About a month ago I wrote a letter to Ellen (never sent it, but indeed I did write it....although later I did go to her website and send an email for Ellen to change our lives), grasping for straws mainly. I wrote our story, in letter form. Here is a portion of the letter....
At 16 I became a mama to a beautiful little girl. My life obviously changed. I was a mom and 16. I wasn't the typical teen mom. I didn't go out. I didn't party. I didn't regret 'losing' my childhood. I was just a mom. I didn't care about all of that. I didn't graduate from high school, not because of being a teen mom, but because I didn't take school seriously. I was so far behind that being a mom didn't make things any easier, but that was NOT the reason I didn't graduate. I got a part time job at a local fast food restaurant. I moved out when I was 18, with her dad, who later became my husband, only after we had 2 more kids in the next 2 yrs. He had a great job (for an uneducated person) at a local foundry. I still worked at the fast food restaurant. We worked opposite shifts, and things were fine. He worked there for 9 yrs before he was let go. That started what has been a bumpy ride. Before, he had his job, I worked mine when he wasn't working, or I wasn't having 2 more children, but we were doing good. We lived a middle class life, and had hopes of him moving up in the company. We had what we needed, enjoyed park days, preschool, extra curricular sports.....the norm.
In 2006, we found ourselves living with my parents during the summer. He got a job at a local school district as a custodian. Pay wasn't what we were used to or could live on so I got a job at a local retail photography studio. Within a couple months I was promoted to management, he had also gotten a raise. We were starting to do good again. We were both working nights. We did it for as long as we could, but it didn't take long to realize it wasn't doable. We both worked nights, there was no consistency, our kids needed a parent home in the evenings. I quit my job, started babysitting to help make ends meet. Something interesting happens when kids get older, they get more expensive. Not only did they get more expensive, the economy was starting to take its toll and everything started to double in price.
We decided I needed to go back to work, and I went back to the same place, in management again. We tried to make it work, I worked part time, but it did include a couple nights/wk. Again, we knew after the school year ended, I'd have to quit. Luckily, right around the same time my husband got a great promotion with the school district. I went back to babysitting. We got pregnant with TWINS.
Things started to look up for us. We were gonna buy a house. We needed to work on some credit issues and so we did a rent to own. But, THE weekend we moved in my husband was let go from his job, yet again. Life got real hard, real quickly. He/we could not find employment anywhere. We've been homeless 11 months. At first we lived with my in-laws, all 9 of us. *gasp* And now we live in a type of transitional housing. It is more of a drug and alcohol rehab ministry. My uncle is the director and he opened up a 2 bed/1ba apartment for us. We are an hour away from our family, from friends, from our church and our schools.....life as we knew it. This has by far been the hardest 19 months in our lives. My husband did get a job in March '12 with a great company. It is an entry level position, and a place to start, but it definitely cannot take care of our family. And it is a very long commute. My husband stays with my parents (bless them) during the week to cut on commuting costs. Our goal is to move back to our hometown this summer. This housing, while it is a God-send, isn't ideal for a family, let alone a large family. It is also temporary. We really need to be near family. Mr Wonderful is looking for a second job, working all the over time he can, and I am selling on eBay.
It has seemed like every time things start to look up, something happens. I am sure we will eventually turn things around. But our kids aren't getting any younger. They deserve to have their needs and desires met. Our sweet babies know what it is like to be less fortunate and yet they always recognize they are blessed compared to so many children.
In a nutshell, we realize decisions that we made, got us to where we are, but they weren't intentional. We never thought..."I want to be homeless" or "I want to not be able to buy our kids what they need, let alone want."
I will spare the portions of me ruthlessly begging for help because my kids, not us, deserve it. And whether we get help or not, we KNOW we both have to work our butts off to make this happen, to get back on our feet, and to soar....because like I said, there is just no other option at this point!!!