As for us we live a very middle classed lifestyle, in a well established home. I have lived in the small town of Bacchus Marsh for 10 years now, have been baptized and married here. My children were both born at the local hospital and have lived a good routine and structured lifestyle in the house they were born into. I'm not saying it's been easy raising my kids or that they have never been exposed to drama but for the most part I have sheltered them from the negativity, drugs and alcohol my life was full of before I became a mother.
With all this being said, today a verse (from the bible) I read a few years ago was revealed to me without me even realizing it. The verse is Matthew 18:3
Then he said to them, "I can guarantee this truth: Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Today I can officially say that I realize what this passage means.
Today my kids and I were invited into the city to be a part of a music video. We went and had a great time. Afterwards I was looking forward to taking the kids somewhere nice for dinner. While deciding on a nice restaurant the kids bought up my Mum whom they know lives in the city. Both of my kids know she is homeless and all of the above but yet my kids absolutely love their grandmother and really wanted to have dinner with her. Me. Not so much. But I gave in to the idea and tried calling her phone. It was off but the kids insisted that we check to see if she was at the "water wall" where each night a community kitchen is put together to feed the homeless. So I said we could check but I doubted she'd be there.
Lets back up a minute. My kids know my mother (their grandmother) is homeless. They are okay with that. They also know where she eats. At the "water wall" where they feed the homeless. And that's where they wanted to have dinner? Wow. How's that for unconditional love and acceptance.
Walking towards the water wall none of us really expected that she'd be there but to all of our amazement she was.. She was there and the kids ran up to be embraced warmly by her. She was in tears as she picked them up off the ground to hold them before running over to me to hold me so tight. For her this would have been the highlight of her whole month.
Mum wasn't sober, but she was not drunk. Her breath smelt of wine but I think I'm the only one that picked it up. The organizers there had put on a BBQ tonight and Jie was the first one to put up his hand for an egg roll. Mum fried it up and Jie loved the fuss she made about her grandsons egg being made the best so she took over from the cooks. Jie stood there waiting feeling very important. Nevaeh sat with Mum's partner and I using some bread rolls to feed the seagulls. After Jie had his dinner they joined us and Nevaeh sat on Mum's lap and they sat there talking and feeding the birds.
As they sat there I wondered if it was a good idea my kids being there around people who were effected by drugs and alcohol swearing and carrying on. I felt the sudden urge to up and go but when I turned to see how happy my children were in the arms of my Mum I couldn't bare the thought of tearing them from her.
After Jie had finished eating and Nevaeh had ran out of bread we started making our way to McDonalds. Nevaeh's idea. We sat up and ate together with Mum telling the kids stories about my childhood. I got a chance to talk to Mum about her family and the fact that she has a brother she has never known about. She was curious but I think too effected by the alcohol to really take it all in.
Once we were finished our dinner and as I was buying my children an ice cream Mum had walked up the street a bit to sit down and beg. As we walked out of McDonalds she was sitting down asking passers by for change. Before I had a chance to gather my thoughts my kids were sitting either side of her licking their ice cream and listening as she was explaining what she was doing. Of maybe 12 people that passed only 1 looked her way. It really was confronting. I stood opposite her and watched as people walked passed judging her and my children. She made it fun ensuring people walking past that her grand-kids had a home but that she could do with some change.
As I stood opposite I could hear what people were saying about my Mum. "Disgusting!" was the first word I heard, then "Get a job" but the one that made me furious was "As if you would have your grandchildren out here begging. Another Black drunk!". I couldn't help it. Two men and one woman in their 40's slandering my mother I just had to step in. I walked towards them and said "What was that? They're my kids sitting down there and that's my Mum your talking about.." The man said "Are you Aboriginals?" to which I replied "No, we're Torres Strait Islanders.." He said "Same thing.." I said "What does that have anything to do with anything?" he winked at the guy beside him. I said "If you have something to say about my mother or my kids say it to me.. I'm listening.." The other guy spoke "We weren't talking about your Mum, we were talking about the horses" (Horse and carriages behind where they were standing). I said "It's funny how you speak of my family to each other but when I came up to you and you realized that that was my family you quickly closed your mouths." The lady and most likely her husband turned to leave and he shouted from a distance "You ought to be ashamed of yourself!". I smiled. The only person I was ashamed of were the people completely judging my Mum.
I see now how the bible teaches us to be childlike. My kids accept people so freely. No judgement. These people and the more people that walked passed criticizing, degrading and abusing my Mum who was begging with her grandchildren beside her are just a few of the types of people my Mum encounters daily. I felt like saying to them "Would you employ her?" that's half the reason she is out there..
I'm proud of my kids. The way they love people so freely. They way they accept those different to them. The way they share what little they have to give to people who have less than they have. Nevaeh gave her last 60c to a begger and while at the train station on the way home Jie sat beside a boy about 16 years of age whom was quite clearly Autistic to show him his YuGiOh cards and even allowed him to keep a few as we left. Accepting people for who they are is so rare out there. I hope my two beautifull beings never lose that beautiful trait.
They inspire me..