(By Adrianna-Rose Gagnon)
I am a single mother of two crazy, hyper boys. My oldest (Jordan, 10) has been diagnosed with ADHD and my younger (Seth, 6) is a drama king. I love both my boys very much and enjoy the craziness they bring to my life. I was a stay-at-home mom for nine years of my boys’ lives and have loved every minute of it. However, I came to a point when both boys were in school that I felt led to head back to work. So, I applied to be an Educational Assistant and, after a year of volunteering, I was hired in April 2019. I have been told I’m good at my job and I kind of laugh inside because I’ve been doing this my whole life. My brother had Down Syndrome and my children require special attention to manage their behaviors. Things were just starting to take off for me, finally. I was working almost full-time hours and up for a semi-permanent position. At the same time, however, God was shutting down the world, one country at a time, and now our turn had come. Starting with the schools, Ontario closed one job section at a time. This is where the struggle began. I applied immediately (March 12) for EI when I heard the schools where closing. However, it wasn’t going to be that easy. Week after week went by with no contact from EI and I was beginning to stress. Accounts were running low and so were the cupboards. Then, one morning, out of the blue, I went out to start the car and it just wouldn’t. I called my mom for a boost and took it to the mechanic. He had no idea what was going on and sent me over to the dealership that made my car. We arrived over an hour before closing and on their door was a sign “Closed due to COVID-19.” We had to drive an hour away to get to a dealership only to have them say that there was nothing wrong with it. They replaced the battery just to be safe. This helped…a little. I still required frequent boosts at random times. A month later, I went to get the tires changed and was informed that there was $4,000 worth of work to be done on my car (including tires). I just couldn’t. I had still not seen a penny from EI at this point and I was really starting to get concerned that my family was falling between the cracks and I wouldn’t be able to pay rent or buy food. So, I spent hours each day calling and recalling for over a week. Finally, I was able to make contact with someone who then put me on a waiting list for my file to be fast-tracked. It took them two months to complete what should have taken a week. I was just thankful it finally went through.
With the money issue out of the way, I could now focus on the car problems. From what the mechanic told me, it wasn’t worth fixing, especially once it died again out of the blue. After a few days, I finally felt peace about turning in my car for a new one instead of repairing the old one. God provided the perfect car at the perfect price. On May 5th, I picked up my new car and it felt great. In addition to the stress of making ends meet, I am now homeschooling my boys. We started right away during March break. We struggled to establish a routine and the boys struggled with not wanting to do the work I was putting out for them. However, they soon came to realize they didn’t have a choice and began to do the work. My older son loved it. He thrives on routine and this has helped. Plus, he is enjoying all the extra free time he now gets. My younger son, on the other hand, has fought this tooth and nail. He has been struggling all school year, though. This has been an excellent time for me to help him sand down some of his rough edges. My goal with him is to get him to be able to do work on his own for ten to fifteen minutes without losing focus. We have a long way to go. I have really enjoyed this time with them: watching them grow together as brothers. They play together much easier now. They are learning to be friends, instead of my older looking at my younger like he is just a baby still. And my younger is learning that be able to play with his big brother he has to act like a big boy (no more whining and crying whenever something doesn’t go his way). I have seen them laugh together, choose to have a campout in the other’s room, my older comfort my younger when he had a moment of big emotion that he just couldn’t handle, and so much more. God has been so good during this time. He has given my family peace during this time of unrest around us. He filled my account allowing me to buy this car that I really could not afford. And, He is giving me the chance to wrap my children even more in His love as we learn together in the moment what it looks like to follow God in the hard times.