance her possibly-too-mature foundation before this ability is lost forever in this crazy world. In the meantime, I am learning how to let her go with trust knowing I've been teaching her street smarts throughout her life, a type of smart that, in my opinion, beats text book learning all day long and twice on Sunday.
All of this said, it is NOT AT ALL EASY on this Momma Bear. But I go with faith and I always listen to my strong intuition and know that she does the same. We have a mom/daughter sort-of joke saying--"You've trained your whole life for this moment!!!" when we need to do something that requires some courage or a departure from our comfort zones. We have said it in jest in many different situations. However, in all reality now, this saying may have met it's real-life moment, as I tell her (and louder to myself in my own head, and not with an ounce of "jest")-- "WE'VE TRAINED OUR WHOLE LIVES FOR THIS MOMENT!!!"--a training that will be ongoing for sure...God Willing! <3<3<3