Having a loving family my whole life has played a huge role in my life this far. As I believe it does for everyone, whether that is for the best or worse. Family has the ability to create an environment of love that cannot be explained as it brings comfort, a level of security, and sincere joy. Growing up my family was great. I looked forward to things like my parents both being off work, my brother and me being out of school, and getting to be all together. Being together as a family just had something about it that was better than when I was with friends.
I did not have to hear my parents say “I love you, Noah” in order for me to know it (though I loved to hear them say it), because they showed it. They showed it by feeding me when I did not know how to make anything other than a bowl cereal. They showed it by doing my laundry; detergent going into a machine and my clothes coming out clean made no sense to me. They showed it to me by playing outside with me and allowing me to win more basketball games then I should on a rim that was just as tall as them. The way my family showed me love and still does is something that I am beyond thankful for.
The way they loved me was a reason why moving away from them was so hard. I was going somewhere I could not speak the language. I could never imagine to be able to feel the family like I did at home. But man was I wrong. Though I still do not speak the language, I have found family in a house full of people I was not born into… not even in people I have known for a full year.
Over the summer, I met a woman named Elude and her many children: John, Charbidson, Edani, Madoshay, and more. I first was introduced to them by my friend Brooke, due to her love for one of Elude’s daughters, Claudchell. I remember being drawn to her sons over the summer and enjoyed just visiting simply to share smiles and laugh about how bad I was at Creole. I began to see the relationship grow with hardly any words. We did laundry and studied things the kids learned at school together. I left after the summer hoping that when I returned in September they would remember me.
September came quickly and I was now back in Haiti, excited to visit them for the first time in a month and some change. I was overwhelmed as I received more than a warm welcome back. Not even having to understand what they were saying because they showed it. They showed me the love I was so afraid I was not going to have here.
The last month has been rich and full of memories of how I have felt like they are truly my family. Just the other day I was playing marbles and reviewing what Charbidson learned in school when Elude came home from work. All the kid’s were ecstatic to see her, as I remember I was when I was a kid growing up. And just like when I was a kid waiting for better food than my poor bowl cereal, she began to feed her kids what she had cooked, including myself.
The love shown in the way she wanted to make sure I was full, just as my mother would. They all show their love to me whether it is by helping me clean goat poop off of my sandal, or playing soccer barefoot with Charbidson, only to have us thoroughly wash each other’s disgusting feet afterwards. The feeling of family is evident when I am with them. Looking back now, I never imagined I would be looking at all of them the way I do now… as family.