“The child is father to the man”, said William Wordsworth, and so sang Blood, Sweat and Tears.
Children teach more than their own fathers. Children at a shelter type facility have taught me a lot. It was late at night, they arrived without luggage, without even an extra pair of shoes amongst them. The youngest of three children clutched a toy, it was a plastic castle. She refused to let it go.
They children were traumatized, wide eyes, not a word between them. The older one stood by me, I reached out to touch her in welcome, she flinched, she fled to the other side of the room. The mother had been here before, she knew which doorbell to ring to get help. She asked if she could have something to drink, none in the family felt like eating. She needed plastic cups too. In the morning they were gone. I will never know what they were fleeing, or where they went, but I do know they have suffered. And I fear their suffering is not ended.
I heard a child screaming. She was strapped into a stroller and twisted and writhed to be free. Her cries were chilling. Almost three she had no front teeth. Where were her teeth? The man pushing the stroller was not her father. He said he had moved in with her mother less than a year ago. He was crying, he said the mother abandoned the child, and that she was screaming for her mother. He told many conflicting stories about what happened, I do not know what is true but I do know that child wants her mother and I fear it is not the first and neither will be the last time that she will cry like this.
She has lived in this temporary housing facility over 7 years. Beyond the legal age of being allowed to drive she doesn’t. There is no vehicle for her and no way to pay for a vehicle and its upkeep if she could. She lives in one room basically with her sibling and ill mother. Her father abandoned them years ago. He has since stopped using drugs and has remarried, although he does send funds when he can he has no other contact with them. She serves those who are less fortunate than she at missions and churches. Although some would find it difficult to identify those who are less fortunate than she. She is in college, diligent at study she rejoices when she earns good grades. Whoever said “you do NOT find diamonds in mud holes” was wrong.
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