Thursday, October 17, 2013

What if it was YOUR son?

imagesphoto from wikipedia

You know…some days I give myself pats on the back because I have raised my children to (pseudo) adulthood. 
Then I remember…I’m not done yet.  They still call me when there are problems, particularly problems in their love lives.  At this point, all I can do is tell them how wonderful they are and those other people just don’t understand what losers they are by not appreciating my wonderful children.  (In reality, I want to yell “DON'T BE SILLY!  YOU ARE YOUNG!  GO HAVE FUN!  DON”T GET MARRIED AT 23 LIKE I DID!”  Then I remember that I love my sweet DL and I don’t want my children to think otherwise. So I don’t say anything, just reassure them that they are wonderful people and that their current significant others are being foolish.)
But that’s my children.  There are other young adults whose parents are not so “helpful.” 


There is a young man in my town whom I see several times a week.  Some days he sits with his beautiful and well-mannered American Bulldog in the median of my Whole Foods shopping center, other days he’s at the Riverbirch intersection. He is clean-shaven, clean-cut, and his clothes are in good condition.  His canine friend is adorned with a colorful kerchief. One of his signs is in the grass (“What if it was you?”) and the other he holds in his hand (“Please help if you can.  My dog and I are hungry. God Bless.”)  Normally, I drive by with a cursory glance and perhaps a nod.  But yesterday, I stopped.
And as I pressed $3 into his hand…all I had in my cupholder at the time…I spoke.
And the words I spoke, without even thinking, were “How old are you, son?”
“Twenty-four, ma’am. God Bless you.”

Twenty-four.  Between my son and my daughter.  Begging for money to feed himself and his dog.
And my thought was, “where is his mama?”  And my next thought was, “maybe he doesn’t have one.”
Not having a mama can mean a lot of different things.  It can mean that she is gone.  It can mean she is emotionally absent.  It can mean that she is an addict.  It can mean she just doesn’t care about her child any more.
My heart went out to this young man, like my heart goes out to my students, and I wanted to get out of my car and give him (along with his beautiful dog) a hug.  But the intersection was busy, and my $3 and a piece of my heart were all I could manage.

My readers are great moms.  Here are some words of encouragement to all of you: Keep fighting the good fight.  Keep caring.  Keep loving.  Keep going.  Give your kids every tool they need to help themselves when you are not available any more.   Do everything in your power to ensure they don’t end up like the boy and his dog.  And if you pass a boy and his dog, speak to him the way you would speak to your own child.

And maybe press $3 into his hand.

25 comments:

Laura @ Top This Top That said...

ah Kirby. Thanks for sharing your heart and your compassion this morning. what a wonderful post. Love it!

NanaDiana said...

Now you have gone and done it. It is only 5:30 and I am a blubbering fool. God bless YOU and that boy and his dog- xo Diana

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

such a good reminder, kirby.

laura@imnotatrophywife.com said...

Kirby- Something tells me you will find out more about this young man... start digging. Thank you for such a wonderful reminder. laura

Mel@Mellywood's Mansion said...

That's so sad poor kid. My son (15) told me today about a kid in his class being kicked out of home for getting into trouble over the spring break. I just don't understand how parents can do that too their children

Cheryl in Wisconsin said...

This is a powerful post, Kirby.

LittleMyoo said...

I've always been the one to pass those people by with a glance. A few months ago there was a gentleman in the median at the stoplight I was pulling up to. I gave him some money. I think it was the first time in my life I had ever done that. Such a small thing for me, but it may have kept him from going hungry that day.

-andi

Tina@WhatWeKeep said...

I always smile at them and try to acknowledge them as a human being. I give money to some of them and I can't really explain why I choose one and not the other except for that it's a feeling I get when I look into their eyes. You acknowledged him that day, Kirby. You may have given him a gift much more powerful than the money. Glad you were there for him and his dog. <3

Art and Sand said...

Boy, do I love it when you make me think.

Our dearest friends had a son who got heavily involved with drugs, ran away from home and was living on the streets of a big city. At 23, he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and was stabbed to death outside a bar for a few measly dollars. What made me so sad was reading the news article. It simply stated, "homeless man", but Austin had parents who adored him and wanted to help him, but had no idea where he was. He had sisters who missed him terribly. He had a loving church community who prayed for him.

Thank you for bringing Austin's plight to the my mind and making me think about people more kindly as I pass them on the street. I imagine that like Austin, the young man you helped has family somewhere wishing he was with them.

Heather said...

Great post, Kirby! Thanks for being an awesome person!

Dharma said...

