When someone comes knocking at your door seeking shelter how do you not let them in? Being presented with this dilemma would be difficult at any time but when it occurs directly before Christmas it poses some serious moral questions. Is it possible to deny housing to someone in need without thinking about the young couple who were denied shelter at the Inn? What if the door knocker turned out to be your daughter, her boyfriend and their son? Even if there really is no room can't some space be made available?
Daughter # 2 Brandie, her boyfriend Kenny and their son Jr had been living with Kenny's mother in her apartment. The apartment was also shared with Kenny's sister and her son. The mother is not in the best of health and I have not been the only person to question her capability of being sound mentally. For several weeks she has been on a down slide and acting irrationally. She has been insisting that Brandie is cheating on her son instead of being at work. It is a nonsense accusation. Clearly it is one dreamt up to instigate arguments between my daughter and Kenny. Shared living situations are never simplistic and there is little or no privacy. Thursday Kenny and Brandie were disputing over which show to watch on television when he blurted out that they either watched what he wanted or she could leave. He was not being serious but his mother overheard the conversation and used the opportunity to jump in. She demanded Brandie immediately leave the apartment. Kenny tried to intervene explaining he had been joking but his mom was beyond being reasoned with. Kenny then explained that if Brandie had to leave then he and Jr would also be leaving as well. His mom decided that was fine with her. Did I mention there was a cat involved too? She gave them one hour to get their stuff together and get out or she was calling the police. Luckily Jr was at school and not present during this exchange. Brandie phoned me and asked if I could take in her cat, Puppy, for a while. I was not thrilled but agreed. Meanwhile she thought her dad might take her and Jr in for a few days. I knew differently but did not discourage her from trying.
My home is cozy but not large. We have four small bedrooms upstairs and a kitchen and double living room downstairs. It already shelters my daughter Michaela, her boyfriend Adam and his cat Harry, daughter Beatrice and her 23 month old son Gabe, my husband and I. Oops almost forgot about Bella, my daughter Lauren's cat. We are a snug fit. By the close of school on Thursday Brandie still had not been able to find a place to stay. Knocking at my door with bags in hand she asked if she and Jr could spend a few nights. Kenny would stay with one of his friends. Did I really have a choice? I know I am far too big hearted for my own good but could anyone allow their daughter and grandson to sleep outside. Since she has no vehicle, staying in her car isn't even an option. I assumed the situation would blow over quickly and Kenny's mom would welcome them back. Friday dawned bringing with it a snowstorm and Kenny. He arrived to spend time with his family and had planned on returning to his friends that night. He had also been waiting on a phone call for a snow shoveling job. The man he does work for kept telling him he would be calling but never did. Believing the phone call would come, Kenny waited for it at my home. It became clear that the call was not going to come but by then the friend had gone to bed and Kenny was left without a place to stay. I have two couches and Brandie was already bedding down on one. What is one more body in a house whose seams are stretching?
We are living in this situation moment by moment. The homeless guests keep trying to figure out where they can go and I keep trying to figure out how to feed everyone. My love has no limits but my wallet sure does. Neither my daughter nor the boyfriend has more than a few dollars in their pocket so they are not able to contribute to the expenses. Brandie works but doesn't drive or have a car, getting her to work is now on our shoulders. From my home it is too far of a walk and the buses do not run at night or on Sunday. Her dad has denied his roof to her although he has the room. It frustrates me that once again my husband and I have to step in and help out at our expense. Both Brandie and Kenny are pitching in to help as far as cleaning the house and helping with the snow shoveling. Consider the mess is made by them and their son cleaning it is the fair thing to do. The situation is a tense one. With Christmas only days away I am not going to turn them out on the street. I hope Kenny's mother has a change of heart. If she does not I am not sure what other options are open to them. Our area does not have any homeless shelters suitable for children and their mothers. My daughter does not make enough money to afford her own apartment. If the two older daughters could see past their differences they could pool their resources and move in somewhere together. That does not seem very likely. Puppy, the cat, is also being less than pleasant. She is tormenting the other cats by hissing and attacking them. She is not very grateful and faces banishment to the basement. Despite the problems I will not be telling them that there is no room at this Inn, even if there really isn't.