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Friday, July 17, 2009

Three Months Ago Today

Three months ago today, my life changed in a way I never would have expected it to.

Three months ago today, a young mother struggling to fight back the tears as people walked past her on their way home (home, to their homes) as she held up a sign written in colored marker and decorated with some glittery stickers that her beautiful seven-year old little girl gave her, a sign pleading for enough money to pay for that night's shelter: she and her young family stood cold and crying on a cold afternoon sidewalk in the canyon of tall banks and glass windowed buildings on a cold and windy street in San Francisco.

Three months ago today, my life intersected with these lives and this little family became my conscience and my sadness, my hope and my passion.

It seems like forever ago but it was only three months ago.

How lives can change in such a short time.


For those of you who have been following this story and the updates since Day One, thank you.

For those of you who listened to Adam's podcast and shared your comments and thoughts, thank you.

For those of you who took the time to repost or retweet the original story and the updates, sometimes as many times as I did, thank you.

For those of you who wrote K a note or a letter, even though you had never met her and never will, and gave her hope and let her know you cared about her and her family, thank you. She received each and every one of your letters.

For those of you who found you could donate some money, thank you. For those of you who donated a little refrigerator, clothes and diapers, food and toiletries, adorable stuffed animals, and a beautiful writing journal, thank you.

For those of you who didn't give up on this little family, thank you.


You and they have given me the proof that people are good and kind and want to be so.

That might be the greatest gift of all.

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come." ~ Anne Lamott


UPDATE: It's funny to have an update to a post that hasn't been published yet, but I got this information after I had written the text above, but before I was ready to hit Publish Post.

It's too perfect, too wonderful and oh so real.

K called me. Her apartment is almost ready.

She and the kids will be moving into their new home on August 4.

On August 4, they will no longer be homeless.
Her son will have his own room, and hopefully he will get a football comforter for his new bed.
Her daughter will have her own room to decorate with all of the Hannah Montana and High School Musical posters that four new walls can handle.
The baby will have a crib, finally. He has never slept in one.
K will have her own room, her own bed.
Her own life.

If you're shedding a tear while you're reading this, you're in good company and I think that this is the best kind of crying.

I will be seeing K today and we are going to start putting together a wish list for the new house. I will keep you posted on that because I know some of you might like to help with donations of house-things.

This update seems to be the best sort of way to end a post that already had an ending, but wouldn't you know it, life just goes and surprises you like that sometimes.


paris parfait July 17, 2009 at 1:20 AM  

Excellent news for K and her family!

Cynthia July 17, 2009 at 4:32 AM  

So happy to hear that K and her family will be settled in soon! Wonderful news! <3

Eternal Lizdom July 17, 2009 at 5:17 AM  

I wonder if the community would respond if she were to "register" at Target or some other type of store. A wish list on Amazon of household items? Someplace that we bloggers and cyber-friends can go and buy and have it shipped to HER ADDRESS!

You are a blessing, Julie. Truly a blessing.

I've thought of you often and how you happened into the lives of this young family. I've had experiences lately involving the very sudden and unexpected death of a mom of 4 children (ages 10, 5, 4, and 2 and the oldest is autistic)... I didn't really know her. I wouldn't call her a friend. But her family needs help. And I have been doing my best to listen and be open to what I need to do and how I need to respond. Sometimes I feel like I'm in over my head- as I'm sure you have felt- and then I think about how Tim, the widower, must be feeling. June 5- diagnosed with breast cancer. July 2- died as the cancer had already taken over lymph nodes, brain, and lungs. And now he is alone. Without his soul mate, his best friend, left to figure out all the details that Mom usually manages.

Also like you- I've witnessed communities coming together in unexpected ways and I've been angry when the expected response from some hasn't been there. I've become involved in this story in a way I never anticipated... but I can't imagine not being where I am now.

Hugs to you and the kids and K. And I pledge to her and the kids that I will do more. My hope is that others will continue to life up the family I've become involved with and I will continue to ask and spread the word. But if I don't do that myself for others... it's meaningless to ask, right?

So in honor of all families trying to make it... I will do more.

Dani July 17, 2009 at 5:51 AM  

this is so wonderful! i don't know what she needs for the house, but i would LOVE to help. so keep us posted!

~K July 17, 2009 at 6:26 AM  

My heart skipped a beat as I read this. K's story gives me hope...hope for humanity...hope for her children...and even hope for the struggles in my own life. You tell K to keep up the good work. Instead of us inspiring her...she inspires us all.

Anonymous July 17, 2009 at 7:17 AM  

I like the register at target idea. I would love to help her get some of the things she needs for her new place (and I wouldn't even mind helping her get some of the things she wants). Heartwarming story, truly.

