Today I read the profiles of the families that are on our Angel Tree at work. The first family is battling cancer, heart disease, the father holds a full time job as well as two part time jobs. Not only do they have their own biological children but they are the guardians of two other children who are a niece and nephew. Their parent’s were killed in a car accident eight years ago. The niece has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Do you know what the mother asked for? A coffee pot and some towels. She wants the children to have books because they love to read.
This is just the first family and already my heart is full. They didn’t ask for extravagant items. A coffee pot.
The next family is a grandmother that has taken in her three grandchildren ages 5 and 4 (twins) because their parent’s neglected and abused them. Grandmother doesn’t want them to play any games that involves shooting or violence but instead they play dolls, dress up, and outside because the Grandmother moved them to a place with a yard. Do you know what this Grandmother asked for herself? A Target gift card so she can buy shoes. For the children she asked for coats and underwear as primary and Barbies and books as a secondary idea.
The third family has eleven children in the family. Eleven. Three of the oldest daughters were sexually abused by the father. The case is in court. Not only do they have their own children, but they have taken in four cousins between the ages of 5-7. The grandmother and mother are raising and caring for all of these children. All the boys are in cub scouts. I think the girls that were abused are so messed up that they are in therapy a great deal. What do they want? Clothes. Oh, and laundry detergent.
I sit here feeling that my problems are nothing compared to this family. I don’t have to work three jobs and I don’t have family illness where I am the caregiver or the guardian. I don’t have to deal with girls that have been sexually abused. I don’t have to worry about clothing or if I can have coffee in the morning or if there is toilet paper in the house. I didn’t have to take in other’s children to raise. I have boxes of books still in my garage that I haven’t unpacked. I have every kitchen appliance that I can think of and they are all color coordinated to match my kitchen.
I have shoes in three closets. I have clothes in three closets and in the attic and still in boxes. I have towels, good towels, guest towels, hair towels….all matching.
There, but by the Grace of God, go I.
I have never been poor. I have never gone without. This is the poverty that my father grew up with except being on a farm they always had food. This is what my father worked so hard for…to give his family a chance and a good life. This is why my father got out of the poverty and joined the Military immediately and educated himself. This is why my parent’s worked hard to educate us, to have a safe, clean, warm, happy environment to grow up in. My sister and I went to private schools, we had access to the Arts, we had dancing and piano and guitar and skating and riding lessons.