We sat in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment, probably less than 800 square feet. One of my colleagues sat on the floor with me and one joined the pregnant mom on the sofa while her two children played in front of us. The mom’s friend and partner who are currently renting the apartment perched on chairs in the room as well.
This tight knit group of young adults are all caring for these children. When we asked questions to the mom about the boys routines and activities, all of them chimed in about what the boys ate, what they liked and didn’t like to do. Other adults from the apartment community wandered in over the course of the hour and half we were there, one of them settling in and eventually changing the diaper of the older one on the floor while we chatted.
Two children under the age of two and another on the way. No highchair, no crib, a dozen toys, no board books, the clothes on their backs, a borrowed stroller, food stamps, WIC, Tanf, DSHS….
and loads of love.
I’m glad the government can’t take away the love.
chance and circumstance adds up to reality
she could live in town, closer to her job at Walmart
but the rent is higher
she finally got her driver’s license
because even though she saved on gas and insurance
the bus only ran 3 times a day to this part of the county
she was in school once, training to be a medical assistant –
seems like years ago
and then she got pregnant with a man almost twice her age
she just had her 24th birthday
well now he is gone, 7 months ago
he went back to abusing drugs, and she had to get a restraining order in place
her sons don’t understand
and keep asking about daddy
when he left her brother moved up and into the household
he helps care for her two boys during the day
while she sleeps because she works the night shift
after a year, she’s finally working a 40 hour week
she’s thinking about a day shift –
it would be better for the kids,
but her pay would be a dollar an hour less
always there are trade offs….
yes, she’s lucky she has her brother to help
and he’s pretty good with the kids
she knows the tv is on more than it should be
he gives them marshmallows for treats
and the dishes stack up while she sleeps
but he wants to get a job too, he is an artist, draws cartoons
take a look at her 4 year old sitting at the table
drawing with his uncle and signing his pictures with a “J”
if they can just hang on
maybe they’ll make it
taking one step and one day at a time