Mother’s Day Journal Entry

Mother’s Day; a day to sleep in, get served breakfast in bed, and be pampered. A day to love and show honor to your own mother, mother-in-law, mother-like-person, or any other person in your life who had a mothering influence on you. This is to be above and beyond the daily love and respect you should be showing these amazing people in your life.

I woke up at 6:30 to a dog having a bad dream. She was crying so badly I thought she needed to go out but she was sound asleep. I sat with her and shushed and whispered into her ear. She calmed down so I decided to stay up and make coffee. As I sat down, thinking I would relax, Princess stumbled over to me in tears. Why is everyone having bad dreams?? I pulled her into my lap and my coffee sat forgotten as I quietly sang into her ear and lulled her back to sleep. As I put her down C-Dog woke. After a few very unhappy grumbles he went into my bedroom and climbed into my bed. Soon after Elf trotted to me sniffling “I miss Daddy.”
Sigh. “Me too, Honey. Me too.”
I pulled her into my lap and we just sat in silence hugging each other. Finally she was ready to get on with the day and slid out of my lap. “Thank you Mommy. I feel a bit better.”
“You’re welcome. I love you.”

I have given up on my stone-cold coffee so I decide to start waking people up. I have to get 5 kids ready for church and I do not have Mark to help me. He is in MO working hard at his new job.

“Bug, wake up”
**GROAN**
“Mom, my foot really, really hurts where the lead got me.”
I look at his foot to see that when the dog tripped him yesterday he was left with an abrasion and today it is bright red. I clean it and put medicine on it and bandage it up.
“Thanks Mom. That feels better.”
“You’re welcome. I love you.”

Time to wake C-Dog….THAT was not fun. He whined and complained and moaned and groaned. “But I’m tired!”
“I am too but that doesn’t matter. We need to get ready for the day.”
“It’s too loud out there. I can’t handle all the noise.” His head goes under the pillow.

Great it is going to be one of “those” days. A day when every little sound sounds 20X worse to C-Dog than it should. This isn’t his fault. He has no control over it. This is, sadly, his life. I can’t help but wonder what other senses are going to be triggered today.

Zen wakes up smiling at me. Ah! Now that is better!

Time to wake Princess back up. She is never fun to wake up because you just don’t know what you are getting; a perfect angel or the grumpiest kid in the world. Today it was the latter. Darn.

C-Dog made his way back into bed. Ugh!
“Come on! I am not kidding. Get up right this second or else!”

Or else what is beyond me. I haven’t thought that far ahead so hopefully he won’t test me. He wisely decides I am not a force to be reckoned with and jumps into the shower.

The rest of the morning consisted of fighting over appropriate church clothing, what to eat, brushing hair, and several other ridiculous things not worth crabbing about but they all chose to. Well, except Zen. he was a happy chap toddling around jabbering cheerily.

Oh and they have forgotten today is Mother’s Day.

To top it all off I stupidly popped onto Facebook and looked at my friends’ statuses. They all got amazing things to say; gourmet breakfast in bed, cheery children who all remembered it was Mother’s Day (unlike my kids), and gifts. Oh the gifts…I am not really one for Mother’s Day gifts and I really honestly do not want anything but, considering this day hasn’t been pleasant and my kids don’t seem to recall it is Mother’s Day, the gifts my friends boast post about makes me sadder.

I am crying for the second time today and it isn’t even 9:30.

I happen upon a status by one particular friend. She posted a little saying “If you can’t change the situation, change how you feel about it” and she wrote “This may seem like an odd Mother’s Day poster, but yesterday I read an article about the problem with social media and holidays. It talked about how at the end of the day, we scroll our newsfeed and see all the wonderful gifts and treats other mothers have gotten and we compare them to our own situation and life is just not such that every holiday is glorious. We can’t compare our blessings to anyone else’s…
So…. If you have a fabulous, glorious kind of Mother’s Day, awesome and if your kids have yelled at each other / fought with each other, and the dishes are piling up, or your husband has to work today, or your a single momma especially with young kids… Then I am celebrating YOU today!! You are fabulous and fighting kids don’t change that!!!!!”

