She has long pink hair and a ring in her nose. She’s only been hairdressing a few years—the money is awful. But she’s got a way with folks, and a healthy sense of humor.
“Turn your head to the left,” she’ll say. “That’s good. Now cough for me.”
There’s a photograph tacked to her mirror. In the picture: a heap of kids seated on the steps of an old home, grinning. There are so many in the photo, the picture is busting at the seams.
“That’s my family,” she says, pointing. “We’re a hot mess.”
As it happens, only one of the children in the picture is her own—another one came from her husband. The remaining five are adopted.
I ask why she adopted five.
“Fosters,” she says. “If you only knew how many kids need homes, breaks your heart.” She taps the photo. “See him? His daddy used to beat him with a mop stick before we got him.”
The tallest child’s mother overdosed in a public park—they found him sleeping in a twisty-slide. The two black sisters: rescued from a crack house. The little fella with fat cheeks: he has cystic fibrosis and uses crutches.
She didn’t mean to adopt them. It just happened.
“Most days,” she says. “All I’m doing is running from point A to point B. I want’em to play sports, have friends, but it keeps me busy.”
It’s hard. Her husband works for the utility company, she cuts hair while the kids are at school. Afterward, she rushes home to make supper and ensure nobody sets the sofa on fire. They’re poor as red clay dirt, but they get by.
“Can’t remember what it’s like to have money,” she tells me. “All we do is work. And we just found out I’m pregnant again.” She laughs. “I’m three months along.”
When she finishes trimming my hair, she spins me around and says, “Sorry, I feel like I talked your head off. I gotta big mouth.”
No you don’t. Besides, I like listening. I tipped her as much as I had on me. I wish it’d been more. Then, I asked if I could write about her. The idea surprised her.
“Lord,” she says. “Why me?”
Because, ma’am, if the truth be told, I wish I were more like you. In fact, I wish a lot of people were.
“Well,” she says. “Reckon if you gonna write something, you’re gonna have to send me the link. I’d wanna send it to my mama.”
Well, as it turns out, she doesn’t have a real mama at all. She has something even better than that.
A foster mother.
BettyVincent - September 19, 2016 9:16 pm
The number of kind and generous people that we come across in this life is truly mind-boggling especially when they are struggling economically.
Gail Campbell - March 26, 2017 3:23 pm
Oh my, that last line is always the perfect ending to your sweet stories.
Nancy Kane - March 26, 2017 4:24 pm
Coleen Emert Brooks - March 26, 2017 6:50 pm
Nancy Garrett told me about you a couple of years ago. I’ve read your post every morning since and have shared it everywhere. You are a great writer who writes from your heart. Those are the best kind. Loved this one. I taught people just like her in Adult Education. Salt of the Earth. Truly.
Kathy - March 26, 2017 9:47 pm
This story is absolutely amazing! Brought tears to my eyes and limp in my throat. She is definitely a blessed soul, as is you Sean .❤
June RouLaine Phillips - March 27, 2017 4:14 am
Robbie Mitchell - March 27, 2017 11:58 am
She had a BIG HEART instead of a big mouth! May God really bless her- in the best way! We do need a lot more people like her and her husband.
Rooster Campbell - May 14, 2017 12:28 pm
The world does indeed, need more like her. Thanks, Sean .
Arlene - May 14, 2017 12:56 pm
What the world needs now is love…sweet love….beautiful woman.
Gerri - May 14, 2017 1:05 pm
Thank you. I can’t say more than that.
Deanna J - May 14, 2017 1:32 pm
God know who to give these kids to! Thanks!
Dena - May 14, 2017 6:40 pm
A perfect Mother’s Day story. Thank you for your reminders that there are still hearts filled with pure love and goodness that bless us all.