Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Be the Change You Want to See in the World

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~ Gandhi

I have a story playing over and over in my head. I saw something that I will never forget. It quite possibly has changed my life forever...

But before I explain, I should probably tell you a little bit more of what I have been up to. I moved to New York in early June. I am going back to school full-time in September for Mind-Body Wellness and I am also a full-time nanny. I live with my lifelong friends, Tammy and Keith, and watch over their amazing son Elijah, who is eight months old.

It’s funny how life works…I openly admit that I used to have an adverse reaction to children and often wondered if I ever wanted any of my own. But then along came my niece MacKenna. I quickly realized how amazing children are and how quickly I could fall in love with a young soul. And with all her trials and tribulations in the recent year or so, she continues to amaze me.

When I moved back from New Zealand and moved to Park City, I quickly realized that my ski bum job was not going to pay the bills. In turn, I started working for Park City Sitters. During the short winter season, I babysat for close to 40 different families and started to realize that I was actually pretty good with kids. Then along came the opportunity to help raise Eli, and I thought why not move to New York City and take my courses from there?!

So rewind to the month of June…I was taking the subway into Manhattan to meet up with some friends. The doors opened and on stepped a mother with her son in the baby bjorn. Being a nanny, it grabbed my attention because I seem to be drawn to babies. At first glance all seemed normal. But once the doors shut, the woman pulled out a cardboard sign and started to make her way through the subway car. She was in her late thirties, her clothes soiled and her face very tired.

Her sign read, “Speak very little English. Homeless. Need money to feed my baby. God Bless.”

She passed by me and I saw that her son was not much older than Eli. He stared at me with his big brown eyes, they were tired too, but they still sparkled. He giggled and smiled to reveal his baby teeth. And then, I realized his caramel colored face was covered with infected sores. My heart broke. I reached into my purse and pulled out the little money I had. She nodded and smiled. When the train came to a stop she stepped off and onto the next car.

Panhandlers are a common occurrence on the subway. One can easily become desensitized to them, but not when you see a small child suffering in such a way. My pocket change was only a small way to help.

It makes you realize how lucky you are. Eli is lucky to have amazing parents and he never wants for anything. He has clothes, food, shelter and love. We are blessed.

It also reminds me that I want to “be the change I want to see in the world.”  Perhaps there’s a purpose for me changing careers, being a nanny and seeing that baby on the train. Other than my small donation, there isn’t anything I can do to help him now, but he has changed my life forever and maybe I am on a path to help others. Who knows.

L to R: MacKenna, Me, Tammy & Elijah

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