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.