Yesterday found me at the HEB clinic with Little Bit. HEB is a chain of grocery stores here in Texas and ours has a health clinic that takes walk-ins. Very good news for a family who is waiting a few months for husband's new health insurance to kick in.
There was a mom and little boy in front of us and she seemed very agitated with her little boy. He was so cute and had just turned four. We'll call him K. I learned a lot about this duo while waiting an hour and a half in the clinic with them.
Ms. Smith is divorced from K's dad. I know this because when he said, "I want down" she said, "Yeah, well I want your dad to send money." In fact, each time he said, "I want..." she came back with her own statement. I want a billion dollars. I want to take a shower and get to work. Actually, she needed to get to work. She was paying with her dad's debit card, which they wouldn't take. They asked her why she was using someone else's card and she told them, "Because mine doesn't have any money on it!" Duh clinic lady. She took the debit card to the ATM and got cash. They were having computer problems and she waited a really long time to be seen and then waited even longer for her prescription. K finally did get down and came over to talk to me and Little Bit.
I tried to keep both kids entertained because K's mom was just so stressed. I really felt for her. In between her bouts of snapping at him and getting angry, she really was trying to be a good mom. When a gentleman asked K about the pinwheel he was holding, she gently coached him to "look at the man when you answer him, K." I saw lots of moments of good mom coming out. But oh, the stressful moments took center stage. It was getting more and more uncomfortable to try to ignore.
Then the other clinic lady whispered to me "how do you contact CPS?" I understood that they might call because she was getting really close to a breaking point it seemed to me.
So why weren't any of us helping her? It was like a train wreck. You just stood there, not believing what you were seeing or hearing. The lady ended up not calling right then. She told me she decided the woman was just having a really bad day. We both agreed what she really needed was help. (and she hadn't hurt K at all, she was just getting really angry)
From what I gleaned, she works 7 days a week so I'm sure K is either in day care or at his grandparent's house. She gets no child support. She was up all night with a sick little boy who then felt good enough to run around the clinic while she faced losing money by being late to work. She hadn't showered and probably hadn't eaten anything either.
She kept saying, "Why can't you sit still like that little girl?" Oh how I wanted to tell her that Little Bit used to be a holy terror. It was only through concentrated training that she is now like she is. But then I thought, no...it's more than that. I have a husband who comes home at the end of the day and supports any discipline that has taken place. He participates in the training with me. We do not disagree in front of the kids. I am also home with Little Bit and able to work with her little bits at a time instead of in bursts of 2-3 hours after work/daycare is over. And also, we know the love of God.
Which is really the main thing that Ms. Smith needs. If you think about it, will you pray for her too? She was nearly in tears by the time they left. She said bye to me as she was walking out holding K. You know, you kind of bond with someone after 1 1/2 hours in the same waiting room! I squeezed her arm and smiled as I told her bye. I should have done so much more. Which is why I'm praying now.
And as much as my heart hurts for this stranger I've met once...as much as I want her to find joy and peace...God wants that even more. I cannot imagine how He waits for us.