I posted this picture on Facebook the other day. It popped up in my newsfeed and I just said something short. But I keep going back to it. I keep thinking about that time, that period in my life and my children’s lives. And I can’t get it off my heart, so y’all are just gonna have to hear about it 🙂
I’m guessing Christian is 3, Sam is 4 and Cameron’s about 6. So many memories came flooding back with this picture.
This time, I was in a 2 bedroom apartment with 3 kids. They all slept in the same room. They had bunk beds and Sam just slept on a mattress and box spring on the floor.
I was in nursing school at Miami University. And anyone who has been through nursing schools knows it’s BRUTAL. It’s stressful. Kind of horrid to be exact.
We couldn’t have been anymore poor (money wise) than we were. Federal grants gave me a check twice a year for attending college. I would pay 6 months rent, car insurance, and car payment. And then that money was gone.
I was on welfare, but didn’t qualify for food stamps. Just daycare for my kids. And I still had to pay a little on that. Because I was in school all day, I could only works the weekends my ex kept the kids. So my paycheck was 20 hours. Soon as they left for the weekend I worked as many hours as I could as a nurse aid at Mercy Fairfield.
I remember the days of eating ramen noodles 3 days in a row. Cause I couldn’t afford to feed my kids. I remember figuring out which bill I could NOT pay for another month, because something else was going to get shut off. Those yellow notes on my door, “your utilities will be shut off on this day”…was a common occurrence.
I remember cutting my boys hair because I couldn’t afford haircuts. I know, it looks pretty bad in the picture. Remember, I was a nursing student, not a hair stylist. LOL!
I remember my kids getting sick, and getting the call at school. Having to leave and knowing I would be punished. More than once, a lady named Loretta (she was in her 70’s then) would pick my kids up if I was at clinicals or in exams. Loretta and I met in a Bible study. She was my savior. She kind of adopted us and I never would have made it through college without her. My kids tell people Bud and Loretta are their grandparents. They even went to Grandparents Day at their schools when they were younger. She was angel sent from God, no doubt in my mind.
I remember my radiator going out in the middle of the road. My car just stopped. I barely know how to put the gas cap on, couldn’t afford a pot to piss in, and I just slumped over the wheel and cried. And cried. And cried. Until someone knocked on my window to help push me off the road.
I remember the sense of anxiety walking to the mailbox. Because I knew it was full of bills I couldn’t pay.
I remember putting $2 at a time in my gas tank. Because it’s all I could afford if I wanted to feed my kids that day. I missed many a meals those days myself. But it never bothered me cause I was so riddled with anxiety and sadness at what my kids had to endure because of my choices.
I remember the jeans in this picture. I got a flyer in the mail for a free 8×10 and I was so excited to get this picture of me and my kids. But we didn’t have anything nice to wear. I remember so clearly, the stain on the jeans I was wearing. You can see it in the picture on my right leg. I was so distraught that it was the only thing I had to wear. It really bothered me that THAT is how I would be remembered.
I remember that bruise on Christian’s cheek. And how many times I cried because I had to take him to the doctor. Another bill I couldn’t pay. More work and school I had to miss. That kid had more staples and glue on his head than all 5 of my kids combined.
I remember putting my kids to sleep in their clothes for the next day. Because I had to wake them up SO early to get them to daycare so I could be at clinicals in God’s country somewhere far away, with gas I couldn’t afford. I remember my sleepy little Sam rubbing her eyes when I woke her one morning at 5am. She looked outside and said, “but mommy, it’s not even today yet”. Those words broke me down for weeks. And I’ll never forget that moment.
I remember good things too though. I remember Cameron giving his playstation to a young boy at the daycare because “he didn’t have anything”. I thought, “My God, I must be doing something right.”
My mom always told me, God will never let you down Missy. Just when it seems you can’t take anymore, something will happen to let you know he’s there. And it always did. I would get a refund check in the mail. or someone over charged me. Or some random act of God. And I mean like $7. That was enough for me to feed my kids that day, you know? But He always came through.
And as I look back, I realize this picture is who we really are. My circumstances did not DEFINE me. I was working. I was working harder than anyone, because I had someone to work FOR. I knew I would get my children out of that mess. I knew I wasn’t lying to them, when I told them I was making a better life for them. When I told them they would all have their own beds one day. And someday the fridge would be full and they could pick out whatever they wanted from the grocery store. Sometimes those dreams are big for your little people. And they were. My kids longed for a normal life.
But all those struggles, they made me who I am today. THAT is why I share so much. Because I’ve been there. And I’ve seen the other side. I chose not to be a statistic. I chose to not listen to every single person who told me I couldn’t do it and I wasn’t worth it. And you know what? I have the best kids in the WORLD. The most respectful, kind, loving, attentive, amazing, caring, God fearing, children in the WORLD. All we went through. It was all part of God’s plan. To help others. To help other’s see what is possible when you give it all you’ve got. I truly believe that if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to get it. Hell hath no fury like a mother’s heart on fire.
Never let your circumstances define you. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and make it happen. And if no one believes in you, open your Bible. He does. And embrace the moment and season you’re in. Don’t fight it. Just see the other side. And let your children see your vision. Talk about what it’s GOING to be like. And they will help you build that future. I know my kids were so proud of me when I walked that stage with honors. When we rented our first home. When they got new school clothes. They lived my dream with me.
Wow. Sorry guys. LOL! Just had to get all that off my chest before I could move on. Happy Tuesday. Something to chew on today.
Peace out;) Melissa Fietsam