My circumstance yesterday sums up the foundation of all that causes me distress, depression and heart ache. Yesterday I had to choose between nursing my sick son and going to work. What kind of choice is this? Wouldn’t any mother choose her child over her job? But I really didn’t have a choice. Without a solid job that pays for sick days and being as economically depressed as we are right now, I have to work EVERY day I can find work because if I don’t, rent doesn’t get paid. It’s sounds so doom and gloom but unfortunately that’s what things are right now.
Douglas was suffering a soar throat. He had been since Saturday. His nose was stuffy and he had a terrible head ache. I was concerned he may have strep-throat. I was also concerned that there would be no substitute jobs available. Being that this week is a short one to begin with (because of Holidays Stamford Schools are closed on Thursday and Friday). I need to work EVERY day this week and can’t be sure it’s going to happen. So when an opportunity opened up I jumped on it. And I left my son home alone.
Yeah. Home alone.
He was 11 and sick and I left him home alone with his game boy for company. And I felt like SHIT every second. I wasn’t concerned for his safety. Our neighborhood is impeccably safe and the office downstairs would help in any REAL emergency. But I wanted to be there for him. I wanted to be able to take care of him. He wasn’t showing signs of a fever. His symptoms weren’t out of the ordinary. But I wanted to be there for him. And I couldn’t. I couldn’t. I HAD to work. If I don’t then we don’t have rent paid. Because as substitute teacher the next shift is never guaranteed and I need all the shifts I can get right now. Our furniture is still locked away in storage and the company has already sent us a lean notice. Rent is due at the end of this week and I’m depending on child support to pay it. Child support hasn’t come in over a month. We’ve been homeless. I won’t go back there.
So I went to work. Happy to have work. Heart broken that I couldn’t stay home with my son. But the truth is I could have. I could have stayed home, and not worked and lost 1/5 of my weekly salary. And in the future this is what I will do. I don’t give a damn. But right now, our financial legs are still weak and I have to nurture that part of our family back to health. We’ve had a HUGE financial injury over the past year and if I am not diligent with nursing that injury back to health then our circumstance will go back to worse. That isn’t an option. We really have no place to go and couch hoping caused Douglas and Shelby so much stress that I’m scared they’d break if we had to go back to it. This is not a fate I’d like to tempt. So for now, being a provider has to come first. I have to make these kind of tough calls. And I’m going to hurt for it. Because the deepest part of me, my most intrinsic nature, is that of a nurturer. My family is my priority. I’m not this hard ass I’ve had to become over the years and someday, days like these, this thick ass shell I’ve grown in self defense just gets too damn heavy for me to bare.
All day long I worked with a beautiful little Autistic boy named Elijah. He was extraordinary. And I wished I could be caring for my own child. The lead teacher in Elijah’s room had pretty much a schedule to be envied. She was a full time teacher, already on her children’s schedule, but because of professional courtesy had her two young child in the school with her. They were not in her class, but they were both in her wing. During recess her daughter came running up to her with a big excited hug. And my thoughts turned to my son, who didn’t have that option. He didn’t have the option of being treated with care. He’ll have to be tough. He’ll survive but with skin that’s thickened. I see it happening already. My son is beautiful, but weather worn and I see his shell developing. And I hate it. Because it shows how I’ve failed. I’ve failed to be the parent he deserves. We can’t protect our children from everything, but somethings are absolute necessities. And I haven’t done it. I haven’t been around.
The reason I went back to college was to open more doors for myself. So far I’ve found none. I am living an economically depressed life style that is injuring my family. And it has to stop. We all deserve better. And better can’t be an option any more. I’m too angry right now. Too angry. I’ve got to find a different outlet for this energy, or I’m going to explode.