Thursday, August 15, 2013

Monse

Sometimes there's just those kids that you have a strong connection to. I can't explain it, but Monse was one of those girls that I just connected with during my missions trip to Mexico. She's one of the kids that I miss the most. Here's a letter that I wrote to her. 

My sweet, little Monse. It's hard to hold back the tears when I think of you. I miss you so much and my heart breaks to think I may never see you again. When I first saw you, you reminded me so much of my sister-in-law, Mercedes and the pictures I saw of her when she was younger. I don't know why that fact drew me to you as much as it did, maybe because I've been really missing my family lately. You just made me think of my sister-in-law every time I looked at you.


Your shy, little smile caught my attention right away. I love the cute, little dimples on your cheeks that only show when you smile or laugh. It was such a beautiful smile and I did everything I could just to get you to smile again. You are really quiet so I always loved getting to hear the sound of your soft voice whenever you gained the courage to speak a few words to me. I know I must have sounded pretty pathetic by my attempts at speaking Spanish to you. But you seemed to understand me even though we didn't talk very much. You were good at communicating what you wanted by tugging on my arm and pointing at a game or a toy.

The last day we spent together you weren't feeling so well and you didn't want to play any of the games. I had been sick the day before so I wasn't able to play games either and I was glad for the chance to sit with you. You curled up next to me and leaned against my leg. You were so still that I kept looking down to see if you had fallen asleep, but you were just watching the kids play.

In the afternoon, I found you lying down on a mat in the room upstairs to take a nap. I put my jacket on top of you so you could use it as a blanket. You smiled in appreciation as I draped it over your tiny body. I remember pushing the hair off your forehead and staring at your dark brown eyes, completely in awe of the incredible depth in those four year old eyes that were staring back at me. That was a moment I never wanted to end.

I wanted to curl up next to you and just hold you in my arms and never let you go. I wanted to take you home with me and make sure you were taken care of, that you never went hungry, that you always had what you needed. And as I sat there next to you, I thought of how God loves you so much more than I ever could. I thought of how he brought me and the team all the way over from the States to help provide for you, even if it was in such small ways.

My posture is horrible, but I'm really glad there's a picture of this moment.

Your fingers are so tiny and you had them tightly wrapped around mine and you began to fall asleep. I started praying so hard for you, little Monse. I prayed that God would protect you, that he would give you a good life full of joy, that you would never be abused, that you would always have the things you needed, that you would know you were always loved, that you would grow up to know him and be a strong woman of faith. I thanked him over and over for giving me the opportunity to meet you, for all the fun we had together, for all the love he poured on you through me.

I never really got to say goodbye. I mean, I did, in a way. I was there when your mom came to get you and take you home. But I didn't really get to say goodbye. To tell you that I was leaving and wasn't going to see you the next day. I didn't get to hug you, or kiss your cheek, or tell you that I love you. I wish I could have told you that. Even though, I think you already knew, I still wanted to tell you anyway.

One of my favorite memories of the week was playing Candyland with you and the other girls. I would purposely stack the deck so you would get the cards you needed to get ahead and win because I loved the huge smile that you got when you made it to the castle first. I will never forget that smile of yours, darling Monse, and I treasure the tiny handprint you left on my heart. I really hope I can see you again, someday.

When we weren't playing candyland, Monse liked to do puzzles together.