My Life in a Nut Shell

3 surgeries for Endometriosis, countless medications, and lots of difficult years trying to conceive. We put the medical stuff on hold and decided to work on being parents instead. In July of 2000 we were blessed beyond all measure with a phone call announcing the birth of our daughter, Megan. Megan's birth mother had given birth the day before and was leaving the hospital. We had no warning that Megan was coming. At 4:29 in the afternoon we were a couple, at 4:30 we were parents. Deciding that we wanted a sibling for Megan, we looked into all our options. This time insurance covered IVF. One round and we were blessed with triplets, Abigail, Brigid, and Caroline. Did you know that there is a 70% chance of divorce in families of Higher Order Multiples? Almost two years after the triplets were born my ex-husband and I separated and eventually divorced. During that time both my Mother and Father passed away from cancer. In February of 2007 my sister came to live with us to help out. In December of 2008 she had to leave so now it is me on my own with the girls. In February 2010, Lisa passed away and finally found her own Peace.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Do I really look like that?

I got a call from the trio's teacher last night.  Just some general stuff, homework, agendas, etc.  I'm having a terrible time at home with keeping those 3 organized.  Megan is a dream student.  Homework is always done, things are signed, she is neat and organized.  Abigail, Brigid, and Caroline are not at all.  Mrs. Erny explained that the girls are forgetting homework, getting agendas signed, etc.  She then suggested that I have a place by the front door for their things to keep them organized.  I wanted to scream.  2 feet from the front door is a basket for shoes.  Each child has a hook 3 feet from the front door for backpacks, and 12 inches from the front door each girl has a coat hook.  So in an area of 3 feet are 3 different methods for staying organized.  And I find one shoe in the car, one under a bed (the same kid's mind you), shoes under the table, outside, backpacks in beds, agendas under the coffee table.  It's enough to make this OCD person scream. 

Back to the conversation:  Mrs. Erny says that the girls are already behind in the morning because they are coming in late from the cafeteria downstairs.  Apparently my 3 lovely ladies had convinced their teacher and cafeteria ladies that they were coming from home, were not being fed, and were starving.  So these wonderfully kind ladies (I just love the staff at the girls' school) have taken pity on the children, who come from a single parent home and are starving, and have been letting them eat breakfast at 9 a.m.  I had to explain to Mrs. Erny that I have to be to work at 7 a.m.  The girls come with me.  I cook the breakfast for my entire preschool in the morning (yes me who hates to cook).  Which means my children are eating  breakfast EVERYDAY before they get to school.  I take my lunchbreak EVERYDAY at 8:45 a.m. in order to drive my girls to school.  I then explained that Brigid often eats breakfast at 6:30 in the morning before we even leave for my work.  So by 9:15 a.m. Brigid has eaten THREE breakfasts.  Yep, 3.  Nice.  Mrs. Erny and I realized we have been duped by 3 cunning young ladies. 

Which leads me to my topic of discussion tonight.  (Damn, I'm long-winded.  Is this what I sound like to everyone??)  Our school is participating for the first time in Blessings in a Backpack.  This program, in conjunction with Kentucky Harvest, sends meals home on the weekends for kids who really don't have anything to eat on the weekends.  Wonderful program and I was glad to see it started at our school.  A good friend of mine, also a co-worker, helped to bring this program to our school.  They have enough to help out 30 families in our school.  I've even offered to donate backpacks to the program.  Imagine my surprise when I opened up Brigid's folder to find an application for Blessings in a Backpack.  Apparently we have been identified as a family in need. 

I felt like I had been punched in the gut.

Here's why.  (I mulled this over with my husband Ali because I make most decisions after talking to her.)  I realize we are what is considered a poverty level family.  I realize that.  I work my ass off everyday, day in day out, yet still struggle.  BUT I DON'T FEEL POOR.  I feel Blessed.  Most of the time.  The walk of shame to the food stamp office makes me feel poor.  The nut doctor I see at Seven Counties makes me feel poor.  Having my healthcare needs taken care of in a free clinic because I don't have health insurance, makes me feel poor.  But every other day in my life I feel Blessed to have what I have.  I work hard for it.  My children are clean, well-educated, we attend church, the girls are in Girl Scouts, we've been in books and magazines, we have a HUGE circle of amazing friends, and I laugh everyday. 

So why is it that to outsiders, we look poor?  Do I really look like that?

Do we look so downtrodden that others often feel sorry for us, pity us, and feel we need help??  I work so hard not to appear that way.  And I HATE asking for help.  Just ask Ali.

Yet here in the course of 24 hours I discover that my children were being treated to breakfast because school staff felt like I was hurrying them out the door without being fed and we are being offered assistance for food on the weekends.  Oh my goodness.  I NEVER want anyone to pity me or our situation.  I am proud of where I am at because I have worked hard for all that we have.  Four short years ago I had a nervous breakdown and couldn't hold a job.  I lost my house.  I had nothing.  And in two and a half years I have a job, a nice place to live, food to eat, a van, and even some small luxuries.  I have a laptop I bought with tax money, I have a digital camera.  We go out to eat once in awhile.  We rent movies.  WE LIVE.

In a poor family, there is often a fat person or two.  (Ok in this family there is one, me)  Do you know why?? Because often times the only gifts a family on food stamps can afford is FOOD.  I may not be able to buy new clothes or go out to dinner with friends but I sure can make a dozen cupcakes.  I can shower my kids with movie night snacks at home.  I can sit in front of my computer every night and eat a snack to feel like I am pampering myself.  Food is what we have.  Other luxuries we do not.  So the next time you see a fat person in line offer up a food stamp card, please do not assume that the person is eating steak and lobster everyday.  It's because we can afford a multitude of carbs i.e. mac and cheese, spaghetti, bread, and we can afford to bake and give our families the only luxuries we have.  Food.

Kinda makes you think doesn't it??

So now I'm off to stare in the mirror for awhile.  I gotta work on getting that poor person look off of me.  Or I'm libel to come home with a form offering me free room and board at the mission.

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