Monday, April 10, 2017

Overwhelmed

I was/am a single parent.  I left my ex in December of 1998 after fleeing the house to a neighbor's and calling the police.  I didn't realize he had left red marks on my neck until the cops came that night.  They carted him off to jail, and I mobilized, calling my dad, who in turn called my brother and nephew and his wife.  We packed the house until 2am if I recall.  The next morning I appeared at the jail to see if they could keep him away from the house since he was getting out on a PR bond.  They gave us until noon; we pulled out the last load a few minutes before that, and my son and I moved in with my parents and rented a storage unit for virtually everything else.  The judge had said, "Don't take anything that belongs to him."  So, it was.  I did leave him some dishes and the living room furniture.  Oh, and when he got to the house, he called me and asked, "Where's my f---ing money?  You took my f--ing money!)  (He did side jobs he never told me about to fuel his beer and tobacoo.)  Yes, my niece-in-law found $200  as we were packing.

We lived with my parents for nearly 3 years.  During that time, I took on my first part-time job as a Partylite candle consultant, going into homes for home parties.  When I worked it, I did very well, but my introversion held me back.  Over the years, I began teaching after school, co-ordinating after school with my BFF, teaching summer school, and teaching extended learning when we were a year-round school system.  If it meant extra money, I did it.  See, my ex never paid child support save one six month period about 6 or 7 years ago when his wages were garnished.  I found out years ago that since I was not on welfare, the state would not go after him.  (Thanks, cheap Governor Mark Sanford, for not adding SC to the National Child Support Network.)

I was and am not afraid of work, though I prefer using my mind to do it.  Over the years my parents helped us some, but primarily it was left to me.  Many times I felt overwhelmed, drowning even.  There were many times when I used the credit cards to pay bills and repair bills.   Through it all, I had one whom I could always count on to pull me through:  God.  He always provided our needs.  

Today I felt overwhelmed with a repair bill whereby I know the company has inflated its labor charges to cover the part on my AC unit being under warranty.  $1788 for 4 hours of labor?  Really?  When I told the repairman that, all he could do was flash a sly smile and shrug; he doesn't make the charges.

So, I will get through this just as I have every other challenge that comes with being a single parent of a household.  I look at our two lives--mine and my ex's.  I survived cancer even after the tumor perforated the colon.  I am looking at retirement in 51 days, and I have 3 part-time jobs to supplement that (online mentoring, tutoring--which are separate jobs--and petsitting for one couple)   He, on the other hand, has prostate cancer, was homeless nearly two years ago (and who knows how many other times?), is on disability due to his back, and is an alcoholic.  He has been in pain since before I knew him (his back).  What do I have that he doesn't?  Jesus.  Jesus has been with me every step of the way.  Because of that, I may be downtrodden, but I am not defeated.