By: Viola Crowley

Word on the Street Issue 44, June 2024

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So let me start with I’m not here to say that if you didn’t make the same decisions as me, that you’re wrong. I’m here to applaud all moms for the tough decisions you make on the regular. So it all started when I just had my 2 oldest girls living in central Idaho. I’ve bounced around with them, been to jail, mental facilities, been to shelters and lived with family and friends. I was mentally unstable. I asked my mother to help with my girls. Now in my opinion, she took it too far and got guardianship until they were 18 while I was locked up in State Hospital North. And every time I thought I was stable, she would mess with my head until I was no longer stable. So I decided to move to Alaska with my boyfriend to get away from my family. By this point I had child number 3 and she was living with me. Well I needed to get settled in Alaska and find a place to live, so I left my 3yo with my sister and moved. That was hard because my sister decided to make my daughter call her mom. After a bunch of troubling phone calls and a year and a half later, I flew down to Idaho and got my daughter. I was in the DV shelter several times with my daughter and I gotta say it was the nicest DV shelter I’ve been in. But I always took my daughter. Now it killed me to have 1 but not the other 2 but I figured by this point, they grew up in grandma’s and I thought they were better off there. I moved around a bit and ended up in Seattle and homeless. But being homeless in Seattle wasn’t bad and it was easy to keep your kids with you. Between Tent City and the tiny house villages, it was easy until we got housing. And Kory got to stay in the same school the whole time. Well we moved around a bunch more between my family friends and a couple of shelters. The last shelter that we were together was in Payette, ID and then we went to a motel and they made her change schools. The school in Ontario wouldn’t work with us and honor her IEP. So I sent her to her sister’s here in Boise. It was tough for her and a little bit of a power struggle because she was 16 and her sister was 23 or 24 with kids and she tried to mother her sister. So she asked to go back to grandma and grandpa’s place on the south coast of Oregon. I was still homeless, so I decided that for the sake of my daughter’s schooling and wellbeing, she would move back to Oregon. One of the hardest decisions to make was to send my daughter to another state and live with the person who stole my 2 older girls. I stayed with a friend in Payette and reconnected with my husband but then we became homeless in Boise when the other girls in the house moved to Nampa. That’s when I came to Interfaith Sanctuary. Sanctuary saved my life and guided me to stability. Now I’ve been housed for over a year and a half. About a year ago my daughter moved home! She’s an adult now and we’re rebuilding our relationship. So yeah, sometimes you have to make some really tough decisions as a mom. Your path may become rocky with a crap storm along the way but it is possible to find a smoother path. Just keep your head up and keep moving.