I believe in the unconditional love of children. For three months I volunteered in an orphanage. It was the happiest time of my life. I will never be able to forget those kids. My mind is plagued by their voices, their movements…Their smiles. Sometimes I can’t even sleep. I am not sure what I feel. Is it hurt? Remorse? Guilt? Love? I can’t breathe when I think of them. Pictures flash through my mind. Little smiles, outreached hands, soft kisses, giggles, tears… Every moment of them is still freshly vivid in my memory. Their pictures are everywhere. The little faces stare at me in their preserved state. It scares me not knowing. Not knowing the futures they will have. Not seeing them grow or learn or move on in their life. All that I know is that I love them. I love them more than my own life, and they unconditionally love me, and each other.
If there is one thing I learned from Ecuador, I learned how to love someone. Not the gushy, lovey, romantic love, but something stronger. When I first arrived, the kids were shy and awkward towards me, but a after a few moments, they were my best buddies. Every time I walked into the orphanage, I was greeted with open hands and smiles. Those kids loved me.
Although the kids had almost nothing, they had each other. When we were not around, they took care of each other. They were never selfish, and they never wallowed in self pity. One of my fellow friend’s and volunteer told me an experience she had with one of the boys. The volunteers threw a party for the kids. They brought lots of candy. Juan, one of the boys, gathered up a large sum of candy for himself. My friend figured he was storing the candy for later. When the party ended, he insisted that she go and see the special needs kids that were unable to come. When she got to the special kids orphanage, he went to each of the kids and gave them his candy.
They held hands, laughed with each other, and shared what little toys they had. One little girl gave me her only pair of earrings. She insisted on giving me a gift, so she gave me all she had to give. Marinica, a rather large two year old, was always comforting everyone. Although young, she obviously cared about all her little friends. When someone was crying, she would pat them on the back and give them a kiss. If someone was hurt, she would hug them and give them a toy.
Then there was my little boy, Julio, He stole my heart. I loved him from the moment I saw him. The way he smiled at me, the way he laughed, the way he held out his tiny hinds. I knew he loved me. I was the one he took his first steps too. I was the only one he would eat his food for. I was the only one who could get him to stop crying. I became his mom. People knew Julio was my boy. He was mine, and I was his. One day, his little hand slipped from my grasp and he fell. I felt terrible. He hit his head and began to cry. I was so afraid he would hate me, but he stopped crying when I held him close. He gave me a tiny little monkey kiss on my nose, and he was alright. I miss him. I miss being there. I miss all of those kids. I have never felt so loved in my life. I miss the love they had for me, and the love they had for each other. I miss all of the hugs and kisses I received every single day. I long to be loved like that again, To be loved unconditionally. My parents came to visit me while I was there. I remember showing my mom Julio, and Ill never forget what she said about him. She said, “kylie, watch him look at you. He loves you, he’ll always love you”
– names have been changed for privacy purposes
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