Cue more tears. Maybe it is best Mark isn’t here. He wouldn’t know what to do with this blubbering mess I have become.

I CAN turn this day around! I am still sad but I shower and we manage to get to church just as the announcements are happening. Not bad; that doesn’t even count as late in my opinion. Zen is hyper and jabbering and trying to climb out of my lap. Princess won’t stop chattering despite me shushing her. Finally the kids are dismissed for Children’s Church. I tell Bug I am going to the Baby Room to watch the sermon on the TV so Zen won’t keep disturbing people. He decides to join me.

Not even halfway through one of the teachers pop in and ask if I have seen C-Dog. He ran off. Bug watches Zen and Teacher and I take off looking everywhere for him. Finally I catch him dashing by and he is a mess. Tears are pouring down his face and he is incoherent. I apologize and apologize to Teacher and I cry as I try to explain it hasn’t been an easy day and Mark left and we just don’t know when we will see him again and that I am just so, so sorry C-Dog took off on them. Blubbering mess.

Another teacher pops in. They are nice to me and keep asking how they can help. I really don’t know. I don’t know what I need. I really just need to be with Mark.

They leave C-Dog with me and he sobs uncontrollably in my lap. I know that I can’t say or do anything to help him. I just need to let him cry and hold him. I try to listen to the rest of the sermon but I have missed so much and C-Dog’s sobs are distracting.

I have forgotten what my dear friend had posted and I sink into my sadness.

Church ends and I run into Mr. P. He is a dear friend and he has been a great help to us. He has made sure we are getting our bills paid, he helped get us this temporary house, he has cared for us and listened to us. He started out as a stranger but now he is family. I fill him in on Mark’s new job and once again cry. Really? Ugh, I am annoying myself at this point.
As I walk out of church he hands me some money and says “Go get Mother’s Day lunch with your kids.”
Thank you a thousand times Mr. P! We head home to change and I decide a mid-afternoon meal is best in order to avoid the crowds. I tell the kids we will eat around 3:30 so to get something light to tide them over.

They fight over food. Afterward they don’t clean their room and they make a few messes around the house. This takes talent because there isn’t much in this house to make a mess with! They don’t even have half their clothes because I packed them all. Yet they manage to have clothes everywhere, scraps of paper on the floor, and the few toys they do have are scattered about.
I just want it all picked up before we leave!

Finally they get it done. We head into the city. The restaurants are still busy despite the time. C-Dog bursts into tears and covers his ears and gets ready to run and find a “safe place.” I grab him and tell him we will leave. He doesn’t want to leave because he is hungry but the noise, smells, and chaos of people is too much for him. Tears well in my eyes as I realize this was a stupid, stupid idea. The hostess touches my arm and says “We have a table for you.”

Oh my word! Bless them! They had no clue and gave us the only table that would fit my brood but it happens to be in the only quiet corner they have! Praise God! C-Dog can handle this and picks the chair furthest from the chaos.

Unfortunately Princess is a pill. She had fallen asleep in he car and woken crabby….again. The waitress is charming though and knows just the right words to say to get cooperation “We have strawberries!” That brightened Princess right up. The waitress is magical. A natural with children.

Dinner actually went really well. The kids were well behaved and ate well. I noticed a woman eating by herself. She is a grandmotherly age. Who eats by themselves on Mother’s Day? This breaks my heart. She keeps waving and smiling at my kids and my kids delight her by happily responding back. My check is in front of me and I see I have plenty left to pay her bill also. I tell the waitress to get the lady’s bill for me. As she is doing that I look at my gas money because that is what I am using for the tip. I realize I do not have small bills. That’s OK. The waitress had been so amazing with Princess so she gets a 30% tip today and I trust God will make my gas mileage last 30% longer.

