Monday, May 21, 2012

A Trip to Ruth House. And Target.

Aahhh, it's rest time. The time of the day where I pray the girls will sleep and threaten them with flaming wrath if they come out of their room. The time of the day when I try to let my ears recover from their auditory onslaught. The time of day when I procrastinate from stuff like clothes-folding and floor-sweeping and sit down to read email and write blog posts.

Dinner's in the crockpot. A load of laundry is in the wash. Ok, NOW it is. I forgot to actually do it. But now we're back on track. We're waiting on an old co-worker to stop by; she's bringing back a bin of baby clothes and exchanging them for the next bin of larger clothes.

The girls and I were out and about this morning. We started the day with a trip to Ruth House. We were at the first Ruth House Experience, where we were given a taste of the lives of the girls who live there. The other visitors for the Experience were given dolls, car seats, and a small bag of baby essentials. I brought my own 2 kids and bags of essentials. They even cried and made noise at the appropriate times. The other women didn't have crying baby dolls. They could listen intently. They didn't need to produce toys, snacks, and other interventions to keep the general hubbub down. We were a mini object lesson to what the real residents of the homes dealt with when they first were oriented into the program. But only an analogy. Because I know a little bit about how to shush crying. I can predict when the girls will get tired, bored, and hungry. I have a little experience. I had people to teach me. I'm not 16 years old and homeless, with a newborn.

After our Ruth House Experience, we went to Target on our way home. We needed a white shirt for HeyMama. We found one. Then picked up a second shirt because it also would match the skirt we were trying to buy a top for, and it wasn't too expensive. I found a sun hat. We looked at sun hats for the girls that were on clearance. We ultimately didn't buy one, because we already had sun hats, and even as cheap backups, they weren't good enough. I was willing to spend more for a better hat. We got a gift for BestestHusband (shhh, don't tell!). We didn't look at toys, despite the girls' begging. I wanted to get us all home for lunch and rest time.

The shift from Ruth House to Target helps highlight the difference between my experience as a mother and the experience of a Ruth House mother. I have snacks in my diaper bag. I never have to worry about not being able to afford food for my girls. If we need more food, I go buy it. I can walk to the store. I can drive to the store. In my very own car. I don't have to worry about shopping only where the bus lines will take me. When we need more clothes, we go buy some. Sure, I love hand-me-downs, and try not to buy anything excessive. (Which can be hard, considering girls' clothes. Headbands were my downfall last week.) But it's out of a desire to use our money wisely. Not because we don't HAVE money. My girls were excited to help pick out a gift for BestestHusband. They know him. They know what he likes. My daughters have an involved father. He supports them. He supports me. He is there for us every morning and every night. I'm not parenting alone. I have the luxury of scheduling our days around they girls' needs. I can make sure they eat at regular intervals, and get plenty of sleep. The basic necessities of life are never in question. They are always provided.

Even under the best of circumstances, parenting is a challenge. Imagine having only the clothes on your back, with a few diapers and a blanket for your baby. You're almost out of formula. You're almost out of diapers. You have no clean clothes for your baby.

Imagine what it would be like to be shown to a room, with a pretty crib for your baby with sheets and a blanket. To see a nice bed, just for you, with a pretty comforter and sheets. You see thick soft towels. This is all yours now. This is the first time you've had a room all to yourself. With a key to keep your things safe. The people who lead you to this room seem tough. They talk about rules. School. Schedules. Things you MUST DO. But they repeatedly ask you what you want for your child. What you want in life for yourself. They talk about dreams and goals. They tell you that they will help you get yourself there.

Yes, this is why Ruth House is such a special place. I support it with my time and money. The girls there, and their young families, need it. If you're looking for an inspiring place to get behind and support, please consider attending the Ruth House Experience for yourself!

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