Shannon maneuvered her beat-up Jetta into a parking spot behind the five-star restaurant and turned off the ignition. For a moment she just sat there, wondering if she was doing the right thing.

     “What’s wrong?” her younger sister asked.
     As she glanced down into Katie’s bright eyes, a surge of love flooded Shannon, so strong it warmed her insides and pushed away her fears. The edges of her mouth lifted into a smile. She brushed a hand back over Katie’s braids. “This is an important business meeting. You know that, don’t you?”
     “Yeah. You don’t have to keep reminding me.” Katie huffed out the words. “I’m a big girl now. I’ll be okay”
     “I know you’re a seven year old grown up. And I’m proud of you. But this is our chance for a better future. We need this job.”
     “Stop worrying, sis.” She opened her hand, revealing the jacks and tiny rubber ball. “I’ll stay at the car and play Jack Rocks.” She grinned, trying to reassure.
     She’d been her sister’s only family since their parents had died in a house fire before Katie’s third birthday. “Sorry the babysitter couldn’t make it. She was ah-sick.”
     “You mean drunk,” Katie corrected.
     Guilt rushed Shannon. They lived in a roach infested boardinghouse patronized by prostitutes and drug users. Somehow she had to get Katie away from such an environment. She was a smart and compassion child who deserved the best in life.
     Shannon smoothed a clammy palm over the skirt of her new business suit. She’d spent too much money on it, but she needed the polished look of a sophisticated woman. She looked younger than her twenty-two years. “If I get the job, we’ll move to a better neighborhood.” Blinking away tears, she reached over and squeezed her sister’s hand.
     “You’ll get it. You’ll the best artist in San Diego.” Katie took a sip of apple juice.
     “Thanks for the vote of confidence.” She waved at the older woman walking their way. Lucy was a homeless woman who sometimes slept behind the restaurant. Shannon had given her food and loose change and Lucy looked out for them. Over the past two years they’d become close friend.
     After gathering her portfolio off the back seat, Shannon exited the car. “Thanks for sitting with Katie while I’m inside. I should be back in an hour.”
     Lucy cupped Shannon’s cheek. “You just get that job, gal. Katie and I’ll be fine. Now go on.”
     Shannon hesitated. She stood, nibbling on her bottom lip. Was she doing the right thing?

____________________

Did Shannon make the right decision when she left her sister in the hands of a homeless woman?

I believe she did. Fate doesn’t always land us in ideal environments. Sometimes we have to make the best of a bad situation. Regardless of your thoughts about Shannon's dilemma, one thing is true for all of us. We make decisions based on our life experiences. Someone who grows up with a silver spoon in his or her mouth might say, "I'd never do that."  Someone struggling to make ends meet in the inner city might say, "I'm doing this to make a better life for my child."  And then there's the rest of us that fall in between those two cultures.

So, what do you think?

Until later,
Pamela Varnado

14 comments

  1. Mary Marvella // September 28, 2010 at 1:38 PM  

    Interesting situation, Pamela. If Shannon and the homeless woman had already established a trusting relationship, the decision was a good one.

  2. Judy // September 28, 2010 at 1:55 PM  

    I don't know enough about the relationship between Shannon and the homeless decision to know if it was the right decision. I do know that as parents or trustees of others, we do the best we can in present circumstances. Sometimes decisions are easy; and at other times, they sure aren't. Hope she did the right thing. Good post, Pamela!

  3. Pamela Varnado // September 28, 2010 at 2:33 PM  

    Mary, see life isn't always black or white. It's the shades of gray that drive us crazy.

  4. Cyrano // September 28, 2010 at 2:38 PM  

    Like Mary said, I suppose it might be okay if the two women really knew each other very well. But...we've had a spirited argument over this before, haven't we, Miss Pammy?:)
    To tell you the truth, with the life experiences I've lived through so far, i'd say, no way.
    But...no one really knows what the would do in a situation until that particular situation is a reality.
    Very thought provoking Pam!
    Have a great day!
    See you Friday,
    T

  5. Pamela Varnado // September 28, 2010 at 2:51 PM  

    Judy, I gained important insight into human behavior while working in social services. I remember visiting a home that was reported to be unsanitary. Clothes were scattered everywhere and dishes were piled up in the sink. In my opinion, the entire house needed to be professionally cleaned. But my boss said the house was fine. Apparently there are just some people who live this way. The mom/dad were happy. The kids were well adjusted and said they had no problems with the house. No harmful bacteria or molds were present. I asked my supervisor about the example the parents were role modeling for the kids. Her response, "What's normal or acceptable for one person might not be for the next. There's no right or wrong. It's just how this family lives."

  6. Pamela Varnado // September 28, 2010 at 2:53 PM  

    Cyrano, I thought of you while writing this blog. I remembered our discussion and decided to toss this problem out there to see what I could stir up. Smooches!!!

  7. Nightingale // September 28, 2010 at 3:49 PM  

    I guess when you hire any babysitter, unless you've run a background check, you're running a risk. I have 2 boys and thinking of one of them as 7, and leaving him in a car would be horrible, even if it was locked. I don't know that I would have chosen that particular baby sitter though. Hard decision. I guess I'm not really qualified to answer. Some kids are latch key kids by the time they're 7, scary as that is.

  8. Pamela Varnado // September 28, 2010 at 5:42 PM  

    Linda, I agree it's a scary world we live in. Some kids really have it rough. I was blessed to be able to give my kids a loving home.

  9. Mary Ricksen // September 28, 2010 at 7:43 PM  

    The decision was the same as I would have made. They knew her and trusted her. Her poor status does not make her a bad person. It makes her homeless.

  10. Scarlet Pumpernickel // September 28, 2010 at 8:57 PM  

    Blogger hates me today. I had this wonderful, witty, perfect comment and it deleted it and said service not available! Now, what was I thinking? Oh yes, Pam's blog about having a homeless person watch the daughter.

    The natural inclination is to cringe at the idea, but as several people mentioned, there are different things to consider. The well dressed neighbor next door might be a serial killer while the baglady might be the perfect grandmother figure.

    So, I'd have to say, if she has developed a relationship it would be within reason to ask her to sit with the child. Better than to leave her alone or with a drunk.

  11. Pamela Varnado // September 28, 2010 at 9:35 PM  

    Mary R. and Scarlet, the old saying You can't judge a book by its cover rings true in the case. It's the heart of a person not their financial status that matters.

  12. Mary Marvella // September 29, 2010 at 1:16 AM  

    PAM, GRAB YOUR BUSINESS CARDS.

  13. Sherry Gloag // September 29, 2010 at 8:46 AM  

    As presented in your great blurb, I'd leave my sister with Lucy, too. She's depicted as someone well known and trusted who happens to be down on her luck.
    Would I leave me sister with a homeless person I didn't know, or anyone else I didn't know. Doubtful.
    I loved your approach to your blogspot.

  14. Joanne // September 29, 2010 at 8:10 PM  

    I'm saying yes to this scenario, Pam. Interesting blog.