She caught my eye before she even walked in the door. In jeans and a t-shirt, she was naturally beautiful...her face void of make-up, and her hair pulled into a tight ponytail. I knew I hadn't seen her the last time I was there. I wondered if she was there to work or to receive assistance. It only took seconds from the time she walked through the door for me to know she was at the ministry house for help. I watched her sign in, then sit and fill out forms. She was quiet and unassuming, but exuded confidence. I needed to know more about her. When she finished her paperwork, I walked over and sat down next to her.
Is this your first time here?
Do you have children?
What are their ages?
Are you a single mom?
I pursued the conversation and found out that sitting next to me was an amazing woman. This single mom had formerly served in the military. She's served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Korea. She's moved every year for the past ten years. Most recently, she moved here from another state after finding a job online. She mentioned that one of her children is having a hard time adjusting to this latest move.
She works fifty hours per work and is attending school full-time to earn a degree. She has only one family member close by to help her with childcare. Most Saturday nights, she doesn't get home from work until 3 a.m. Then on Sunday mornings, she gets up to carry her children to church. She said, "The kids love (church). They drag me out of bed to go. They love Sunday School."
She's not sure what the near future holds. Her family member who helps with her children will be leaving after the summer. She stated, matter-of-factly, that if she couldn't find affordable night care, she'd have to quit her job.
Just as quickly as we'd begun our conversation, it ended when I was called to help in another room. I realized later that I'd forgotten to ask her name. But I won't soon forget her:
This single mom.
This woman who risked her to life to protect her fellow Americans.
This woman who is now sacrificing to make a better life for her children.
This woman who must be exhausted from trying to figure out ways to make ends meet.
This mom who must be weary of trying to find creative ways to spend what limited free time she has with her children.
I admire her. And I told her so.