No one is ready to struggle. You can’t really prevent it or plan for it. I had a lot of advantages growing up. My dad was a doctor. I was pre-med but switched to psychology. I had every advantage you could have.
What’s funny, is even with advantages, you can still have problems.
My first child, my daughter developed cancer as an infant. After numerous treatments she lost her battle. I used up a lot of our savings and moved in with my mother-in-law.
My second child, Michael, was born with spina bifida. He needed surgery right away, then two months later…then another four months after that. Meanwhile I’m interviewing for jobs. I got a job offer, but after each successive surgery it became tough telling employers that I would need time off to take care of my son.
We moved into a small, cheap place and had a second son, David. David developed autism. And my other son, Michael, still needed treatments and surgeries. I ended up losing my health insurance and having to pay out of pocket for my own health care.
I can’t find enough work to fill in and pay all of the bills and still have time to take care of my sons. I’m constantly fighting to get to a place where I have solid insurance. If I die my kids will have nothing from me. I think everyone assumes they can pass certain things on to their children. I made it through three mergers at my former company, made it through the death of my first child, but was let go after becoming pregnant with my second.
We do a lot of juggling to save money. I minimize how many miles I drive. It might take six months to save up and fix our car, but if we don’t have the money, we just walk. I just found out I have one month left on my brakes. If I can’t pay for them, we can’t use the car.
We make sure there’s food on the table. We will sacrifice and cut corners in other areas, but I need to make sure we eat. There are a lot of different things that can happen that cause people to rely on FoodShare. I’m glad somebody created a program that pools money so we can eat – this is money that feeds the family. I’ve worked for 15 years and have contributed. I hope my prior contributions helped other families the way we are being helped today.