We are starting to get our Green Card application together and one requirement is a medical exam done by a doctor who is approved by immigration. I really had no idea what to expect at our first appointment today. As we entered the waiting room, an elderly Ukranian woman moved across the room to give us space to sit together and also so that she could more easily try to piece together a conversation with a young African mother. We sat there with Sweet One looking around the room (and once she got comfortable she would smile at anyone who'd look at her!), we heard Ukranian being spoken between this woman and three others who appeared to be part of her family. Another young man joined them shortly before they all left together and I overheard that this woman has seven sons, five of whom are "here in America with me". After all these people left there was an Indian man with us in the room. Sweet One kept smiling at him and laughing as she looked out the window. At one point he said something to the effect that it doesn't matter what happens, once she smiles like she does the whole room lights up. We agreed.
The waiting room we spent so much time in was unlike any other I have seen. The carpet was thin like you often will find in an office but it was also quite dirty. There was a LittleTikes picnic table in the middle of the room. Clothing on a rack and in boxes suggested to us that those who needed them would take them. The chairs creaked and appeared to be quite old. Information posters on the wall were in languages other than english. It was obvious to us that this office dealt with many immigrants and that they have a lot of patients in on any given day. I learned later from the nurse that they also care for a large number of refugees as well as regular Americans. In the end, it was clear to us that this clinic did everything they could for those who would not be able to get help from the regular private practices that one finds in this country.
After I was done with the nurse I sat with Sweet One playing quietly with my keys as I held her on my lap. I continued to pay attention to what was going on around me. A nurse was holding something with WIC on it, trying to find out from the couple she was talking to if the mother could prove an address and income. Quite honestly, it didn't seem like they could. English also seemed to be a struggle for them and any attempt to guess which country they came from would be futile. (I wouldn't be surprised if it was somewhere along the lines of Vietnam or Thailand but that is a huge guess.) There was also talk of a child who did not gain any weight and had shrunk in height. They were going to remeasure and luckily there was a mistake of 2 inches!
We spent close to an hour and a half there and most of it was in the waiting room. I can honestly say that it was a sobering experience. I've been worrying about a leaking bathroom ceiling that could fall in because our house is poorly insulated and the heat loss has been causing some ice build up. Big Love's paychecks will be smaller than the previous year because of a mistake made by the administrative assistant. I'm so sick of always having to plan supper and go grocery shopping, it feels like a never ending process. Seriously? "For fukk sake, wake up!" I said to myself as Sweet One and I sat eating our modest suppers after we had gotten home - me, left over brown rice and kidney beans and her, rice noodles and my kidney beans. (It will still make me laugh when I'll find a good portion of those beans in her diaper tomorrow, completely undigested!) We own a house that is our home; we get a paycheck two times a month and there is no chance of Big Love losing this job; we have food and the ability to get more if we run out; I have a husband who adores me and a daughter who amazes me every day! These people that I watched would probably give anything to be able to have what I have.
The next time I'm frustrated because I haven't been able to replenish my wardrobe with new clothes that fit, or that we're coming close to the end of the month and we haven't saved as much as I would have liked, or that my DVR messed up and didn't tape the show it was supposed to, I hope I can focus more on what we do have and not what I think we lack. Perhaps I'll be able to send Chicken Little on her way for good.