Things have been tight – you all know that. I have been spending a decent amount of time at the McDonald’s so the kids can play, I can get my dollar diet coke, and I can work on my resume and job searches in peace.
Since it’s quite a bit tough, I had just enough today for my drink (so we don’t get kicked out for loitering), and the kids got their water cups.
Things were winding down, and the kids whining for dinner, so I started packing up my things to take them home for dinner when I came face to face with a hero.
My oldest came around the corner with a bag of food from the McDonald’s counter. I was shocked, “Where did you get that?”
“A man gave it to me.”
“A man asked us what we wanted to eat and then he bought it.”
Then a nice man with a little girl walked around the corner wearing an old school ‘Run DMC’ t-shirt, holding a tray of his own food. I stopped him. “Thank you so much but you didn’t really need to buy my kids any dinner. We were just about to head home for food.” He laughed a little, “It’s really no problem. Just a couple burgers and fries. Every kid should have that sometimes.”
The truth of the matter was that I didn’t have the money for food at McDonald’s. And the reason we were leaving to eat at home because that is the only option we have for food. We don’t eat out not because of any stance on food quality or anything, it’s because of no funding. And I HATE telling my kids that I can’t get them the $1.50 ice cream or the $2.99 Happy Meal that they want. They feel bad about it. The other kids ask them sometimes why they don’t have food from McDonald’s if they are there.
The touching and generous gesture was a bit overwhelming for me and I started to cry. I thanked him over and over again, while he kept telling me it was fine. He went and sat down at his table; I was still sitting at mine but now in tears, unable to stop, when my kids come over to the table. The worst was when I had to hear them say, “Mom, why are you crying?”
Why am I crying? Because your father and I have now fallen apart after 16 years. Because I have to – at 40 years old – move in with my ma while I try to get my life back together. Because the burden of 3 kids has been weighing on me since my life has been shattered. Because when I get $5, I have to choose between gas in the car or getting medication. Because when my kids ask for something, even though they’ve been good, I have to tell them no and watch the heartbreak in their little faces. Because the one person who was supposed to be my rock, my foundation, has decided I’m a piece of shit.
“I’m just so grateful, baby, that’s all. Grateful for everything I have.”
Thank you so much for reading my blog! It’s your support that keeps me chasing my passions and writing about it. With your contributions, you’re helping me pursue not only my true self, but 25% of the funds raised are donated to the SurfRider Foundation. It’s the small contributions that will also help fund the next trip to Hawaii in October 2017 as so to start connecting to our future there. Thank you all again so very much!