She awakes to the sound of birds outside her window. The sun is starting to peek over the horizon. She is feeling slightly more rested than normal because her little one managed to stay in her own bed all night long.
She stretches and feels the muscles in her back slightly ache.
She rises and shuffles to the sink to wash up. Her husband has already left for work. She moves to the kitchen and begins to prepare breakfast. She starts some water for tea as well. Soon after she is nudging her children to wake up and get ready for school. Back in the kitchen, she can hear the normal morning disagreements. As the kids come to the table for breakfast, she asks, “Did you brush your teeth?”. Sometimes she gets a “yes” and other times she gets an eye-roll and the child reluctantly heads back to brush them.
She asks what is taking her oldest daughter so long? - “She can't decide what to wear”. Over breakfast, her youngest daughter complains that she doesn't want to go to school, can she please stay home? Soon after breakfast is complete, the kids pack up, say goodbye to Mom and head out for the walk to school.
Does any of this sound familiar? Mornings in my house are similar (though perhaps not as peaceful). We awake a little tired, gather ourselves, my teenager daughter can't figure out what to wear, my middle son begs to stay home, my youngest has his shirt on backwards.... But I have been in the scene described above. I shared breakfast with them. I watched them go off to school. In Uganda.
I am a mom in Canada. Janet is a mom in Uganda. Millions of miles apart and yet – we are the same. The same scenes play out in our homes every morning and I am reminded that our skin may be a different colour, our backyards vary significantly and we speak different languages but We. Are. All. The. Same.
We both love our kids and want the best for them. We both worry about making ends meet. We both have hopes and dreams of our own. We may have ended up on different sides of the planet but I could easily have been born there and she, here.
So, where I am going with all of this? At our core, we all long to be seen. Deep down we need to feel connected and valued. With all of the labels, distinctions and finding ways to set one another apart in this world, is it possible we can start to choose to find common ground? Do you think things could be different if we started with what holds us side-by-side rather than with what puts us on opposing sides? Maybe if we started there, we could learn to find value in those differences because we could drop the compulsion to prove we don't need each other.
Endless possibilities and opportunities for connectedness show up with every person you meet. Can you imagine the difference in our marriages, relationships, neighbourhoods and beyond if we approached one another with the intention of really seeing the other person? There can only be love, redemption, compassion and belonging. Because, after all, we are all the same.
Sarah lives in Northern Ontario with her family and works at Muskoka Woods Sports Resort. Sarah and her husband have four children, and one grandson. She is an avid reader and learner. In 2012, Sarah launched JustOne with Krista and they travelled to Kenya, Uganda and South Africa together. Sarah is still involved with JustOne through her weekly blog posts, and is a constant source of educating Krista and others on the world's needs. Sarah has a blog we love to read called "Recipe for Messiness" that is about finding beauty amidst our messy lives.