Mel (and Kirbs) - I am part-time housing a young man that is my sons' brother from another mother...he has called me Mom2 since he was 9, he and my oldest graduate highschool this year. There is room in your life if there is room in your heart.

Dharma said...

This just resonated with me! My ex-BIL's brother was an addict. He lost everything to crack. Wife, 2 beautiful daughters and eventually his life becoming a murder victim. The papers called him a "homeless man" too and I think that hurt us all the worst. Mike was loved. Worried for and over, he was the most gorgeous young man with a winning grin and a zest for life that was boundless. His fate reminds me everyday of how what choices I make in my life affect my kids and effect my outcomes. I am blessed. Mostly with love. I look forward to seeing him again someday as loving and amazing as I knew he was.

Andrea said...

I didn't see the tissue warning...I hope he starts to recognize your smiling face and knows someone cares.

Amy of While Wearing Heels said...

What a beautiful, inspiring and touching post. I love the positive message you are putting out there, the suggestion that we should all remember to show kindness to each other.

Tuula McPhee said...

We don't see many homeless people here in small town Ontario, but this post really reminded me that a simple act of kindness can mean everything to someone... and that's priceless.

Linda @ it all started with paint said...

Thank you for that reminder. Because sometimes (hold head in shame) I become cynical. And forget. And don't press those singles in the hand ...

I will amend my ways. And ask. And listen. And press ...

PamLuvsPink said...

Hi Kirby!!!

Thank you for bringing this young man and his dog's life to your fans (US!!)!! At times I see these young people and wonder what made them "Homeless." We haven't lived in their shoes, but, if we did, we might be mortified at what put them on the streets.

Our local little newspaper did a series of articles called, "Tent city." This is where the homeless were living. They made tents out of anything they could drag to that spot and called it, "Home." Ones that were highlighted ranged from a man who lost his job, marriage and then his home to a teen whose step father started to beat him at 12 yrs old. And then there's the young girls who would rather sleep under a bridge instead of being raped by someone in their homes.

We've taught our boys never to judge. We don't know what's put them on the streets. I remember not having a dime on me, but, I had food and bottled water one day when a homeless person asked if I had any money. I gave him the food and water and he was very thankful. We have to understand and help when we can.

This isn't about me, but, as you said, "This could be my son."

Thank you!!! Have a great weekend!!!

Pam

Danni SiloHillFarm said...

Hmmm this post is quite powerful and gives a person much to think about on both sides of the coin. Compassion is always a good thing. Always.

Suzan Sweatman said...

Beautiful post Kirby - and I never walk by a child without leaving money in his hand or tin cup or box - never -
I can't do it - and I always think of my children as I leave the money.
There but for the Grace of God is such an apt expression sometimes.......
I can't stand that society has become so cold that people walk by without seeing a hungry person in their midst.
Much love,

laura@imnotatrophywife.com said...

Hey, just a thought after a coffee fueled morning... could I add this as a "guest post" with an introduction to you. This post resonated with me and would love to share with my 9 bloglovin followers :0) let me know. it's friday!

Bliss said...

Well it's also possible his mama doesn't know.

fiona anderson said...

I'm glad you passed him that day, I hope others were generous. I can't bear the thought that he hasn't enough food for himself, let alone his dog.

Gypsy Heart said...

Bless you! And God bless him and his dog.

xo
Pat

karen@somewhatquirky said...

Kirby - I think this is your niche.

Collar City Brownstone said...

What a great post Kirby. This coming December 28th will make one year since I lost my job. I have not been unable to get another one simply because I do not have my 4 year degree. I kept losing out on jobs because other candidates had degrees. I had the experience though. Twenty-six years in payroll administrator counts for nothing these days without a degree. So I enrolled in University. I had the college credits that I earned when I first attended many years ago transferred to the new University. Next year I will finally have my Bachelor of Science degree in Cultural Studies. In the meantime, my mortgage and utilities still has to be paid. Since I am a full-time college student my unemployment insurance was extended to June of 2014. My Mom pays my car payment for me every month and she insists on buying me lots and lots of groceries when she visits me once a month. If it was not for my Mom I would be up craps creek. I have cut back on spending big time and make the best of every situation.

My heart goes out to that young man and his dog. I wonder now where is his Mama and Papa. Does he have any siblings? What is his story? Why can he not turn to family?

I plan to rise way above my situation. I will be continuing on to graduate school and eventually earning my PhD. I have to actually be thankful for getting laid off because I probably never would have returned to school. It is one of the best things I could have done for myself and I LOVE my second time around in college.

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