A Brave Mother
Posted by Radha Ivaturi on May 14, 2015
I was hopping between several Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee shops and collecting their used coffee grounds to add to my vegetable beds. I was walking back to my car after collecting the coffee grounds, when I noticed a young woman perhaps in her late 20’s holding up sign for help. Besides her was a stroller where her one and half year old son was sitting. She was neatly dressed and spoke good English.
I offered her some money that I had. Gaining inspiration from Bradley I stopped to have conversation with her. Taking the money she instantly shared her gratitude and how this meant a lot to her family. She kept saying, “God bless you and your family”.
Then she asked, ”Are you a Muslim?” I said, ”No.”
“I am. I will pray for you. “ I smiled and thanked her.
I asked her how she found herself in this situation. She said, “I do not have papers. It is very difficult to get work without papers. I usually clean houses but did not have any this week. My husband is looking for job and we have to pay rent and we do not have money.”
There was a sense of urgency in her voice. She had another 3 years old child at home that she had to support.
“Do you have kids?” She asked. I said, “Yes. Three “
“ I need clothes for my kids. Can you spare some old clothes?” Her concern for the safety and wellbeing of her kids resonated strongly with me.
Before leaving I gave her a hug and she planted a kiss on my cheek.
I noticed many people stopped their car and offered her fruits, food and money.
I drove back home. Sorted through some old clothes and picked up some organic bars and nutritional shakes that did not need refrigeration and went back to the place where she was.
Seeing me approach her she exclaimed, “You came back! Thank you and God bless you and your family. I will pray for you”
She looked straight into my eyes and shaking my hand she said, “ I will remember you and keep you in my prayers”
I asked, “Did you eat today “ It was about 2 pm.
Instantly she turned away and bent her head avoiding eye contact said, “ I don’t need anything, I am ok. As long as my kids are taken care of, I am ok”
When I repeated the question she admitted she didn’t have anything to eat. I offered to take her to nearby place and buy her food. She declined saying,” If I move away from here, I will loose my help”
When I offered to bring food to her she asked for a croissant and cappuccino. I brought her those and wished her well. As we parted ways she shook my hand saying “God Bless you”
“God bless you too” I said, thinking the she needed more blessings than me. I kind of felt guilty even accepting her blessings.
Immediately I reflected, why do I think she needed more blessings than me? Just because she is in a financially difficult situation? Who knows what she is blessed with? And what she has to offer to the world?
I then wholeheartedly accepted her prayers and blessings.
On my drive back home I was reflecting on this encounter. What struck me was this- she was fearless, purposeful and had no hesitation asking for her kids. When it came to herself, she shied away, her self-respect coming to the fore. She reminded me of so many mothers in the world, where war, hatred, poverty has decimated the structure of family. So many mothers and fathers fighting every moment to provide for their children. I sent a silent prayer for them and thanked God for the opportunity to serve this mother in a very small way.
I realized later that I did not ask her name. For now she will remain in my heart as the “little brave mother.”