Today is the last day of 29 Stories of February. Starting tomorrow I will start 31 Stories of March, a project telling stories of motherhood. Please come back tomorrow and check it out here.
“I just got into my new place today.”
“How did that happen?”
“It was all my mom.”
Kevin was walking by with two bags of groceries for his new house. He had just moved in yesterday after a year of experiencing homelessness. Yesterday he cleaned everything down to the baseboards, and today he was going home with groceries.
His face was filled with happiness as he shared about getting his keys and looking forward to just staying home the next day and enjoying being in his home.
“I couldn’t have gotten out of homelessness if it wasn’t for my mom. I got a job working at a senate office building - you need to pass a background check for that, you’re around senators and congressmen - but I passed, and that’s all mom - nothing to do with me. I’ve thanked her several times, I thanked her today."
I asked how his mom had helped him keep his record clean. “I got my first car when I was sixteen. I cut grass in tobacco fields, and other jobs. It was a 67 Chevelle. I was going out to see my friends and my mom asked me when I was coming home. I said, twelve, one, I don’t know, mom, and she said, 11 o’clock. I knew right then that if I wasn’t home by 11:15 I was in trouble. Lots of times friends called after 12 o’clock, and my mom would tell them, ‘Kevin’s home in bed.’ I had sense enough to know not to do what they were doing, but you know, guilt by association.”
“As I got older I realized what she was saying. She always said, ‘you’re gonna thank me someday.’ That’s why I do what I do what I do now. I raised my two girls, I got a away from them for a while, but they’re back in my life now. I got grand-babies now.”
I asked him for his mother’s name and one thing he would share about her. He answered with pride and gratitude. “Josephine. I could never lie to her. She would ask me a question and I would say, ‘Mom, I know I can’t lie to you, I’m not even going to try that - in order for me not to tell a lie, I’m not gonna answer that. She always kept ice cream money on her nightstand, and I took it once when she wasn’t there. I got it for ice cream, but I got a beating for that. Even if it was for me, she wasn’t there to give it to me. I never stole anything ever again. That’s all my mom.”
I thanked him for speaking to me, I asked him why he had stopped by the park today.
“See that man there? His name is John, I was talking to him for a while - I continue to come out here, constantly. Sometimes a listening ear is better. A lot of guys, myself sometimes, just want to get it off our chest, something is pulling them down. They want and need somebody to listen, not give them a negative response. Just comfort them in whatever way you can, help them through it. One or two words, maybe not saying anything - they can feel that.”