The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Friday, November 07, 2008


An Abundance of Gratitude

I lived in Antigua, Guatemala, for six months while we were adopting our daughter, Olivia, who was born there, and sometimes in the late afternoon she and I would sit on our living room sofa and watch the Teletubbies.

The show was perfect for us because although it was taped in English and dubbed in Spanish, it’s also largely non-verbal, making it one of the few things we could actually understand together.

There’s a section in the show where the tummy of one of the Teletubbies -- I forget which one -- turns into a kind of rectangular TV set, and leads the viewer into a scene far away.

One afternoon the distant action took place in a schoolroom in England, where cheerful children were sitting at small tables doing arts-and-crafts projects with the most abundant assortment of supplies one could ever hope to imagine: scissors, construction paper, buttons, glue, and glitter.

And what I remember most is how much glitter was left to fall to the floor, handfuls of it, small mountains almost, until the floor itself disappeared, and was turned into sparkles.

I’m as materialistic as the next person, and like to be surrounded with my stuff. But ever since living in Guatemala, where fifty percent of the population lives in poverty, and school supplies -- and school itself -- are a luxury and not a right, I can’t throw away so much as a sheet of paper without wondering whether I can re-use it in some way, or whether I really need to use it at all.

Someone in Antigua told me how she donated school supplies to a school in a village north of town. Each child received a Ziploc bag with two pencils, an eraser, a box of eight crayons and two pages torn from a coloring book: one to color in school and one to take home.

When she described how overjoyed the children were to receive her modest gift, I almost cried.

I had seen enough of Guatemala to know the care the children would take with the two pages from the coloring book. They would be sure not to wrinkle the pages, and do everything possible to keep the edges flat.

By Jessica O’Dwyer

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What a beautiful piece, and a good reminder to appreciate--and share--the abundance in our lives.

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