There are days when I open the mailbox and receive sweet notes from people I care for. Notes that offer simple lines that transform my outlook, and redirect my path.
“Run into the roar.” Was one of these lines. So simple, yet so evocative.
And then there are days when I open the mailbox and the roar, well…. roars.
Two weeks ago I needed emergency dental surgery. $400. The LAST $400 I had. I’m talking crumpled up dollar bills and quarters while CRYING in the dentist chair. I don’t cry. It’s not a macho thing – I don’t think I’m tough as nails or too cool for school – I just don’t cry. I wish I did. It looks delightful.
Today, in the mail, I received 3 letters. One from social security saying that they have stopped payments to Poppy and I owe them approximately $8,000 because I raised approximately $3,000 to get to Texas (which has long been spent on the travel and consultation with Dr. Fearon). I had to turn off the option to donate to Poppy’s medical fund ( money I do not have access to unless it is for her medical care or travel) because the social security was counting it as $800 monthly income wether there were donations made or not!
The next letter was from the electric company saying I had exhausted my options for payments and needed to pay the full amount ($297) in order to keep my lights on.
And the last letter was from Poppy’s pediatrician letting me know ( after 17 months of working together to customize and learn all we could learn about Apert Syndrome ) that she is resigning from the children’s hospital and I will need to find a new pediatrician.
Rent is due in 3 days, I’m out of gas, and I have $7.32 in my account.
I may have never mentioned ( because it is one of the darkest pockets of shame I have known) that I have now depleted my 11 year old sons college savings account that I have been paying into his entire life. Zero.
Here is why this sucks : my feelings are hurt.
I try so hard to provide for my family. I hustle. I drive all over the city picking things up for $5 cleaning them up, fixing the broken bits, polishing and primping – and selling them for $20.
Social security is $690 a month. It is the only constant income I had to count on. It is now gone.
I take it so personally. Like they are saying Poppy doesn’t deserve it. Like as her mother I should hand her off to strangers who don’t know how to care for her and work 40 hours a week to pay for the strangers and bring home less than $690 a month and lose her medical benefits, too.
I am so upset. Shaking, nauseous, terrified, mad.
I have never stood back with my hand out saying “poor me.” I have always come up with creative ways to mask my turmoil and make being a poor, single mama look fun and easy.
News flash: it’s a ruse. This effortless swing in my step is just a facade. I am inwardly crippled.
But even crippled, I will fight for what my children deserve. That, though, is a catch 22. They deserve a mother who is present, who is able to sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider a gazillion times a day, who doesn’t spend 8 hours of every day writing emails and making phone calls and buying and selling STUFF that generates greedy and gross energy.
I’m putting my hands out. I’m ready to catch my break. The roar I am running into seems not only relentless, but real. Ill keep running. I just hope this beast is a paper tiger.