Most Tuesdays I spend in Anapra, Mexico at our Santo Nino project for children with special needs. Once upon a (busy) time in what seems a life far, far away, I used to work in my little office, seeing sick babies and pregnant moms, and in between patients I would drive around the colonia picking up those who didn’t have rides. Some days it was really a hectic pace and always it was physically and emotionally draining.
Even before my illness we had started focusing our efforts on the children with special needs- and pregnant women- and other volunteers did the driving so I could spend my time at the clinic. While I was out for six months during my recuperation from surgery and chemotherapy we stopped doing prenatal care. When I returned, I felt like I just wanted time with the kids. They are the heart of the ministry and have so much to teach me, so close are they to God.
One of the best parts of my Mexico day is sitting with Nena. I know I shouldn’t have favorites…but I do and Nena is. She is about seven years old now and has a severe form of epilepsy with mental retardation. When she gets agitated because it’s not her turn in the jacuzzi or because she’s tired or just because maybe she’s having a bad day, I seem to have a way to connect with her. As big as she is now- about seventy pounds!- she loves to sit on my lap in the rocking chair. As soon as I start singing our special song to the Blessed Mother she takes my St. Elizabeth Seton medal in her hands and quiets. Usually she drifts off to sleep.
Sitting with Nena is one of the very best things about my Mexico day. God only knows what goes on in her mind and heart but during the moments we have together I am aware of the blessing of her life- and mine.