Mother’s Day. A day of overflowing happiness, joyful smiles, breakfast in bed, gorgeous flowers, and lavish meals.
For Desiree, Stephanie, and Carol, their Mother’s Day begins very differently.
Who are these women?
They are mothers living on the street.
So instead of flowers, candy, and, perfume, we formed a list, gathered all the essentials, and loaded backpacks for three homeless mothers. The picture below shows the items purchased:
Toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, nail clippers, soap, Kleenex, poncho, wash cloths, Vaseline, dental floss, lotion, McDonald’s gift card, cough drops, cap, feminine napkins, hand sanitizer, Band-Aids, underwear, socks, foot powder, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, aspirin, spoon, can opener, flashlight, Bible, and backpack.
The results were absolutely powerful.
Desiree, the first mother we met, has a daughter and a grandchild, Elijah. She didn’t share how she made it to where she is today, but emphasized how much she loved her grandson. “We should honor our mothers because they are the ones that gave us life.” Originally from Louisiana, Desiree raised four nieces and nephews as well. After she spoke, she took a pause and looked right at me. “None of them care about me today.” Thanking us graciously for her gift, she took one of her water bottles and raised it in the air, reminding us that water is the most wonderful drink of all. Although, she recalls that the well water in Louisiana is a lot tastier than our local water.
Stephanie, our second mother, had a downward glance and a shy smile when we approached her. When we asked if she was a Mother, she put her hand on her stomach. “I’m a mother-to-be,” she smiled. Six months pregnant and not sure what motherhood will bring, she still appears hopeful. What does she want her daughter to remember? “Sometimes, life on the streets is easy, but mostly it’s difficult.” After thanking us for thinking about her, she pulled the hat out of the backpack, put it on her head and walked away. Our hearts warmed knowing we helped in some small way.
When we first saw Carol, she was walking at a fast pace. When asked if she would like to talk, she smiled, her bright blue eyes lit up. “Sure, but I got caught in the rain last night, my pants are still muddy.” She pointed ahead. “I’m going to change at the shelter. I’ll talk with you when I come out.” In the meantime, we searched for others mothers to help; it took us over an hour to locate Carol again. We found her in the park digging through trash cans. “Oh yeah, I remember you. Yes, I would love to talk.”
Carol is a mother of four children, two sons and two daughters. She also has five lovely grandchildren, four girls and one boy. When we asked about her children, she responded with a cheerful smile. “They’re beautiful.” She began to tear up when she mentioned her grandchildren. We understood and were grateful for her sharing.
With heartfelt appreciation, each of the women thanked us and wished my wife a Happy Mother’s Day.
We all have different experiences with our mothers, enjoy what you can and let go of the others.
Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere!