Yakima Mom

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Archive for the tag “basic needs”

Reminder to Give Thanks

We all need little reminders occasionally, to appreciate all that we have. I try to take a few moments daily…to be thankful for the blessings bestowed upon me… especially when I’m faced with challenges, and risk throwing a little pity-party for myself.

I mean, really. I dare say, most of us who read this-have our NEEDS completely met, myself included. We aren’t hungry or homeless. We probably have at least one car, and while we may gripe about putting gas in it, we don’t have to choose between filling the tank or eating dinner. We have our smart phones and 300 choices to watch on our flat screen TVs. I recently shared in a facebook post that went with this moving photo: 150903120900-restricted-01-migrant-crisis-medium-plus-169

                                     We have no idea. This life isn’t ours.

And yet, in spite of me trying to be continually aware and thankful for all I have, I was recently slapped in the face with the reminder of how much I take for granted.

Our sixteen year old son, Jack, has been having stomach issues. Since he’s still a “child” (all six feet, 195 pounds of him), there was no gastroenterologist in Yakima who would see him, so at our regular physicians request, we took him to Children’s Hospital in Seattle.

We drove over Monday. The closer we got to the hospital, the more “wound up” I became. Perhaps his sensitive stomach was really Crohn’s or IBS? How will this affect his life? By the time we parked and entered the facility, I was nauseous with nerves.

But then, as we waited in the cafeteria, I watched a mother and her less-than-two-year-old son, and got a new perspective. From what I surmised, the mother was accompanied by her mother, and the three of them were meeting with the boy’s dad, who did not live with them.

The child had the wispy hair of the recently chemoed. A small NG tube was taped to his cheek and disappeared into his nose, though it didn’t seem to bother him at all. He climbed on and off of his mother, while she snuggled and petted him and talked to the man. I could hear bits and pieces of what she was saying.

“So, if we do chemo again, we’ll try something different,” floated to my ear, and then she took another bite of her sandwich while the boy watched.

“Nom, nom?” he questioned, eyeing the food.

“Mmmhmm. Nom nom,” Mom agreed.

I had to look away as tears threatened and I realized that for her, sitting in Children’s Hospital, discussing her baby’s chemo while eating a sandwich, was this woman’s normal world. She wasn’t wound up about having to take her child there; it was probably routine. This was her life.

           *                          *                          *                       *                   *

Over the next couple hours we sat in different waiting rooms and I saw other parents, some in situations similar to the one I saw in the cafeteria. Sick babies. Scary treatments. Every day.

And as I watched mothers gently stroking their babies or rubbing a cheek against a downy head, another thought formed in my head.
Some of these mommies know they have a limited amount of those touches and strokes.

Some of those mothers know that a cruel clock is ticking, and that they have to get as many caresses and kisses and inhales of their child’s scent that they can while there is still time.images
I am so fortunate.

It turns out Jack is alright and we have nothing too scary to worry about. He’s okay. And when I said my prayers that night, I was extremely aware and thankful for my healthy children and my blessed life. I prayed for all those parents and babies too, grateful my life is not one of theirs.

1964854_10203125413961876_2869837343778331532_nIf you hear me complaining about anything, slap me.



After a short time being unemployed and depressed, I have begun working as a data analyst. While working with numbers and precision are not my favorite things (narrative is so much more forgiving), I think I’m doing a fairly good job for a newbie, and I’m thankful my boss does quality control checks of me frequently (and gently).

Currently, I’m working with data on the homeless population. There are an awful lot of homeless out there who, a year ago, were making ends meet. Money was tight, but they had something to eat. The house might have been drafty, but it was dry, and once tucked in, the children were warm.

And then came a change. A layoff, a divorce. The loss of affordable child care that allowed a parent to work and get by. And relatively overnight, the ends stopped meeting, and they became homeless.

A month ago, I lost my job, but I never worried that my family would go hungry. I knew if someone in the house got sick, we would still go to the doctor. I stopped buying clothes for myself, but was never cold. I got a little depressed, but knew I would find work. I drank some wine, but each night I went to my king size bed, crawled under two comforters and a quilt, adjusted my three pillows, and snuggled up to my warm husband. Just like every night.

Lying there I say a prayer of thanks and gratitude that I have that bed, that my kids are all tucked in, warm and healthy, that truly, I NEED nothing. I’ve said this prayer for years, but after piecing together some of the stories hidden in the homeless surveys,  it’s has taken on a renewed life.

“There but for the grace of God, go I.”

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