Wednesday, June 26
My mother made some bad decisions in her life. One of the biggest was choosing a boyfriend that was physically and verbally abusive. We had moved from Corpus Christi to San Antonio with him to make a fresh start. My mother brought us kids: my teenage self, two brothers and a little sister in tow. After about a month, we began to see a different side of this man. We avoided him at all costs; hiding in closets to avoid the constant yelling and fighting. Eventually, a big fight came and he was thrown out after the neighbors threatened to call the cops. My mother couldn’t maintain the rent on the apartment and sold most of our stuff to remain in San Antonio for a month. Then one night, he came back drunk and tried to force his way in. He promised to kill her for leaving him. The next morning, we all checked out of school; all of our things stuffed in the back of a beat up station wagon. We made the drive back to Corpus Christi but my mother had exhausted all the favors she had: no one would take us in. After a few nights of sleeping in the car, we ended up at the Salvation Army.
What I’ve learned is that children don’t always have choices. They are often left with the consequences of choice made for them. Thanks to the generosity of strangers who gave to the Salvation Army, my brothers and I had a hot meal, bus tokens to get to school and a bed to sleep in for four weeks. They also helped my mother find work and get temporary housing. More than that, they offered her counseling. I’ll never forget that kindness as long as I live.