Disclaimer #1 – This post is all over the place. Disclaimer #2 is at the end.
On Monday, I should be getting the keys to my new, but temporary, home. It’s temporary because the housing situation in Eastern North Carolina is bad. This is not an exaggeration. We have a little crisis here and we have families living in their cars & showing up at churches with their bags and nowhere to go.
There are so many displaced from their home. I’m the great benefactress of a local couple who is letting me temporarily rent, on a month to month basis, a home that will eventually be one of their flips. They’re opening it for us as they have other homes. This is such a beautiful thing, at such a stressful time.
With damaged homes forcing people out, I have never seen or experienced what I have in the last month. Just yesterday, Marine Corps retired families living in base housing (usually allowed because base housing can sit empty) were given thirty-days notice to make room for the active duty families who have severely damaged homes. There’s nowhere for the active duty families to go and there’s very little available for everyone else so now the retiree families are scrambling – some still with kids in elementary school.
As I searched for a new home, I felt incredibly hopeless and fearful about was ahead. If I couldn’t find a home, I would have to give up my kiddo. I could have put my stuff in storage. And I can make do sleeping at my mom’s apartment for a while. But what I could not do, is let that little boy lose the life he’s made me with me. Yes, foster care means we could say goodbye. But for now, he is mine. He is safe. He is loved. And he has the safety and security he longs for.
My heart was broken.
And yet, I still had to keep working at that day job – acting all the time – as we prepared for Marines to depart, like I had it all under control.
I didn’t. And sometimes, people didn’t care to ask. This is the worst part about being a strong woman who can do just about anything she sets her mind to. People sometimes don’t ask. I don’t need anyone. But I desperately do.
And then this amazing tribe of Marine Corps spouses did some quick social media sharing work, and by the next morning, I had the offer of 3 (THREE) month to month leases to get us through until the rental market corrects itself.
My life has been forever changed by my Marine Corps life. I have been so blessed by the people who have come through my life. And this experience just solidified my love for a community who fights hard for their families and gives up so much.
So . . . “my” house . . .
They’re cleaning it and getting it ready for me & my sweet boy. It’s adorable, old, and a little weird (in a great way). It has a back & front deck that I look forward to sitting on in our now cooling, eastern NC weather. There’s an old chandelier in the front room (I’ve decided is my office). And it’s in the neighborhood I’ve wanted to live in, for quite some time.
In the words of the great Anne with an “e” it has a lot of scope for the imagination.
But before I sign off, I wanted to get back to my boy & me. Life has been . . . off these last five weeks. Next week the kids in our county will have been out of school for five weeks. Their last day of school was 11 September.
Beyond that, the upheaval of moving, the fears that still hang around about losing our home, and the pain he brings with him everywhere – not being with his mommy – hang on tight.
I’m so thankful for the blessing of a home where I can continue to keep him safe and continue to let him grow and learn and change. But these days have been so very hard. I have felt so very alone as a single parent.
And yet, life spins on. There is work to do. There is a paycheck to earn. But in the midst of it all, is a little boy who is clinging to me (sometimes literally) and weeping. And he needs so much.
His needs are intense. What he needs to learn through and grow through seems like too much for me on days like today. I’m tired, my RA is not under control and I’m overdue for an infusion. I’m stressed with packing and his desire to be with me (and my mom) and help us pack is a need I want to respond to. And yet, it slows me down and I look at what’s left to do and feel overwhelmed.
Sometimes, I fear I will fail him. Tonight, my mom said he is a little too disrespectful to me. She’s right. He is. And yet, there are many things he doesn’t understand are simply not kid things to do. They’re not battles he needs to wage. They’re not decisions he needs to make. And frankly, he doesn’t understand why there are rules and why he doesn’t have a say.
So…why trust “Mama A” when he’s got it all under control? I’m sure I would have been disrespectful if I had been in his shoes. Oh wait, I was. My poor mama. We gave her a run for her money.
Childhood trauma is a bitch. I know this for a fact, myself. And now I see in my sweet boy, in a way, I never even understood myself, after therapy as a kid and constant prayer that God would heal my own heart, what this does to the human brain and the heart – the very core of our existence.
In so many ways, he is brave, strong, fearless, and far beyond his years. He is smart, funny, and so kind. He’s such a special kid. But he’s also brokenhearted. And sometimes, I don’t know what to do to help.
All that to say, he has so much on his heart & mind.
I don’t want to fail this little guy. And yet, sometimes, I am at a loss for what to say or what to do next. As we prepare to go to a temporary home, I pray that wherever we end up next becomes home, home – forever home (or as close to it as humanly possible). He wants it. I want it. And we both need it.
I’m overwhelmed. But thankfully, my big God is not. And the same God that plopped a temp home into my hands, is the same God who has got me and my FS7, firmly in His grip.
Do it again. Keep on doing it, Abba. Because you’re the only way me & my kiddo are gonna make it through the change and the sheer weight of the trauma.
***In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, I worry I’ll sound trivial. But people here in some circles have talked of the grief that comes from a storm like Florence (and obviously Michael). I’m not sure I’ve felt quite right since 11 September – the day I drove us into the mountains of Tennessee.
And now, just over a month later, my world isn’t quite right. This is my second disclaimer – as I know there is greater suffering. I’m just sharing my tiny experience.***