There is nothing like a mother’s love…
I may be strange, well, on second thought, I am definitely strange, but one of my favorite things in the world to do is to make people’s days. In some strange way when I do, it makes my day as well.
On the flip side of that, one of my most unfavorite feelings is the feeling of knowing someone is hurting and you can do nothing to comfort that hurt. This is what happened to me last week when I ventured down to CIW Prison to meet with the moms who are slated to participate in our program this Friday. When I walked into the room and asked if anyone had any questions about their families, a line of about 50 women wrapped around the small make shift “chapel” that most would consider a trailer.
Having a mom who is and always has been concerned about my wellbeing and my sister’s, I knew that none of the conversations I was about to have would be brief. This, coupled with knowing that no one inside the prison communicates to the women about the program, I looked at the clock and I wanted to panic. I only had an hour and a half to adequately address all the questions the women had for me.
When I go into the prison to meet with the parents, I automatically get into a very focused zone much like right before a race. I know that I am only there for a limited amount of time and I must accomplish what I need to do because if I don’t, there are no second chances. It is not like I am able to extend the amount of time I am there or come back to meet with those women who I missed the next day. It is either do or die.
As I sat down one-on-one with each of the women, I looked at the eyes of each of the others still waiting in line. I kinda felt like a postal clerk the last day to mail packages before a holiday and the post office was about to close. I was the keeper of all the knowledge that they so desperately needed and they didn’t want to wait any longer. I tried to go as fast as I could with still being able to answer everyone’s questions. My head was starting to pound as people were throwing problem after problem at me and I felt very inadequate because I didn’t have all the answers.
Then as I was almost at the end of the line, a woman named Tina* sat down next to me. Tina* reminded me a lot of my own mom. She was beautiful and very youthful looking even though she had a daughter who was just about my age. She also had her hair and make up done perfectly because she wanted to make a good impression with me so she said!
As she sat down before she started talking, she was brought to tears. She apologized and told me that she tends to get a little emotional whenever she talks about her daughter. She told me that because of a fluke her daughter, who was once a regular visitor, hasn’t been able to see her for quite a while. She said that her daughter was the only person that keeps her going. She pleaded with me telling me that her daughter has never been in trouble in her life and her visiting denial was a big mistake. She pleaded with me to call her and try to get the clearance straightened out with the prison. At this point, I was in for the long haul. I was going to do whatever I could to get this girl approved.
When I called her daughter Anna* the next day, she was very appreciative and she had already been working on getting her clearance issue resolved. I gave some more direct contacts and channels so that she could work to straighten everything out. I then had to let it go. I learned from working with this particular population that you can plant the seeds but the people have to make the plant grow. It is not by choice that it works this way, it is just that there are too many other seeds that you must sow!
To my sheer delight, I got an e-mail from the prison saying that Anna* is all set and that she is able to participate this Friday. When I called Anna* to let her know, she was elated and she sounded like a person who called into the radio and won a prize. I then told her how happy I was that this was straightened out and how much I know this would mean to her mother. I told her how lovely of a person Tina* was and she started to cry. She said that no one has ever her told her that her mother was a lovely person. She said that she was excited about the trip, but she was more excited that someone else besides her was able to see her mother for who she really is.