Whenever we are home it is inevitable that I will be asked, “How do you do it over there with no friends and family around to help? It must be so hard!”
To be honest, I found having one kid super easy, really! Not the sleepless nights or the figuring out everything for the first time, but it was just Leighton and I during the day. She was my buddy. I just put her in her sling or the baby Bjorn and we went out to conquer the world. She was an easy kid and we had a lot of fun together learning Dubai and meeting new people. It was also torturously hard at times, but over time I have forgotten all the hurdles... And when I got pregnant with Corby, I was worried! How do you do it with two now? Do they sell a double baby Bjorn carrier? No…Augh! So Jon and I made the decision to truly become expats... We caved and did what everyone here does after awhile. Well, I am about to out myself.... It isn't hard being alone and having no family over here and actually it is a breeze.... Not because I am some sort of super mom or wife, far from it... It is easy because we have Georgina!
Gina is our live in help. She is an amazing lady. She is a mother of four and grandmother of two from the Philippines. She is a happy, social, loving woman and I am so grateful that she is part of our family! Her youngest kids are finishing high school this year and when they are done with college she will head home to watch their kids so they can get jobs in places like Dubai and provide for her and their family like she has done for so long now. This concept of the grandparents raising the grand kids who only see their parents once a year is so foreign to us as Westerners. It is hard to hear about and witness, but ultimately everyone is just trying to provide a better life for their kids and families. If your country doesn't have work and you can't feed your family, of course you would pick up shop and move to where you could. It is inherently in all of us to provide for our children no matter what!
So Gina does our laundry, the dishes, walks Walter, watches the girls if I need to run errands or go to the doctor sans kids, babysits, goes to the park with me and the girls (or solo), and will even cook for us if I let her, but I love cooking! I realize that this is not reality. I realize that if I was home I would have to truly figure out how to have two kids by myself all day and do a lot of the household chores. Trust me, I got a dose of single parent medicine over last summer and I was so happy to come back to our false reality that is Dubai. I realize that just taking out one of the million things that Gina does out of a normal person’s life would be glorious and that I have Gina doing all of them all the time! I realize how lucky I am and I am almost embarrassed that this is my current situation….but not enough to change it! I get asked by people at home if it is weird having someone live in our house, to always have them in our space.... to quote a great local blog; "It is, until it isn't and then its genius!"
I let Gina know everyday how grateful we are to have her in our home. However, on the flip side she says she is so grateful to be working for us! Gina has had a few sponsors since she has lived in Dubai, but the last ones were awful. They treated her like a servant and everyday she thanks me for treating her like a person, a member of our family, and a human! But why wouldn't I? She is a person and a person that makes my life so easy and also loves my kids... Like, she LOVES them! Corby is going to start wondering pretty soon why her mother is so tan with black hair and black eyes. Unfortunately, I won't be able to understand Corby's question because she will be asking me in Tagalog.
I hate to think about that moment when we leave here to move home and have to leave Gina behind. She has asked to move home with us many times, but I let her know about the visa process and labor laws.... I try not to picture that day because it will be so hard, so I choose to live in the moment and sip my coffee slowly at the Starbucks because Gina is watching the girls at home. Yes, sometimes I CAN sip my coffee slowly out of an actual mug and not a to-go cup!
So when people ask why we haven't moved back yet don't blame me, or Jon, or his job…Blame Gina! If it wasn't for her we may have been out of here along time ago!