It wasn’t hard for me to imagine myself in her shoes. We’re moms — we both have a five-year-old and a three-year-old.
She is a refugee.
She was waiting for some tea during a break in our ELL class, and she told me- after some guessing and gesturing- that her daughter had highly elevated levels of lead in her blood. My heart broke for her, as her face shown with confusion and defeat. I asked questions, and later, tried to find some information on her tenant rights. I’m often struck by how complicated and unclear things are to me, a native, lifelong english speaker. I couldn’t imagine how much more confusing it must have been to her.
But there was much I could understand. I could understand her frustration as a mom. I could understand how badly she wanted to know how to help her daughter.
The doctors told her to try to keep her kids from touching the walls and the floor. As a mom, I understood just how ridiculous that sounded.
There was no real solution to her situation, and as soon as she was legally allowed to work, she found a job and could no longer attend the ELL class. We texted some – back and forth. About our kids. About life. Because though we are different, there is so much we have in common.