We don’t own a T.V. It seems like you really don’t need to these days. Everything can be found on the internet if you really want to watch something. I have never been one for following a particular show, but Brian and I both like news shows. We are like a retired couple when it comes to our shows of choice. Last Sunday, we put the kids to bed and turned to 60 Minutes on our computer. The episode had a clip on the homeless kids in America. I couldn’t help but cry. It wasn’t that these kids were truly suffering in the sense that you might expect. They lived in motels, so they had a roof over their head, and their clothes were nice and clean. Many of these families were living in up until the housing bubble burst in 2008. They had houses, multiple cars, vacations. But it was short lived. One boy commented in the show that the experience has really made him grow up and mature.
And that’s what brought tears to my eyes.
I suddenly related to these kids and their situation. For me, life changed when I was eight and my parents divorced. Prior to the divorce life seemed carefree and good. And then my life was turned up-side-down. My dad moved in and out of motels. My sisters, mom and I moved in with my grandparents. I had to start making my own lunch, doing laundry, helping with dinner, and needing to go to daycare before and after school. Not horrible things, I know. However, those were just the outward signs of what was going on internally. I was forced to grow up. I was aware of my parents “problems” now and aware of the financial burden they were feeling. As a mother now, I realize that I just want to protect my children. I want them to stay innocent for as long as possible. I don’t want to enable them and baby them forever, but I want to teach them to make their own lunch because I think it is important, not out of necessity.
The stories I have of the years after the divorce are crazy. Really, they are! I was talking to my sister today and she was flooded with memories when I mentioned calling the motel and asking for room 212. That’s where my dad lived, at the Robinhood Inn in room 212. He also became a taxi driver so that he had a car. I remember him driving us home with a Christmas tree on top of the taxi. Seriously embarrassing. My dad was an embarrassing kind of dad anyway, so our new situation didn’t help.
After the episode I was moved to action. The next day I drove down Harbor Boulevard and wrote down the names of motels that looked like they could house some long-term residents. I was planning on having a garage sale this weekend, but instead I decided I was going to bring my clothes to these people in need. Fifty students in the school district call the Motor Inn on Harbor Boulevard home! This is the same school district where individuals have been known to donate millions of dollars to their local schools. I emailed my friends, and now I am getting you who are reading this involved too. We are having a “We’re so Lucky” Saint Patrick’s Day Party. It is an opportunity for people, who may not have much to give, but they have something, to come together. We will have a golden coin hunt for the kids and green snacks. And in return I am asking that everyone bring some donations. Maybe you have gift cards that you don’t necessarily need left over from Christmas, or perhaps you buy in bulk at Costco and could donate some jars or cans of food. Perhaps you have diapers that your baby has grown out of, or clothes. When we all come together with our small things we can make a big difference.
If you are local and would like to come to the “We’re so Lucky” party it is this Thursday at 11am @Harper Park in Costa Mesa. If you cannot make it, but would like to donate please contact me.
Here is the link to the 60 Minutes clip: