(excerpt from Gail’s journal)
The other day I ran into Jo Stuart and she asked me how the street kids were doing. I was at a bit of a loss for words. What to say? From the normal society’s perspective, what had happened to them? Some were in jail, one was murdered, one tried to commit suicide and is now in the psychiatric hospital, two are back on the streets, two went home to Nicaragua, one is in and out of jail, in and out of the street….Those words, that evaluation are really just the tip of it. And then I thought about Keyla. She is Nelson and Nela’s girl who is now four years old. When we first picked up Nela and Nelson, they were the queen and king of the streets, they were faster with the knife, harsher with the words, cooler with their robberies. But when Nela got pregnant, I remember all those kids all of them, without exception, making wishes for Keyla. Jason wanted to be the best uncle ever. Betun held that new born baby like she was a precious crystal. Chino played with her in the park. Pirro took her out to lunch….we all put our best selves into that little girl. We loved her, we took care of her, we spent our most precious moments with her.
So, as I was speaking to Jo, I thought, you know, we didn’t do too badly with the group. Given the horrendous abuses they had suffered int heir young lives, we managed to give them some love and some predicatability and some caring. We managed to teach them a little something about moral behavior ….
But where it really all came to fruition is with little Keyla. She is the best of all of us. She is an artist, a singer, a dreamer. She is a lovely girl, normal, healthy, happy , funny, fun and full of energy. She is the symbol of the broken cycle of abuse and torment. She is the hope for all of us, the promise for them, the product of what a little love from all the broken spirits is capable of doing. We are all grateful for this second chance with Keyla and we are all grateful to her for letting us be her parents and her guardians and her friends. And for me, Keyla is what makes it all worth it. To see her smile, to hear her sing, to watch her dance, to have her ask me profound questions is what has made my life take on a new dimension. Once again, the children have led the way…
© Gail Nystrom 2007. All rights reserved.