Tuesday, July 19, 2016

House Guests: A Story

I have been living a very interesting New Experience. I mentioned a couple months ago that I was cleaning out a bedroom for a friend, CR, who was going to move in. She did move in, on May 5, with her newborn baby. She is someone I knew back when I was a full time working woman. We kept in loose touch over the years, and this year we re-connected in a more regular way when I found out that she was pregnant and homeless.

First I tried to help her find housing. She got into a place, very temporarily. Then we had to search again. You would be amazed at how hard we tried and how many "no"s we had to listen to. There was no room anywhere. (We obviously do not have enough shelters and helpful places for people in emergency need.)

Finally I got her a hotel room and called on my friends, near and far, to help pay for the room. I was amazed at the out-pouring of love in the form of helping to pay for the hotel. We kept her there safe and warm for just over two weeks.

Eventually she ended up in the hospital with early labor. And she actually never left the hospital, because her baby, TR, was born prematurely, at 26 weeks gestation. He weighed only 2 lbs 1 oz!!

TR was strong right from birth. He progressed through the NICU stages quickly. He gained weight, he had very few setbacks and no major crises. It was a miracle. On May 5 he was allowed to leave the hospital, just a couple of weeks before what was his original due date. They moved into my house, because they had no other place, and because I wanted to help keep TR out of foster care.

CR has been a pleasant house guest, and her baby is adorable. I rarely hear him at night, and after only a couple of months he started sleeping through the night. He is sweet, loving, and very lovable. I have had SO MUCH FUN helping take care of him. He and I are buddies.

I have been learning a lot through this New Experience. First I was surprised at how easily one can fall through the cracks of public assistance and find oneself out on a limb with no safety net. I naively thought that offering someone a safe, stable place to live would solve many problems. Well, yes and no. It did, but it didn't. Mostly it has helped ME learn more about the lives of people who can't always count on having a safe place to crash.

CR and TR get help from various agencies. Sometimes county people come to our house to check on the baby and talk about baby care, parenting, and many other issues. The help has been excellent. CR and TR are my friends, and I love them. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and to be part of their lives. I am not telling this story so you can think I'm wonderful for opening up my home. Instead I am telling you this story because I want you to know that people are complicated. Solutions are not easy. What we think might be a quick fix, often isn't. We need to be patient with each other and love each other more.

In these days of terror and unrest, let's just remember that part... accept each other wherever we are in life. Love each other. Don't judge. And give those sweet babies lots of hugs every chance we get.


Betty said...

What an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it! Blessings to CR and TR.

Brenda said...

Blessings to all of you and kudos to you for opening up your house and your heart.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Beautiful and timely post -- and you are SO right about people falling through the cracks.

rondiquilts said...

Beautiful post. I am glad you posted an update on CR and TR and how you are coping. I think there is a lot unsaid in the lines and that was intentional. I love that you are showing love, patience, wisdom and understanding. Its causes me to stop and reflect that I need more patience. All the best to all of you.


emiliehamilton said...

lovely photograph of you and the baby. wonderful that you could be a blessing to both your friend and her baby when she so desperately needed the love of a caring friend.

The Quilting Elf said...

This was a great post. My QOV group recently visited transitional housing for homeless female veterans. These are women who have some skills (learned in the military) and yet, for whatever reason, found themselves homeless. That visit, too, was an eye opener. They loved the quilts we gave them, and we loved hearing their stories about the success they are now having since they have stable housing in a safe environment (with job hunting skills and substance abuse assistance if they need it).
You are a wonderful Auntie for the baby and a special blessing for your friend. Wishing the best for them,
Kathy T. in Tampa