Righting the Wrong of Poverty Sometimes Begins With Yourself
by Frances Stone – Ms. Recovery Writes
It was 2011 and my three children, Austin, Aidan, Maya, and I were having a dinner of bread and butter, watered down milk and something resembling pasta from out of a can. We were sitting, as we did every night, around our small, broken, hand-me-down kitchen table, in our small, broken, hand-me-down, subsidized home.
I was grateful for the generosity of family and friends that gave us their used furniture, hand-me-down clothes and bought my children the things I couldn’t afford like shoes and jackets. Without them, we would be homeless and have nothing. Of that, I was acutely aware and utterly ashamed.
“Can we have some more, Mom?” they asked.
“No, there isn’t any more.” I replied firmly, looking away as my eyes watered and stomach tightened because I was hungry too.
There wasn’t anymore of anything. No more hours at work. No more daycare. No more things I could sell. No more people I could ask to help. No more choices. No more options. No more money.
There was no more.
I was their mother, it was my job to protect them, my job to provide for them and they were depending on me. I got up from the table. I had to do something. I had to fix this. But, how? What could I do?
Every time I tried to fix things, they fell more apart. I thought I was fixing things by going back to their father, promptly having two more children eleven months apart. It wasn’t better, it was hopeless and one thing I have discovered I cannot live without, is hope. I hated myself for going back, but loved the gift of my children with all my heart. They were so beautiful, loving, innocent, full of gratitude and joy with having so little in life. They inspired me although I always thought it would be the other way around.
I loved them, I just hated our life.
I hated being poor. I grew up poor and I promised myself that things would be different for me because I would work hard for it to be different. What I’ve come to learn is, its not always obvious what one should work hard at; its more a process of timing, lessons and elimination. Holding on and letting go, with as much dignity as you can muster, while never letting go of the hope, that things will get better and everything has a purpose, are the actions that build a life.
Today, in 2015, this moment at my kitchen table with my children has inspired and lead me to become a Co-Founder of The Single Mothers Alliance of BC, to advocate for community, empowerment and changes to government policy for single mothers, as one out of two single parents and their children are currently experiencing this level of hunger and poverty.
We can do better for our children and so we should.
All my Relations - Frances Stone, Ms. Recovery Writes
Frances Stone is the Author of A Reflection of Love ~ A Different Kind of Love Story, a Recovery Counsellor and a Radio Co-Host of Talk Recovery Vancouver, a show about addiction and recovery issues, located in the DTES of Vancouver, BC. In her spare time, she does laundry and mothers three clever, curious and challenging little humans.