Maria has 5 children ages ranging from 2 to 14.
She is going through a lot of trials right now. Her mother can function okay but she is slightly mental and has breakdowns often. Her mother's husband who is Maria's step-father who basically raised Maria is dying.
Maria is the only one in her family to help and take care of her Mom and Step-Dad which is taking a lot of time and toll on her as she drives them around to doctor appointments and as she tries to comfort her emotionally unstable mother. Her husband is in some sort of special training for work and he doesn't get home until real late. Her husband's baby brother unexpectedly died a couple weeks ago and her husband had to drive a car down to Texas for a few days.
She has difficult teenagers. Oh teenagers.
In the middle of all this, their suburban died from a bad fuel pump- which costs a pretty penny and they don't have the money to fix it. Suddenly Maria doesn't have a car to haul her kids around to do every day things.
This family is tired.
Maria calls me yesterday and she starts to ask me family history questions. Then I noticed her voice started to quiver. I asked is she was okay and she just started to cry. So I walked over to her house with a box of red potatoes bringing Kenzie so she could take care of her little ones while we talked.
Maria talked about her life and all her problems. I know by default I am a problem solver and I like to fix things but I felt really strong to just listen. I've been praying to become a better listener.
Soon after we sat down on the couch the neighbor kids came over to play. 3 crazy girls who come from a shaky home where values and morals aren't taught. My first reaction was "no way, go home, Maria is having a stressful day" but Maria kindly let them in. Maria would calmly discipline the girls if they acted inappropriately. Then 3 more neighbor kids came over. They just walked in the house like it was their own. Maria calmly talked to the kids as they ran through the house and pulled out every toy. I was totally surprised how calm Maria was. Then Julia, Xander and Sam came over an hour or so later. It was total chaos and Maria just kept her calm and even fed everyone a snack. I finally said, "You're amazing Maria. I couldn't handle all these kids. I'd go crazy. Man, tell them to all go home, especially if you need a break from all the stress." I really should keep my mouth shut although I have improved over the years. She laughed and said, "Some of these kids don't receive a lot of love in their homes and this is the only place they feel it. So I want them to feel loved and welcomed here." Maria takes them to church on Sundays. She is a saint.
Wow. Heaven Sent. Maria taught me a lot that day. I was too selfish to even notice that. I still can't believe how she processes things. I love Maria. She is a warrior for who she is- to know her background and all the things she's been through as a child and to see her rise to the top and still have a strong testimony of the Gospel is simply amazing. She is such a chosen person because I don't think most turn out like her when they have her kind of life story.
I am so grateful for strong influences in my life like my friend Maria.