Coasting Through Life
Journal: The girl with the baby
Fridays have always been a busy work day for me. Today was no different. My day started with my usual early morning wake up. My wife had wanted me to take her and our son to her parent's house when I left for work. Her father had been complaining of chest pains and not being able to get enough air. The day before yesterday, I had wanted to take him to the hospital, but he refused. He wanted to go to the regular doctor. I understand his unwillingness to want to go to the hospital. Last time he was there, he complained of chest pains and ended up having a heart attack and a stroke. He was probably worried that if he went to the hospital he'd have to stay. Needless to say, both my wife and son were too tired to leave with me in the morning. The little boy had stayed up late last night. His rhythm is off.
Upon arriving at work, I emptied the staff kitchen's dishwasher, made myself a cup of coffee, then prepared a revision quiz game for the 8th graders. I teach multiple grade levels and on Friday's I teach every class period. Furthermore, I had recess duty today. The rest of the day went by in a blur and ending with a shortened last period because the mayor came to do one of those golden shovel ceremonies where they are planning on building the new school.
After work I headed directly to the in-laws house to pick up the family. My wife had informed me that she took her dad to the doctor today and that he had water in his lungs and heart and would have to take some medicine to get rid of it as well as limit his water intake. I made arrangements with my wife so that I could go and watch a movie while she watched the baby. I had done the same for her two days prior so that she could go hang out with friends for a few hours. It's hard to get a babysitter. Needless to say, after changing my son, playing with him for a little bit and walking the dog, I headed out to the movie theater to watch the pokemon movie. Before you ask, no I'm not really a fan, but the trailer seemed interesting and it was the only thing playing at a decent hour. The movie actually was pretty good and I had to laugh at some of the hidden references that only adults would understand. After the movie however, I realized that I didn't have any cash on me, only my card and I couldn't get my car out of the parking garage. I had to walk about 3 blocks to the ATM to get some cash. On my way there I saw the girl and the baby.
I had barely seen her sitting under a tree on the sidewalk with a baby carriage beside her, a baby within. At first glance I thought she was just resting there and only as I fully passed, did I realize she was holding out a cup.... begging for spare change. This certainly tugged at my heart strings. In the city where I live, it's not an uncommon sight to see a half dozen beggars within a 4 block radius. It is very uncommon to see women beggars and one with a baby is nearly unheard of. I think that the last time I saw a woman with a baby begging was nearly 5 years ago when I was in France. Needless to say, when I drew out the money from the ATM, I took out an extra 20. As I returned upon the route toward my car, I pulled out my phone and opened my photos to one of me and my son.
As I approached closer to her, I realized how young she was. This girl was easily in her teens. She was clean but wearing very simple clothes and the baby was sleeping in the carriage and seemed in good health. I asked her what her name was. She took a long moment to respond. I don't think it was because she didn't want to give it. I just think that she didn't understand the language very well. Once she gave me her name, I told her my own and showed her a picture of my son. She smiled then looked to her baby and told me his name. I gave her the 20 and said it was for him. I left her with a smile but was nearly in tears as I arrived at my car.
I didn't know what her situation was. In the country where I live, there is a good social system for people in need. Some people don't like to give to the homeless because of this, but some people are too proud to ask for real help and some just fall between the cracks of the social welfare system. Some people are just out panhandling for money and others work for the mafia; willingly or not. Is it possible that this woman was a gypsy panhandler, someone just trying to make an easy buck by tugging at heart strings... perhaps... but regardless, if she is doing this and has her baby with her... obviously her situation could be improved. I don't know if the money I gave her went to her son or not... I doubt it went to support some drug addition... she looked healthy. I don't know if... you know... I just don't know. I can only hope and pray that my small donation helps her and the baby in some way.
I drove back to the in-laws house to find only my wife and son there. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law took my father-in-law to the hospital because he felt weaker and asked to go. My wife and I quickly got the baby ready, walked the dog, then gathered together my father-in-law's clothes and things because he was probably going to spend a night or two at the hospital. We dropped the stuff off and came home. My wife or I will likely take a shift of watching over him at the hospital tomorrow. For now, I'm just back at the house. I got my son's birthday gifts ready and sat down to write this before bed. I just want to say that all of you out there... we are all people who need a little help, a little love sometimes... be good to one another.