On the 17th> of August 2018, I gave birth to my beautiful son. My life completely changed that day. My days of being free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to, with whomever, were gone. My party days became non-existent. My peaceful nights became sleepless nights.
Being a single parent I had no time or money for myself or anybody but my son. I couldn’t even complain. I was a mother, it was my job and I loved it. Luckily for me my mother was there for me. She helped me in every way that she could. When I was at work she babysat for me. Even when I came home she volunteered to look after my son so that I could rest. She was indeed a great help. I am still grateful for her.
One day at work I was having lunch with a colleague of mine, Lisa. The sun was hot and suffocating. I remember how hard it was to breathe. As we sat under the cool shade of a tree, talking about how broke I was, I found myself comparing my life to hers. Lisa had everything. Her own place, a car, a good position at work … She was young and had no responsibilities.
Her life seemed easy and perfect. I envied her so much. I wished I had the freedom that she had, the life that she had.While talking with her, I noticed that she was tired. Her eyes were red and she kept yawning. I figured she’d had a rough night. With the time that she had, who knows what she was up to the whole weekend. Maybe she was out having so much fun with little sleep I guessed. That is what I would have been doing if I was her.
“Rough weekend?” I asked.
“I wish!” she exclaimed.
“Why are you so tired then?”
Lisa was not one to open up about anything. If you wanted to know something, you had to dig it out of her.
She took a deep breath and sighed.
“If you must know, I was with my grandmother. I stay with her, now that my grandfather is in hospital.”
“Your grandfather is in hospital? Since when? Is he okay?” I was shocked. I wondered why she didn’t tell me this before.
“It’s been three weeks. He is sick, but he’ll be okay. That is all that matters.”
She told me everything. Apparently, she had to take care of her grandmother who was immobile. So every day after work, she had to cook for her, bath her and put her in bed. She had to do dishes afterwards and clean. And she had to do this all alone. She was the first person to wake up in the morning and make her grandmother breakfast and wait for the maid to arrive. After that, she would bath, eat and prepare for work. As exhausted as she was, she had to put on a happy face and carry on with her work like everything was okay.
I was so shocked. Never had I been so wrong about someone in my life. It was in that moment that I realized that I was actually the one who had it easy. To think that she had no responsibilities! I was a fool. The poor girl had the world on her shoulders.
Sure, I was broke. Sure, I was a single mother. But I had my mother to help me. She on the other hand, had nobody. Her parents passed away when she was a child and she was an only child. Her grandparents raised her. I gained so much respect for her. More than I had before. Her strength was out of this world. I admired that about her.
That day, I learned to never ever judge a book by its cover. You may think you have problems, but they are nothing compared to the person next to you. You may think that your life is a struggle, but you have no idea how someone is wishing to be you, because you never really know how someone’s life is behind the curtains.