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If Only I Could Do Right by Them...

Updated on January 28, 2021

It's not what I don't have, but what I do have...

I began my family with every intention of providing my children all the things I had as a child and more. Seeing as I came from a very large family with very limited means financially, I figured taking care of only two would be far easier than it had been for my parents.

Unfortunately, life is not easy, it is messy and complicated and challenging at best. When I started having kids I had health insurance on them and me, I owned my own home, I was happily married, (or so I thought) and I had the blessing of being a stay-at-home- mom. Now, I am a single mom, unemployed, no insurance, and I am living with my mother. Hell, I don’t even own my own car. I don’t mean to sound like I am complaining or whining, in fact, I feel incredibly blessed. Thankfully, I have a mom that took me and my boys in when we needed her the most, which is more than I can say for some. Both my boys are healthy, loving, caring, human beings that never complain or ask for anything. We may not have much monetarily, but we have an abundance of love, faith, and hope. Hope for a better life for ourselves, faith that we will overcome whatever hardships may come our way, and enough love to sustain us through it all.

A few months ago, I was on welfare, receiving medical and food stamps, and going to school, in an attempt to obtain a job that would allow me to get off the system/out of the system. While I am now receiving child support, it is not nearly enough to raise two growing teenage boys. Nonetheless, it is enough that I no longer ‘qualify’ for aid to finish school, because as it stands, I am still ‘technically’ married.

My mother owns her own home so when things break around the house, we must make do. The oven doesn’t work anymore, but the stovetop does so we can still cook, just can’t bake. The washing machine stopped working today and the heating and A/C unit went out last year, without a job we cannot pay to have them fixed or replaced. There is no landlord to call and no ‘handyman’ to fix them, so for now, we do and go without. This is not to say I blame my children's father, or that I am angry or bitter at my circumstances, because I don’t and I am not. If I am angry with anyone, I am angry with myself for not being able to provide my children a better life, or at the very least, a chance at a better one than this.

We live paycheck to paycheck, rarely have enough to stock the refrigerator/freezer, and cupboards, and while we are by no means, ‘starving,’ we do not live the way we did or as well as we once did just a few short years ago.

We have no health insurance, and while my children are healthy, accidents happen, and children sometimes fall ill. This is why I feel so incredibly inept. My youngest son recently ended up in the trauma center and had to undergo surgery and as he opened his eyes, still heavily sedated, he looked up at me and said,

“How are we going to pay for all this mom?”

He is 15 years old, he had just been through a harrowing ordeal, and how ‘we’ were going to pay the bill should not have been, and should not be, something he should be worried about. Being a homemaker was a role I was so proud of and I knew how blessed I was to be able to stay at home to raise them, not everyone is as fortunate. However, considering I have been out of work for so many years, obtaining a job that provides health benefits seems like a ‘pipe dream,’ seeing as I have no resume, education, and or experience to speak of.

Yet still, I have hope and I have faith that one day I will be able to provide for my children the lifestyle and material things we were once accustomed to and more. However, for now, I will be happy to work anywhere, and do anything if it means my children will never have to worry about how and or if we are going to be able to pay our utilities, pay for school clothes, or go grocery shopping.

In the meantime, I will continue to pray for strength and guidance, and that I may never lose sight of that which I value more than anything in this world, and that is the things I do have. I have two healthy, wonderful, loving, children, which are by far, the greatest gifts I have ever received. So while I may not be able or have not been able to give them all that I feel they deserve or are worthy of, they have given me more joy and happiness than any one person is worthy of.

Now if only I can do right by them…


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