Have you seen the film, Babies?

Babies, is a documentary that follows the lives of four babies in four entirely different cultures.  Starting from birth through one year of age, it gives you a glimpse of what life is like in those countries- for babies.

I finally got around to watching it a few days before Filipe left for Ethiopia.  On a Sunday afternoon, while the two littlest ones were napping, my five year old and I snuggled on the couch and watched with anticipation and amazement.

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our own little lives in our part of the world (wherever that may be), and I love the chance to peer into someone else’s- even if it is through a movie.

The most exciting part about watching it for me was seeing how my 5 year old daughter responded to what she saw- especially the babies in Namibia and Mongolia.

The most troubling thing for her was seeing babies who didn’t have diapers.

AND

Seeing babies roll around in the dirt and put dirty things in their mouth.

AND

Wondering why a rooster was walking on a babies’ bed.

While she watched, her eyes were opening.  And she began to understand.

The American way is not the only way.  The way we do things isn’t the way everyone else does things.

During the film, I explained to her that Daddy was taking a trip to Africa (Ethiopia) in a few days.  All of a sudden her demeanor changed.  “Really!”, she said.  And then without missing a beat she exclaimed, “I want to go with him!”.

All of a sudden she saw an opportunity.

She wanted to take diaper to babies and toys to toddlers.

She saw a problem.

She felt compassion.

She wanted to help.

For a few weeks leading up to the trip, I wasn’t sure how to explain to my girls where Daddy was going and why.  He’s never been away that long before, and while I was confident we would be okay, it wasn’t going to be easy in the midst of it.  If only I could help them understand what he would be doing.

The film, wasn’t part of the plan- I really didn’t have one.  It had been sitting in my Netflix queue for a few months, and it just so happened that two days before Filipe left for Ethiopia, I got a sudden urge to watch it.  Maybe it was my own personal way of handling him leaving.

Little did I know it was just the thing I needed to explain it to Lily, my 5 yr. old.

Whenever she wondered what Daddy was doing in Ethiopia, I’m sure she pictured the scene she saw in Namibia, and was thrilled that her Daddy was helping however he could.

Throughout his 8-day absence, Lily amazed me.  The first couple days her behavior had some bad moments, and I talked with her about how I needed her help while Daddy was gone.  To my amazement, her attitude quickly took a turn for the better, and I saw her taking initiative to help me in ways she never has before (she asked if she could help fold 2 baskets of laundry…& then did it…quickly!).

While these types of experiences are not my favorite things to go through, they are the ones that stretch us in ways we never would be otherwise.  And for that I’m grateful.  Even if it’s just to see my daughter’s eyes opened, and to watch how she responds in these moments.

Now, I can’t wait for the chance for her to see Ethiopia first-hand some day.