What a difference 90 days makes!
You may remember our story about Michelle and her homeless situation several months ago. Battling a marriage of domestic abuse finally took its toll on her, and she realized that she had to leave in order to protect herself and her 3 young children. The young mother and her children found themselves in a homeless shelter where they shared a single room for sleeping and eating. Her 3-year old slept in her bed, while the 2 older ones shared a bed. They used the bathroom sink to wash dishes and brush their teeth, and there was no privacy at bedtime.
Now things are looking up somewhat for Michelle. She continues to fight her way through the complicated social services system and was able to get some minimal help. But most of the work and effort was done on her own. She arranged to have her children safely transported to their same school for continuity and some semblance of normalcy for them. She found a job that allowed her to be home when the kids came home from school. With the ferocity of a mother, she held her children together and gave them plenty to smile about throughout the ordeal by creating fun activities and keeping a smile on her face.
She plans to move into her new 2-bedroom condo in the next few days and she is both excited and afraid. There will be more bills to pay than she has ever faced alone, and she only has some of the bare necessities from her previous house. Leaving quickly did not allow her to plan for setting up a new house one day — but it did allow her to sleep at night without fear of worrying about what might happen to her or the children.
I talked with Michelle again today and asked her how she felt. She responded in her typical upbeat way, “I’m feeling good but very scared. I’m happy to have a place to live and I know I’m going to make it. I have come too far to turn back now and I’m going to make this work.” Spoken like a true lioness protecting her cubs!
We talked about the upcoming holiday and what she plans to do. She was excited just to have a place to share Christmas with her kids and said she will figure it out when she gets moved in. She wants to have decorations for Christmas so the kids can enjoy them. But she assured me, “It will be a wonderful time for us because we’re together in our own home.”
Her biggest needs at this point seem to be for towels, washcloths, and sheets along with other household necessities and pantry staples. She never mentioned anything personally for herself because just like always, Michelle is thinking of her kids and what they need for comfort first. She continues to work at her job and is now able to get more hours since things are changing for the better. Her fears at work in case the kids get sick continues to concern her because she never wants to let her employer down.
“I don’t mind working hard and I enjoy going to work, but when my children are sick, I can’t leave them with someone else. I have to be there for them. And I can’t let my employer down so it’s hard when you’re alone. But we’ll figure it out,” she explains.
Michelle is a truly loving Richmond mom who exemplifies what it means to provide love, support and care for her children. She has lived through situations that most of us cannot imagine, and she has overcome obstacles that most of us will never encounter. She continues to move forward, one step at a time, and is grateful for how far she has come. Looking back makes her realize what has happened and she knows it was the only way for her — she had to make it on her own.
After getting to know Michelle, I also realize that she will make it because she has the desire, drive, and purpose to succeed. Her 3 children give her the motivation to get up each morning and make a difference. And her positive attitude is contagious when you’re around her. Our last article quoted Michelle as saying “The new norm is brushing your teeth and washing dishes in the same sink.” We’re glad that her norms are changing!
We know you’ll make it Michelle – Richmond moms AND dads are behind you all the way and we wish you the very best of luck!
If you’d like to contact Michelle with a word of inspiration or hope, you can email her. Be sure and tell her you heard about her on Richmondmom.com!