There are times in life where the realization of just how lucky we are reaches up and slaps me in the face.

Megan, now 12, has made a friend at school and we’ve gotten to know her and her family a bit, not well, sadly, but a bit. It’s a story of struggle, family, and perseverance.

The family consists of Mom, Dad, and 3 girls, 12, 6 and 4, guessing at ages.  They are of Mexican descent. The mom came to America over 15 years ago as an illegal immigrant, unable to speak English. She stayed in the US for many years and taught herself English, before going backto Mexico and working through the immigration process and coming back to the US legally.  She married and had her children in Los Angeles. Her husband is a buyer for a major chain of Mexican grocery stores.

After years of trying to make a living in Los Angeles they moved the family up here to Butte, Montana for a better life, and bought a house. Which they never could have done in California. Now here is where it gets sad. The husband and father has stayed in Los Angeles these last two years making money to pay for the house so that his family can have a decent life. He see’s his girls only a few days a month.

The mother, to make ends meet, works at a local Mexican restaurant. The girls stay home alone while the mom works. Some days like today, she’s at 11 hours and still not home. But she doesn’t have a choice. She has to work to make ends meet. Which means the girls stay home alone, a lot. There is no one here to help out, they are really on their own. 

Now here is the kicker. The kids are great. They are polite, sweet, kind, happy, and energetic. The mother works her butt off, but is also kind, quiet, polite, and a very nice and decent person. They don’t see their situation as a poor me, but rather as a success in progress.

It makes me sad to think about how easy I have it, how lucky we are, and how at times I complain and worry. I guess it’s because I’ve had it fairly easy in life that it’s easy to take things granted. It’s only at times when you can see how someone else is handling life that it can put things into perspective.

Try to picture what it must have been like to cross into a country illegally when you don’t know the language, and yet, to succeed, to become legal, to have a family and work towards the American dream.