Collapse, crumble, regroup and fly!
Reilly (Roo) just turned 5. She is a very bright, creative and sensitive person. I am her grateful mama, Ana. As I was talking with a dear friend about our current financial crisis, he said 'start a GoFundMe campaign!' - and I said 'what? who's going to help another single mom pay her mortgage arrears?' and he said, with eyes twinkling like Santa Claus, 'lots of people', so here it is, folks:
I've been Roo's solo parent since she was 5 months old and we make a pretty dynamic duo! We have lots of support from family and friends, especially from her 'G' and her Auntie. G even pays her preschool tuition.
We even managed to buy a small 2 bedroom house in 2010 just after Roo celebrated her first birthday... Unfortunately we've hit a few bumps in the road, and these bumps now seem like boulders. I got laid off about 6 months after buying the house and have been unemployed since 2012. Roo's dad left town owing $27,000 in child support arrears (and counting). Yes, there is an interstate case against him and no, these types of cases are not usually resolved.
One positive thing that has come out of this enforced hiatus is that I've discovered a love for hat-making. I sold some of my hats at the Santa Fe Artisan Market over the holidays, and will continue to make them but they are not a profit-maker! They take way more time to make than is possible to recover in sales. And that's fine. My dearest wish is for my daughter to grow up around fulfilled, positive, creative, intelligent and active people so that she will know how to make that kind of life for herself.
Roo loves to paint, read, dance, sing and pick everyone's flowers for them. She is playing soccer for the first time this summer and she starts kindergarten in August, which is a very very big deal. We have a wonderful neighborhood and community here, and she is very excited about walking to school to kindergarten. We also love our neighborhood park (also walking distance) and our neighbors have become close and cherished friends who make art and keep bees.
I've run the numbers time and time again, and besides being Roo's best community option, keeping the house is actually the most economical way for us to live, especially when the tenants are factored in. It also has the added bonus of letting us keep our beloved dog Jack, who is Roo's best friend, partner in crime, and makes sure that the couch will never ever be stolen.
I've fallen behind on my mortgage payments since extended unemployment benefits ended in December (thank you Congress) and the threat of foreclosure looms again. If we can pay the arrears, we can keep our home. My freelance web design, social media and editing work doesn't begin to cover our expenses, but I've just landed a part-time job (starting today!!!!) that will ensure I don't fall behind again. I'm asking for your help in any amount to help us keep our home and allow Roo a chance at a stable, creative and community-grounded childhood.
I've managed to make ends meet while receiving unemployment benefits by renting out the 2nd bedroom and our garage. Roo's 'room' is an elevated closet with the doors removed and bookshelves on the wall. She asked for her own bedroom for her birthday.
Since being laid off I have applied for an average of 3 jobs per week. I've made it to the top of the heap at least 3 times, only to be beaten out at the last second by one other applicant. The job market in Santa Fe is tough, especially as much of the work available is in the service industry which requires evening and weekend work (not happenin for a single mom with a young child - babysitting costs $15 and hour, and waiting tables doesn't pay enough to cover that plus live). My previous career as a CAD drafter for architects doesn't exist anymore - it's a dinosaur.
I have a college degree. I am skilled and experienced in many areas, and I have become more and more disheartened over the past 2+ years of unemployment. Unemployment is not a nice experience for anyone, especially a parent with children or others to look after. For someone who struggles with clinical depression as I do, being unemployed has been a huge hit. Panic attacks don't make interviewing easy, either. It can just all seem so incredibly huge and heavy when one is trying to do it alone.
Sometimes I feel like Sysiphus - pushing a large stone up a mountain, with the added nasty person on top of the mountain chucking large objects down from above. This feeling has begun to dissipate slowly as I have started to reach out and ask for help. It's pretty amazing :)
Letting go is difficult, letting go of our home is extremely hard. I am working on staying in present time and feeling my way through the waves. I'll end with more thanks, especially to Trent Zelazny - friend extraordinaire, and with a quote that I came across today on FB:
"for a star to be born, there is one thing that must happen: a gaseous nebula must collapse.
This is not your destruction.
This is your birth."
All my love and deepest gratitude,
Here's a quick update: slight setback - Mama's new job only lasted for 3 weeks (lovely people, just didn't didn't have enough business to keep me on). I've got some promises of small contract work ahead, and it's back into the market once again.
We are also exploring other options for collecting child support from Roo's father (unlikely, but you never know)
PLEASE PLEASE re-share this, even if you can't or don't want to contribute, y'all are making a difference! and extra special thanks to Trent Zelazny, who is our biggest fundraiser and fan - we love you!!!
This experience has been incredibly humbling and enlightening - how amazing to witness such an outpouring of love from all corners! We are very grateful! Hearts wide open!
Lela Dawkins, J E and Corie Weaver will each get morning glories planted in their honor today for their contributions to our campaign! Hooray! Let's keep up the momentum - it's working - Mama got a job!