Writing is therapy to me, and I need a lot of it right now. Short background: Before I started Piggy Paint, I taught 2nd grade in Georgia. I wasn’t a Mommy to my 2 girls yet (heck, I got married, turned 21, and moved 850 miles from home—all within a few weeks), so my students were my life. I immediately fell in love with little Ava. She came from extreme poverty, but had a heart of gold. Two years later, I asked her 4th grade teacher if I could speak to Ava privately. I got down on my knees and explained that I was moving, and it would be a long time before I could see her again. I can still remember her falling into my arms and crying so loudly that it echoed in the empty hallway.
Fast forward 9 years. I was the one sobbing uncontrollably when she called to tell me she was pregnant and had dropped out of school. Every time I go to Atlanta on business, I always take an extra day to go see my Georgia kids. My trip in January was different, as my baby was now a Mommy to little Melody. In 8 hours, I could barely look at her newborn. I was too afraid to connect, knowing that I would have to leave her behind in a world not fit for that sweet baby. With 2 bags on her back and the essentials we picked up at Walmart, Ava was trying to figure out which friend she was going to stay with that night.
I came home, paralyzed with fear for Ava and her baby. After discussing it with my husband, I called to see if they wanted to live with us while she got her life on track. Did I mention I have a very supportive husband? I stated our expectations, which are extremely high, and explained that if she chose this opportunity, she better be prepared to work harder than she’s ever worked before. It was my way or the highway, and I’m a lot to handle when I’m passionate about something.
We are now on week 16 with Ava and baby Melly (nicknamed by my youngest) as part of our family. I’d like to say that everything has been easy and swell, but I’d be lying. It’s been a difficult journey with lots of tears (mainly mine). We’ve worked through countless issues and I am confident everyone involved will be better because of this decision (my girls included). Though nearly every step has been a challenge, God put wonderful people, experiences, and even obstacles in our path to help Ava succeed.
Ava and Melly are leaving on Friday to go back to Georgia. Sigh. Ava has learned valuable life and parenting lessons, and has been able to complete high school. She got a job, where she has worked hard and put in a lot of hours to save money for their new beginning. Am I certain that her future is the future I envision for her? Nope, I’m scared to death. Ava is very intelligent (she finished a 9 week on-line course in 8 days with an A), enthusiastic, sweet, and is capable of accomplishing anything if she puts her mind to it (hence why she will have a diploma tomorrow instead of a GED). It is ultimately up to her.
The hardest part? Not waking up to that happy, squealing, precious baby in our house. I will miss how she coos and smiles when I talk to her, how slow she drinks her bottle (which gives me plenty of time to gaze into her eyes while she holds my pinkie), and watching my girls give her kisses every chance they get.
This story is basically people helping people (people do it all the time), and I hope it inspires more to do the same. The world would be a better place if we occasionally acted with our hearts instead of our heads. God has blessed us all in some way—with time, talents, or finances, etc.—and we should bless others with these blessings.
Life is short, so while we are here, it is important to make a difference. It may be impossible to change the world, but making a difference in one person’s life may very well change their world—and the generations that follow them. At the end of the day, you’ll never regret doing a good deed, no matter how hard it is during the process.
Thanks for the therapy session,Melanie Founder, Piggy Paint