We are two mothers sitting side by side, watching our sons laugh, play together.
They are climbing the inflatable waterslide’s ladder, then racing down the slide, two boys from different countries who became fast friends this morning. After they tumble into the water, make their splashes, they resurface with huge smiles and climb up again.
We laugh, too, every once in a while. We are both mothers of sons. She has three, and I have five. But mostly we are quiet, sitting together in the shade, finding refuge from the heat, taking in the scene in front of us.
Our translator asks me, “Is there anything you want to ask her?”
His job is to translate, to encourage us to communicate, and he is very good at this. But he is also a young man. How can he know that mothers don’t always need words to communicate? Mothers can be content watching their sons build a friendship, marveling at their sons from different worlds together, laughing, splashing more.
Is there anything I want to ask her? Of course there is, and questions buzz through my head like a swarm of bees. How can I narrow it down? Which questions are most important?
By nature, I often enjoy silence more than talking, and she seems the same, this mother of my sponsored child. This hard-working woman, whose struggles I can only imagine, has taken a day off from her duties to visit an amusement park with her son to meet me, her son’s sponsor, who lives more than 2,000 miles away from Managua.
Our time together is short, and my questions are many, and as our translator patiently waits, I desperately choose one.
“Can you ask her, what is Jose like at home?,” I say.
He asks, and she answers, “He is obedient.” She says he plays well with his 5-year-old brother and helps him a lot.
I nod and say, “That’s good.”
But she isn’t finished.
She tells our translator that Jose sometimes becomes so emotional when he reads my letters to her that he cries. She says he can feel how much I care for him in the letters.
I can feel my throat tightening as I take this in, as we continue to watch our boys together on the waterslide, smiling, sliding, splashing.
Then she tells our translator that I sent Jose a financial gift earlier this year. She says she is so grateful for the gift.
I had sent money in March for Jose’s 11th birthday.
She explains that the gift arrived at a very difficult time for her family, that they were struggling, and it enabled them to purchase shoes for Jose and food. She is very grateful, she says again. Unsure and awkward when accepting thanks, I nod again.
I take a deep breath to push back the emotion, and I explain this gift was from God, not from me. He blesses me, and in turn uses me to bless her. And his timing is perfect. He knew when they would need the gift.
After my words are translated, she nods, and I nod. We hug each other, our eyes watering, then look ahead at our sons again, side by side. I swallow hard as my throat tightens again.
Our translator watches us, then says simply, quietly, “God is good.”