Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day at the shelter

The battered women's shelter has its ups and downs around holidays. I'm never there on Sunday so I don't see what happens on Mother's Day. If it's anything like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc.,some of the women have a safe place to spend the day and leave the shelter. Some don't. Usually, these women receive some kind of gift from the shelter.

The shelter can do this because so many women's groups, orgs, and businesses send goodies for moms and kids.

My favorite gift this year (so far) came from a local college that sent cartons and cartons of "Care Packages," normally sent to students from parents. Each box contained snack size cereals, granola bars, drinks, and candy, not to mention little gifts, toys,and notions.

Some of the gifts the shelter receives are especially thoughtful--like hand-made aphghans or baby blankets. Nothing is turned away because many moms and kids arrive with almost nothing and are too far from home or too afraid to return for their possessions.

One of the shelter social workers re-packages large containers of holiday treats or gifts into the beautiful bought or sewn carry bags we receive from volunteers or outside orgs. I am grateful and amazed at strangers' generosity.

Sometime during group night or the holiday party, we give the kids their gifts. They grab them eagerly--even the kids who come here for group night but live in the community. There are lots of smiles as they eat,play with the toys, try on bracelets, etc. But soon kids start "saving" things or looking around.

When they spot something for their moms (smaller bags) or we give them something for her as they leave, most are happier than when they got their own goodies.

Not that this is weird. Most kids want to give Mom something and make her happy on Mother's Day. What's different is that these kids struggle to make Mom happy many more days than the average kid does, especially when they live with the abuser.

But hey, they're only kids. Let's hope their Mother's Days--all their days--are much better when they grow up.

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