William July 17, 2009 at 7:22 AM  

She'll make it. I only gave a little. Things have come to me in a time of need ( frivolous in comparison) before so now I give back. I just hope it continues on.

Theres something about SanFran. :)

Adam July 17, 2009 at 7:31 AM  

i agree with ~K on this as well.

I couldn't be happier. I am sitting in the kitchen of my grandparent-in-law reading and I think they are wondering by the tears a streaming down my face.

what good news!

Mari July 17, 2009 at 7:55 AM  

I am definitely inspired by you and K. Can't wait to see the wish list!

Starlene July 17, 2009 at 8:51 AM  

Oh...yes, yes, yes. I may not have enough money to donate, and I haven't quite figured out exactly what to say in a letter but I want more than anything to give SOMETHING and I DO have house stuff to donate. I'm eagerly awaiting that list.

I'm so glad that misfortune has worked for the good of the world and changed lives for the better. You're an angel, sweetheart and so is everyone who has been helping. We are hoisting up this world on our shoulders, little by little. It's getting better. : )

Marilyn Miller July 17, 2009 at 8:55 AM  

I am so excited for K and her family. The post was perfect and will stay in my heart today.

Char July 17, 2009 at 9:30 AM  

can you cry and squeal with joy at the same time? yes...it turns out you can.

this is a wonderful present for me to today to hear her good news.

namastenancy July 17, 2009 at 9:36 AM  

I have coupons for Bed and Bath that are just begging to be used. In fact, more coupons than I could possibly use in a lifetime of shopping!

namastenancy July 17, 2009 at 9:38 AM  

Me again - I just joined Facebook and posted a link to your blog and K's story.

georgia b. July 17, 2009 at 9:59 AM  

yes, the tears do well up after reading this.

i think now is a good time to write that interview. i'd love to follow this up on my blog next week.

i'd love to interview you in general and related to this. then i'd also love to share with my readers how they can help—with donations or with that wish list or whatever.

thanks for your comment over at my photo blog, how it relates so well. the outpouring of people's concern and help IS so reassuring that there are a lot of good people out there. the kinds of things people offered to do for me—people who have never even met me. i'm just blown away.

and reading this post helped me realize that i have it so good, even without jobs. we still have a roof over our head and lots of people who care about us.

i'll e-mail you tomorrow with some questions, if you are still interested in doing the interview.

J9 July 17, 2009 at 10:18 AM  

Yes tears are rolling down my face, I am so happy for K and the Kids! Will she register somewhere (like Target) for the things she needs? Just a thought because people could then send her what she needs from anywhere via the web. If she does a wish list, I'll still scour the East Bay for stuff!

sonorossa July 17, 2009 at 11:08 AM  

Fantastic news! They are a beautiful family and they deserve to have a home of their own. I am so thrilled. This really made my day!

Andi July 17, 2009 at 11:37 AM  

Eternal Lizdom has a great idea, there are Targets everywhere, if you can help her register we can make purchases she needs very easily.

smith kaich jones July 17, 2009 at 12:03 PM  

Well, I am a big crybaby this week, and it doesn't take much to set me off, but these are happy tears. Yayyy!!

:) Debi

Cartooncharacter July 17, 2009 at 2:15 PM  

This is so great. I don't have the words to express how awesome this is. I just wish every person and family in need had the good fortune to have a Tangobaby of their own happen upon them.

Anonymous July 17, 2009 at 2:18 PM  

Absolutely fantastic news Julie! I wish them all the best for the future :-)

Yoli July 17, 2009 at 9:15 PM  

Fills my heart with joy!

Anonymous July 18, 2009 at 5:46 AM  

such good news.

Rachel July 18, 2009 at 6:28 PM  

Wow! You are right, the post did make me teary! Let us know what they need... I can't think of anything more fun to do than to fill up a registry somewhere for them.
So happy for them, yet so sad that it's taken so long.
Excellent, excellent news! Hugs to you all.

Just Jules July 18, 2009 at 7:21 PM  

oh this is absolutely fabulous. Oh skip, do a dance, shake your fanny, and sit back down kind of good.

I love how things have worked - how you have kept pushing, how we haven't forgotten.

whimseycreations July 19, 2009 at 8:19 AM  

Oh joy joy joy! Yes, I'd love to send her something that she could use in her new nest. Please DO keep us updated and let us know where we can send things. Such big hugs to you for all you've done these past months. Jill

Anonymous July 28, 2009 at 4:39 PM  

PLEASE let me know if their is ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING I can do to help. Please, please, please. I want to help!

Logan July 30, 2009 at 4:03 PM  

Wow, this just made my freaking day!

What GREAT news for everyone involved, congrats to everyone and much loooove to that wee family.