The last few years have been difficult ones for all of us, but for a mom with two young boys, the added hardships that have come as a result of a global pandemic have been extra tough. Midori, 27, and her sons Mason, 3, and Knox, who will be a year old this July, have had to learn to navigate things a little differently in a post-COVID world. Lockdown and social distancing have essentially eliminated the options for kids to socialize with one another. Since Midori and her boys also live with her brother and her parents, she does not feel comfortable taking risks that could impact her father’s health, due to his compromised immunity. “COVID has really affected my kids, because they’re not able to be very social. Masks kind of scare a lot of kids. They don’t really know how it is to be with a lot of people,” Midori says. “And I’ve seen a lot of kids that have to do speech development.”
Mason, her oldest son, is one of these kids. Midori has been doing all she can to help her son get the assistance he needs to treat his speech and developmental delays, but the pandemic has hit hard for Midori and her family here, too. “I know in Killeen just to get any sort of behavioral appointments—it’s like a year waiting list at this point,” she says. “Your doctors for your kids can’t even really be at the clinic because they have to go help COVID patients.” While Mason has been on one of these waiting lists for the last six months, his appointment has already been pushed back four times because his doctor was not available.
While managing the needs of her children, Midori also had to manage her own health issues last year. After experiencing severe, consistent pain, she went to the doctor and learned she needed to have surgery almost immediately to have her gallbladder removed. “I could barely walk or talk,” says Midori of the pain the gallstones caused her.
But even with the struggles she’s faced in the last couple of years, Midori keeps a positive frame of mind for her boys. “I feel like in the end it’ll work out somehow. You can’t really stress out,” she says. “It doesn’t really help at all.” So she keeps a cool head and focuses on school as a student at Temple College. She’s on a track for pre-nursing, inspired by her own labor and delivery nurses present when she gave birth. “It was pretty nice to see someone actually care at that point, especially since you’re going through one of the most traumatic parts of your life, if it’s your first time,” Midori says, “which made me feel like I would want to help someone at that point in their life, too.”
With limited income in her household while she is in school and the responsibility of supporting her two children, picking up food at our mobile pantry sites helps offer a bit of relief. Saving money on food when she picks up food for her family, she can put more towards gas, know she has a little extra money to take care of any sudden expenses that may arise with her kids and better focus on her studies. “Thank you very much,” Midori says. “A lot of people really didn’t think that COVID would last this long…But we’ve really been able to see that it’s going to take while for this country to go back to how things were. So a little help here and there to help people through everything is really, really good.”
Mother’s Day can be a time of celebration, love, sadness, grief or a multitude of other emotions. Here at the Food Bank, we recognize that there is no singular experience for folks on this holiday. We want to wish everyone all the best this Sunday and know that we are thinking of all moms this weekend, including those who are no longer with us, have lost a child, are doing it alone, or experiencing other hardships. We hope you’ll join us in this sentiment and consider donating to support Midori and all other moms who are struggling to put food on the table for their families. As is evident from this mom’s story, hunger is rarely a struggle that exists alone in a household, so helping to provide food can make a big difference in someone’s life and help them achieve their dreams.