When I was five, my mom took me on a trip to the ocean. But it was no ordinary trip because we were not there to enjoy the beautiful beach and swim in the ocean.
She Was Hitting The Reset Button After A Life Of Bad Decisions
She had nothing to her name, and I had no toys. According to her, we were empty-handed so that we could receive new blessings.
With no job and no money, we seriously needed them.
She had drunk everything we had, and the ocean, she hoped, would wash away her tears and loosen the hold life's problems had on her.
If there's something my mom loves, it's the ocean.
I've never seen her more alive than when she is close to this mysterious body of water. She has a strong spiritual and mystical belief in it. Its wonder is an intrigue to her, and she thinks it can listen, see, know, and feel.
She thinks the ocean is a god. Her god.
And she would always say, "When you look at the ocean, remember there's always something bigger than you. Respect her."
We found a place, the sixth by my count.
There wasn't much fanfare about the achievement. It was small, and she paid rent and enrolled me in a kindergarten close by.
Our New Lives Began
School sucked, mostly because I was thinking of how I could be making money instead. "I could get a paper route," I told my mom.
We had a bag of potatoes when we moved in, but it was quickly running out. She was getting desperate, and she called dad begging for $75 in child support.
She desperately needed a job.
A job at the bar was not a welcome option for a recovering alcoholic, and the car was now broken down. So, no jobs requiring much commuting.
Two Weeks Into The New Life, We Still Had No Money. None At All
The child support check had not come. Things were getting really desperate.
While looking over to a garden with neglected cabbages, she said: "If I were a thief, I would go over there and steal those rotten cabbages for you. But I am not a thief."
Then she walked out, and I followed her. She knocked on the door of one of the larger cottages in the neighborhood and an old couple answered.
I was salivating at the smell coming from the kitchen. The table was set, and they were about to sit down to eat.
My mother mentioned I was her daughter, we had nothing to eat, and that she would really appreciate it if they could offer me something. She did not care about herself.
The old lady took everything on the table and handed it to my mom. She did not say a thing.
As fate would have it, the couple also had friends who owned one restaurant nearby. She had tried unsuccessfully to get hired. But the couple talked to owners, and she was hired.
The couple, Anita and Van, took care of me while she was working.
We Felt We Owed Our Lives To This Couple
But there was never a moment I felt that the two lovely souls knew this. They did not understand they had changed my life forever.
To them, they were just feeding us. But they gave us their best, and that goes much deeper than anyone can imagine. By doing that, you make someone feel so worthy and deserving.
30 Years Later
I have kids now, and my daughter is really excited about a food drive at their school. She feels a strong urge to serve in the community, which is why she dreams of being a police officer or an astronaut to keep the planet safe from asteroids.
She was a sucker for anything touching on the human condition, and we couldn't let her watch the news anymore. It was an emotional and tearful affair for her.
She was really ecstatic about the food drive, but I noticed something. She wanted to give away what she didn't like.
That's Not What Anita And Van Taught Me
I told her Anita would give me the best she had.
And so I told her unless it's good enough for you, it can't be good enough for someone else. You are not just feeding the belly by giving someone your best, but also their soul. That makes a huge difference.