Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beautiful Struggle

La Lotta Bella.

That's Italian. I google shit in different languages for no reason. I just want to see how it sounds. I decided to try "beautiful struggle" today and that's what I got. I like it. That's what I think of my life, it's a beautiful struggle.

Indeed.

I wasn't fed with a silver spoon. My mother made some of my clothes herself when I was younger. She used to take me and my sister to the fabric store and show us catalogs, ask us what we liked and let us pick out our own fabric in whatever color we wanted. Did she do that for fun? No, she did it because at times she couldn't afford to buy clothes for us and she knew how to sew. Instead of us going without, she just made the best of it the best way she knew how. It was a struggle... but it was beautiful.

I've had my lights cut off plenty times and I'm not ashamed to admit it because I'm not the only one, and it's life. It all depends on how you look at a situation. One time I came home from work after picking my kids up from daycare and saw an orange slip stuck in my door. "Aw fuck. I know what that means." And sure enough, my electricity was disconnected. It was 2 days before pay day and I had about $2 to my name. My apartment at the time was all electric. It was summer, no air conditioning tonight. I pulled chicken out that morning, but I won't be cooking tonight. They need baths, but no hot water tonight. At first I sat on the couch and cried. Then I got up and went onto my patio and just looked up at the sky quietly, and calmed down.

Then I hear my daughter, "Mommy! The t.v. won't work!"

So I went inside.

"Yeah baby I know, it's not gonna work tonight."
"Is it broke?"
"No, the power is off."
"Oh. Why?"
"Well..."

Do I tell the truth or sugarcoat the situation? I tell the truth. Why? Because the more you know, the sooner, the better. I want my children to know real life.

"... it's off because Mommy has to pay for that and I wasn't able to. But don't worry, it's okay. you dont have to watch t.v. every day. You wanna color a picture for me?"

"Sure!" and she smiled and went to get her crayon box while I grabbed her some paper. Her brothers joined her at the coffee table, using what was left of daylight to draw pictures. And I looked through my kitchen figuring out what they could eat for dinner that didn't require electricity.

Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and potato chips was the best I could do. At first I was upset because I always make them a hot meal every night. But then I realized, they don't care. They just want to eat, period. And they love pb&j so as long as they get full I really don't care either. I just added an extra slice of bread to make it a "double decker" so they would be a little more filling. I lit some candles and put them in the middle of the table so they could see better.

"Whoa! Mommy that's a biiig sandwich!" they all said in one way or another.
"Ain't it?"
"You're the best." (my daughter, gotta love her!)

After they ate, I tested the water coming from the faucet to see if any hot water was lingering, and there was. I turned it off quick and brought them into the bathroom, following me and my candle down the hallway. I gave them all the world's fastest bird bath in the tub, they brushed their teeth and then got ready for bed.

We all slept on the livingroom floor on top of sleeping bags, with the patio door open (I lived on the 2nd level, thank goodness). And as we lay there I sang them lullabies, asked who could count the highest, tested my sons' alphabet skills, etc... until I realized I was keeping them up too late so I said it was time to pray.

"We pray for love, health, happiness, and success for our family and friends and we are grateful for this day. Amen." (I keep it simple, less is more).

After they fell asleep, I wasn't laying there crying, stressing about how I'm going to pay my bill the next day. I was staring at my babies with tears of joy rolling down my cheeks... because the struggle is beautiful.

4 comments:

Ava Dior said...

this just made me cry.
children are amazing.

i grew up poor as well, and when i say poor, i mean we lived in a tent at one point, taking food from churches and presents from churches for christmas.

i remember being in the welfare line, sleeping in my mom's car, and staying at different frieds houses.

but my mother never made me feel like i was going without. i didnt even realize that the way i was living was out of the ordinary. i had food, clothes, and went to school every day.

its good to know that our parents prepared us for rough times so that we may be able to handle it in our lives, lets just prepare them for the worst, and condition them for the greatest!!!

Chavela Bella said...

awwww! i love the last thing you said!!

"lets just prepare them for the worst, and condition them for the greatest!!!"

amen!

MISS BEE said...

everytime i read your post pertaining to your kids I always tear up. i loved this story it really put things in perspective. i saw the pic of ur kids on ur twitter pg their beautiful.

Bella said...

awwwww thank u so much!! :D