SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire and don't want to know anything about it, skip this post -- although I'm not really giving much away. Go read my debut post at Triangle Mamas instead.
Last night I watched Slumdog Millionaire, winner of four Golden Globes, seven BAFTA Awards, eight Oscars and scores of other awards. I realize I'm behind the times, but having two small children means we don't get out to the movies much and we're often too tired at the end of the day to watch movies at home.
I understand why the film won so much praise, but I think I would have enjoyed it more about five years ago. Now that I'm a mother, I find it almost unbearable to watch stories where children suffer. The fact that the movie has a (somewhat) happy ending didn't make it any less painful.
As I watched young Jamal's childhood unfold, I kept thinking that he and his brother and their friends were about the same age as Junius. I thought about what it would be like for Juni to be poor, orphaned, alone, hungry and afraid. I thought about how I would feel if I couldn't protect him, keep him safe, keep him clean and fed.
And it is even more painful knowing that, although this story is fiction, children around the world are living (and dying) under these same conditions every day. It is simply too much to bear -- and so I force myself to stop thinking about it because I feel powerless to change it. Somehow, I don't think my daily click on The Hunger Site or The Child Health Site is going to make much of a difference.
After the movie ended, I went upstairs to check on my sweet, beautiful, healthy, happy sleeping children. I brushed Pippi's hair out of her eyes, tucked her Lulu a little closer and said a quiet prayer. Then I covered Junius with his blanket, kissed him on the forehead and started to cry. I considered scooping him up and taking him into our bed for the night, just to be sure he was close and safe -- but I knew no one would really sleep well that way.
Finally, I collapsed into my own bed, exhausted and grateful to have millions of blessings on the eve of Mother's Day.
Image from imdb.com.