Mama to more than just 2 tangible children, survivor of domestic violence, treading water in the sea of poverty and single parenting.
Last week we hit yet another low. These rides are not easy for someone like me, who is most decidedly not manic but prefers a nice, even, predictable world filled with like-minded Virgos.
But *boom!* - down we went. The Xdude decided to not pay any child support in October. He has yet to pay the full, court-ordered amount, but sometimes he pays nothing. Sometimes he pays less than half of the order, which amounts to $250 per child. But my kids have yet to go hungry. They may not get the foods they ask for, but they have never gone hungry.
I had gone off food stamps but soon realized that without the added help, and without being able to depend on Xdude to help support our children, I could not afford the grocery bills. Or any bills. I don't have enough money for PG&E (shut off notices can be suspended with a $20 payment!). and Comcast wants to raise my no-longer-promotional phone service rates by 100%. So on Monday morning I re-applied for assistance, but it will take about 2 weeks.
"What am I going to do until then?" I asked, almost rhetorically because I always do figure out something.
"There is a food distribution today from 10-12 - it's the only one of the month but it's today." She gave me the location, and I went. I was extremely grateful for the canned food, almonds, bread and huge bag of produce and even posted that morning on Facebook about being grateful to the Second Harvest Food Bank.
At school pick-up I was greeted with my son's classroom snack basket. Facepalm. I have to send that basket back to school with enough healthy snacks for the students and teachers once every 3 weeks for my son (10 snacks) and once a month (23 snacks) for my daughter. This week was particularly special because I got to do both snack baskets in the very same week! I could have cried when I realized this. Why this week, of all weeks? I could have called the school and explained but I was too proud and too resourceful to do that. I was certain to come up with something creative. I had a dark moment where I pictured myself redistributing the food bank produce to a bunch of 8 and 9 year old kids. "Hey look kids!! I brought you brussel sprouts! And onions! And I have an onion for EACH OF YOU! MMMMMMM DELICIOUS!" My daughter would be ostracized for life.
Then it came to me. Why, I'd make muffins! And we also had cereal and a fresh container of yogurt! I could bring that! Fruit - lots of apples to cut and bring! And come on - the muffins! Every kid loves muffins!
I silently applauded my narrowly avoided panic attack resourcefulness and grabbed my son's backpack.
My 5 year old was so excited to show me something in his backpack and snatched it back.
"Mommy! Look!! I have something special to bring home!!"
"Don't forget to bring that back to school all filled up!" his teacher reminded him.
He reached in and pulled out an empty bag. A bag with the unmistakable logo of the Second Harvest Food Bank.
Kidding, right? I had pulled the day off so far and now this? Could I please send the bag back, filled with food from our pantry?
Just then my daughter came out of her classroom, snack basket in one hand and waving the Second Harvest donation bag in her other.
The word Irony is often misused, but not today.
More from parenting