Updated: Dec 5, 2019
Through out the time that we were residing in our vehicle, we also made time to handle other business. We had filed our income tax on Feb 28th in hopes of getting them back as soon as possible.
On March 18th, we were low on gas and food. We ended up getting a flat tire the night before so we were stuck at WalMart, on one of the hottest we'd had to endure since this journey started. Senior (my husband) had called a few friends who said they would come by and help us out once they got off work. As we sat in our vehicle, we decided that we could just drive slowly on the flat and get it fixed for cheap at tire place we had been to before.
We left the parking lot driving about 20 mph, We got through the first light with our hazard lights on but shortly after that our second front tire exploded and left us grinding on the rim of the tire. It took us 15 minutes to drive back to the store and by that point we were weary and tired. The entire situation was starting to take its toll on us and having faith was all we could do.
A friend of Senior came by to take him to get our spare out of his garage and to the tire shop for a used tire. He felt that we could get by on that for a bit so that we could continue to wait for something to come through. I honestly started to feel like the best thing for us to do was to find a relative or friend who would allow us to bring the kids to their home for a few days until we worked things out a bit better.
About 15 minutes after Senior and his friend drove off I received a email that stated our income taxes had arrived. We were across the street from the place where our check was ready to be picked up. I cried and laughed while running around the car... At least in my brain I did because I was far too exhausted. I waited until Senior came back and told him we should walk in the store. Once we were inside and everyone gained some energy from the cool ac, I told him to check his email. We jumped up and down, danced with the kids through the store.
We were able to get the tires fixed, get a room for 2 nights and eat 3 hot meals for those 2 days. It was an absolute blessing to see the smiles and happiness spread across the kids faces when we walked in that room and they jumped on the bed, couch and pull out mattress. They ate and drank heavily as if we hadn't eaten in years. The best part was hearing them play and dance throughout the room. Even though we only had a few days it was definitely worth it.
Along with that happiness, came a bit of sadness. We found out the alternator on the car had gone out and every mechanic we tried to fix it would say that the new alternator was doing nothing to engine. It literally would not start at all. So, the same friend that came before talked with a mentor of his about a van we could buy. He gave us the van for $1000. We cleaned that van from top to bottom, inside and out. The kids would finally have the space they needed to lay across the seat or sleep on the floor with blankets until we could get in at some type of shelter.
Senior started getting phone calls about job interviews. He started working at a sandwich shop downtown. He had fully explained that while he worked there we would come in from time to time and use the bathroom or get water. After he had been working there for 2 weeks when the same manager that hired him, started talking to him about us sitting in the car in the parking lot. We never asked for food and we didn't bother any of the people that came into the establishment but he wanted us to leave. He said that it was bad for business having me and the kids come in to use the bathroom because people thought we looked weird. It made no sense at all but Senior would tell me what was being said and asked me to look into the other job offers he had available.
There was a night when my husband decided he wasn't going to do a catering event (which was optional) because he didn't want to leave us for hours on end. He was told that they were trying to give him a chance to keep his job. The only way he would be able to do that is by leaving us somewhere while he worked whatever shift they gave him which included him getting off at 3 or 4 in the morning sometimes. He said he couldn't do that while at the same time waiting to hear back from the shelters so we could have a place to sleep. Of course that wasn't what they wanted to hear so he was fired. The manager said that he wasn't a man because he wasn't willing to do whatever it took to make it.
In spite of every decision we made, things looked grim from the outside looking in but our family grew as a unit. We had long conversations that included that kids. We laughed and played, we danced and we cried but most of all through every up and down our family grew closer in the chaos. God blessed us even when we had no idea what was next. God showed us how to appreciate our children and the love they have for us. He showed us that even when things look bad he can place bits of light to make the darkness a bit more easy to get through. We knew God hadn't given up on us and no matter how much longer it took, we had to keep fighting through every obstacle because the struggle was real.