The lady comes over to me and says “Thank you.”
I reply, “Someone paid my grocery bill once….It is Mother’s Day, it is the least I can do.”

“You have no idea…My daughter is a bitter person and when she saw me at church she didn’t even say ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ to me. It hurt so much. My heart has been sad all day. You and your children have made me so happy.”

Tears….again. But tears of hope for a changed world and tears as I remember what my dear friend had posted earlier. Tears that small gestures really do make a difference. We chat for a minute more and I hug her and we leave. I look over my shoulder and I see her tearfully telling the older couple at the table next to her how blessed she is…..

“Mama, that was a really nice thing to do.”
“It was because of Mr. P. I was able to do that, but it does feel good to make someone else happy.”

This Mother’s Day ended better than I thought it would. I am blessed and my kids are my heart.

My 10 cent notebook that I use as my journal.

My 10 cent notebook that I use as my journal.

 

To the Woman Behind Me in Line at the Grocery Store

Dear woman behind me in line at the grocery store,

You don’t know me. You have no clue what my life has been like since October 1, 2013. You have no clue that my family has gone through the wringer. You have no clue that we have faced unbelievable hardship. You have no clue we have been humiliated, humbled, destitute.
You have no clue I have cried more days than not; that I fight against bitterness taking control of my heart. You have no clue that my husband’s pride was shattered. You have no clue my kids have had the worries of an adult on their shoulders. You have no clue their innocence was snatched from them for no good reason. You know none of this.

What you do know is I tried to buy my kids some food and that the EBT machine was down so I couldn’t buy that food. I didn’t have any cash or my debit card with me. I only had my SNAP card. All you heard was me saying “No, don’t hold it for me. My kids are hungry now and I have no other way of paying for this.” You didn’t judge me. You didn’t snarl “Maybe you should have less kids.” You didn’t say “Well, get a job and learn to support yourself.” You didn’t look away in embarrassment or shame for me. You didn’t make any assumptions at all.

What you did was you paid that $17.38 grocery bill for us. You gave my kids bananas, yogurt, apple juice, cheese sticks, and a peach ice tea for me; a rare treat and splurge. You let me hug you and promise through my tears that I WILL pay this forward. I WILL pay someone’s grocery bill for them. That $17.38 may not have been a lot for you, but it was priceless to us. In the car my kids couldn’t stop gushing about you; our “angel in disguise.” They prayed for you. They prayed you would be blessed. You restored some of our lost faith. One simple and small action changed our lives. You probably have forgotten about us by now, but we haven’t forgotten about you. You will forever be a part of us even though we don’t even know your name.

You have no clue how grateful and embarrassed I am that we pay for all our food with SNAP. We eat well thanks to the government. I love that. I love that the government makes sure my kids are cared for. It is one less worry for us. I also struggle with pride and embarrassment. I defiantly tell people we are on SNAP. Daring them to judge us.

Only those closest to us know why we are on SNAP. They know my husband is a hard worker who was laid off after 17 years in a management position with his former company. They know we were moved from our home to a new state only to be left homeless since the house we had came with the job he lost. Only those closest to us know my husband works part time while looking tirelessly for more; that he has submitted more applications than he has received interviews for. Too many jobs are only offering part time work anymore. It is not easy for a 40-something year old to find a job that will support his family of 5 kids.

You know none of this but you didn’t let that stop you from being compassionate and generous to someone you have never met.

To the woman behind me at the grocery store, you have no idea how much we appreciate you. You have no idea the impact you had on my kids. You have no idea how incredibly thankful I am for you. Your action may have been small, but to us it was monumental. Thank you.

Thank you for not judging us. Thank you for giving my kids a snack when they were quite hungry. Thank you. Just thank you.

Forever,
Andrea, the woman in front of you at the grocery store with the cart full of kids who are no longer hungry
Image

**UPDATE** Mark got a full time job in the state we call home. He is there now and we will join him once he finds us a home. Thank you all for your prayers and kind words.