This is a picture of a little girl in her winter coat. She’s staring at the bedding cupboard at the church where she, her mom and her sister sleep. Her sister just finished cramming their blankets onto the shelf where they’re kept each night until 8:30 PM when the makeshift shelter lets them in to grab a floor mat and make-up their bed. It’s almost impossible to see her because her winter coat blends so well with the donated comforters on the rack. She’s wearing a winter coat indoors - not because she’s eager for cold weather but because it’s nearly 6:50 a.m. and dressing warmly isn’t a choice. Each morning she, her mom and her sister brave the elements by 7:00 AM. That’s checkout time when the volunteers close up the shelter and the church returns their sleeping space to the congregation.
The little girls’ mom didn’t sleep all that well the night before. After reading both her children to sleep, her mom practiced her deep breathing. Her new baby’s due within the week and she’d been feeling contractions most of the day.
The mixed blessing or their homelessness is that by the time she gets the children onto their three inch foam mat, they’re nearly asleep anyway. Between the shelter hours of 9 pm and 7 am, these children don’t get enough rest. Besides, they have nowhere to nap during the day. So, it never takes very long for them to drift off - even if the linoleum covered concrete floor lacks the warmth and comfort of a regular bed.
There’s no risk, this holiday season, that these kids will oversleep and miss Santa. And it’s not just because there is no Santa. Nope, for these kids there isn’t even a place to sleep in. Just as well, though. What would happen if we let lazy little two-year-old kids keep hitting the snooze button? They’d never vacate the church floor where the kind folks let them sleep. Two year olds on 3 inch floor mats are the root from which freeloaders spring. Kids like this are a waste of our resources. Don’t believe me, ask any of our current U.S. Republican Senators.
Hell, Senator Chuck Grassley knows what this kid would do if you gave her a buck or two. That toddler would grab her mom, her six-year-old sister, a sippy cup full of hooch and head straight to the picture shows.
Conservative estimates say that 1 in 50 U.S. kids are homeless. And even though the recent G.O.P. tax plan illustrates how congressional sentiment has turned away from kids like these - millions of kids like these - you’d think the powers that be would revere the mom a little more.
Couldn’t a pregnant mom - one in labor even - take her kids to some little place to live? One room with a bathroom and a hot plate would be an enormous improvement. After all, she’s answered Speaker Paul Ryan’s call and she’s doing her part to produce more children. Which begs the question of our time. When Paul Ryan called on Americans to increase birth rates, did he wonder where those kids would live? Where they would sleep? How they would eat? Of course he did not. Because he didn’t want all Americans to have more babies. He only wanted the wealthy to do so. When Paul Ryan said, “I did my part.” He meant he made extra rich babies and then passed laws that would endanger poor babies.