Faith has lived across the street from us for not quite a year. She, her mom and her two tween sisters moved in just after the school year started. I think that’s when it was. Maybe it was just before the school year. I can’t remember. Apparently, her mom went through a divorce and I assume couldn’t afford to keep her previous home and so began renting one of the little wood frame, shotgun type houses that sit on my street.
We haven’t really met Faith’s mom although I’ve seen her on a handful of occasions getting groceries out of the car or heading off for work. Turns out those times I’ve seen her were rather miraculous because the woman works about 18 to 20 hours a day! YES… 18 to 20 hours per day. This happens about five days a week. On the other two days she may work one of those days for eight hours.
There is something fundamentally wrong with the policies and culture of a country that claims to be the best in the world, yet there are still people who have to work that many hours of a day to provide the barest of essentials for their family.
And that is the reason I have a ten-year old little girl in my house.
Faith knows The Deistette from the bus stop. So a couple of weeks ago, with her mom gone for what would be 18 hours again, she felt comfortable asking The Deistette if she could come over to our house and hang out because she was getting kinda weirded out being at home by herself. Of course Emmie wasn’t going to turn her away and figured what’s one more kid. So Faith has been coming over about 9:00 am every morning and going back home about 9:30 or 10:00 at night. Yes… the kid’s at my house for 12 hours. 😐
So that first afternoon Emmie took her running around to take care of some errands and decided to treat our boys and Faith to some hot pretzels and Slurpees. I should mention the kid is pretty damn skinny. She’s about five feet tall and weighs maybe 85 pounds. Lean. Sinewy. And a bottomless pit. She ate like she hadn’t eaten in days, The Deistette told me in a text message.
I really want to get some of this off my chest (her situation that is) because I have quite a fondness for Faith already, partly because she has such a sweet disposition, is quick to help around the house, bubbly and bouncy, cute as all get out and partly because I’m missing my daughter so much now that she’s busy with her own life and I don’t see her much anymore. That’s not to say that Faith and Little Fawn are alike because they are not but having Faith here just reminds me a little of when my own daughter was 10 and here at my house.
Anyway, I’ve probably already said too much by disclosing that her mother has to work 18 hours a day and leaves her ten-year old daughter at home alone. I don’t know why she hasn’t reached out to us or anyone else on our street. Maybe she doesn’t want to impose. Maybe she’s too proud. Maybe she’s ashamed. I don’t know but it shouldn’t have to be that way. The wage disparity in this country shouldn’t be such that she has to work two jobs to support herself and three daughters and not have time to spend with them and raise them.
The Deistette has been able to text Faith’s mom to her to let her know Faith has spending the day in our house and keeping busy and over the past couple of weeks has kept in touch with her off and on to let her know Faith is ok. She texts her to let her know what Faith has been up to and at night when she’s at home and locked in safe. To say that Faith’s mom was relieved and grateful is an understatement.
So as you might imagine, Emmie has been hanging out with Faith a lot and has learned quite a bit about their situation and it’s pretty crappy. They are poor. Financially… poor. They have material things from their previous life but their towels, sheets, socks, undies, shoes… are worn and the girls are growing out of their clothes. Their situation is pretty damn crappy. But I guess that’s what happens in divorce sometimes. It happened with me when I was a kid and with Little Fawn when her mother and I divorced.
Emmie just asked me what I thought of Faith and I said, “she’s a good kid, I like her but I can only take her in small doses because… well because she’s a ten-year old little girl and there’s only so much bounciness i can take.” : )
She’s an unbelievably good kid. Really thoughtful. Always smiling. Seems to be trying to make the best of a bad situation. [sigh]
I have a ten-year old little girl in my house. : )