The other night I was doing my evening routine and I had 60 Minutes on the t.v. as background. I came in on the middle of a segment on people living in their cars in Florida and something about it piqued my interest. I was taken in by this one family who looked like they had it all together. The parents were very good looking and the kids were as bright eyed and lovely as can be. And yet somehow they found themselves living in their car. One of the little girls said she found out through this experience that her mom is very protective. The reporter then went on to say that she had to be because one of the mom’s fears (you know, in addition to sheltering her kids) was that she could be found by official agencies and have her kids taken away because they weren’t “providing” for them.
Oh. My. God.
She’s doing everything she possibly can, correction they are doing everything they can, not to mention probably beating
herself themselves up on a daily basis, and someone might say they are not “providing”?
I stopped making my kids lunches and started full-on weeping. The pit in my stomach was for that mom, but the feeling was all too familiar. It wasn’t too long ago that I wasn’t sure how I was going to make my kids lunches. I knew, somewhat, how this mother felt at not being able to provide for her kids and yet, I thanked every power that is out there for the fact that we never lost our shelter.
Fast forward two days and a friend posts a link on Facebook about a fund set up to help a family of one of our high school classmates. Guess who it was? Yep, “That” mom. She was on 60 minutes, it said, and the other family on the show received an outpouring from the community and our classmate did not. So now it was time for us to do something.
Once I realized that the woman I was crying for was someone I actually knew (apparently that familiar feeling wasn’t at all unwarranted) I went to her page to see if I could find out more. She moved to Florida recently from a place where she had a job. I have to assume they moved for better opportunities and a new life.
Once they got there, I have to assume the jobs went away and as she said on the show, “we went down to two meals a day, then one, then that’s when we ended up in our car.”
If you’ve been here before you know our story. We moved for a job-my husband’s. I gave up my income because I left my job behind as well as a house we couldn’t sell. We struggled and struggled that first year to keep our heads above water. It didn’t always work. We skated dangerously close to foreclosure on our old house and the one we were renting did go into foreclosure so we had to move. We hemorraged money for about 18 months and but for the Grace of God came out of it battered and bruised but almost completely intact. We’ll pay off those 18 months for the next five years, but I’m grateful every day that we never feared for where we lived and I never worried about losing my kids.
That is not true for my classmate’s family. She did everything she could too and yet those fears became very real.
I rarely ask my readers to donate to any causes. I believe that should be something people decide on their own. And I certainly know, this season especially, extra cash is hard to come by, but know that any small amount helps. Click here for the donation site (set up by another High School Classmate so I know it’s legit.) Don’t be intimidated but what you see on the websites sidebar. (I know I was.) Give what you can. It all counts.
This time I’m compelled to reach out. It could have been us. It could be any of us.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.