Last night I found myself sandwiched in line waiting to check out, this is not an odd occurrence. The woman in front of me had 5 children she was wrangling (which did not seem odd to me), as well as the fact that the children were a mix of Caucasian and Hispanic.( Again hmph…didn’t notice until it was pointed out to me).
Yes, I said pointed out.
The people behind me as I wrestled my own whiney toddler, began very loudly whispering things like;
“How many baby daddies do you think she has?” “Can’t even dress those kids for weather.” “Just wait until she whips out the food stamps. ”
I calmed my 3 year old with old altoids found at the bottom of my purse and looked incredulously back at the well dressed, normal couple spouting such, well, total CRAP.
I looked forward to see a woman fumbling with separating clothes items; coats and shoes socks and underwear from the food items with the black plastic separators.
There five kids,two that shared her same blonde hair with jackets and warm shoes and three, beautifully dark haired and deep brown eyes, wearing shorts, and flip flops.
It was true she was struggling with a food stamp card. Didn’t know what buttons to use to complete the transaction.
As the class act behind me deeply sighed; and said “There’s our tax dollars neatly at work.”
I shot them what I can only imagine was the death glare only a mother of 9 can execute to perfection.
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I stepped forward and kindly said, can I help? These things are so confusing. She looked at me. I quietly asked ” Foster or Adopted? I have 9 kiddos…two bio, I get it, please let me help.”
She smiled embarrassed, “New foster Mom, this is my first time using one of these, they came 3 days days ago, gonna be with us for a while.
They gave us food, but the kids needed clothes , but no stipend has come through yet.”
I looked at the kids and smiled, and turned to her and said, “beautiful children I am glad you all have each other. ”
I showed her how to use her card as the jackholes behind us snorted.
I explained to her how she doesn’t have to separate items and that the items get separated by the computer at check out and how she pays the balance after she runs her card.
She handed each child a new coat , loaded up her cart as she left I side hugged her and told her “you have got this.”
After they were out of ear shot…I turned with tears to the smug well dressed man and woman behind me.
“Those children? They lost the right to live with their parents just days ago, those clothes? Probably the only clothes they own, or got to leave their home with.
THAT woman? Opened her home to kids, kids that needed a safe place to go, when the one they lived in no longer proved safe enough or secure enough for them. The food stamps, something health and welfare helps an already mother of two feed three new mouths.
There are not nearly enough women or people like her this world.”
I whipped back around and started slamming my groceries on the belt, and then turned back around…voice shaking.;
“AND even IF those kids were all hers, and she had a dozen ‘baby daddies’ and was on food stamps..no child in this country or any other deserves to be cold or hungry,
I am sorry, but your behavior? Poorly done, VERY poorly done.”
My new ‘friends’ left my checkout aisle and joined another, silently.
I grabbed a bag of damn peanutbutter m&ms….
As I finished checking out the girl checking me out smiled and winked, “single mother on WIC, what you said? Rocked!”
I grimaced and said “thanks, wasn’t sure I should have gone off like that…hug those babies of yours tight tonight. ”
She said ” I will, you have a nice night ma’am and do the same.”
I cried hard as I found my Tahoe, buckled the baby in the car, loaded up…and opened those damn m&m’s.
You foster mama’s out there…hold your heads high, you are the hands and hearts that are the strong and the steady for small ones when they need it most.
Hats off and so much love today to you.