I have experienced many situations in my life that I did not see a solution to, but one occurred. I call this a miracle. I lived off the land for many years by honing skills such as sewing by hand, spinning wool, dying with plants, weaving, making bread, raising and killing animals and then preserving every bit of the meat. These were all great skills for living in the country, but when I moved to the city as the sole provider of my two children, these skills were of no use to me. I realized that I had no “job skills”. I worked in a couple of restaurants as a waitress and I tried to work as a secretary, but these were short lived. I took odd jobs such as watering the lawns of movies stars who owned a home they only visited. I cleaned houses and galleries. I met a woman who was a weaver of clothing and she asked me if I could weave. I told her yes I could, but I’m not really good at it. Despite my negativity, she hired me and I continued for many years. I became pregnant with my third child, as a single parent. My friend’s studio was in her home. I would come to work and she would feed me, I’d weave for several hours and then take a nap in her bed. I had to move out of my home just before the birth and she leant me $1000 with an agreement to repay it without interest in one year.
It was enough for first and last rent, but no longer. I worked up until the day I went into labor and then was unable to work for the next month. One day, I was beside myself with fear and called a friend of mine, crying and desperate. He listened intently and then said, “Well, can you dye cloth to look like mold?”. I thought he was making fun of me, because although I could, it was in the realm of all the other worthless skills I had acquired. But, he was a restorer of Native American artifacts and had a “Ghost Shirt” from the Lakota tribe. These shirts were believed to have a spiritual property that kept the wearer from death. He gave it to me and I died cloth to look similar and repaired the parts of the shirt that were disintegrating. Then he gave me a moccasin to fix the broken beading, and then a violin case that was entirely beaded. I did this job at home when the kids were at school and the baby was sleeping. Finally, I was able to go back to weaving and brought my child to work with me. I would have him under the loom in a bouncy chair that I would bounce in between pushing the pedals of the loom. The sound was soothing. I would hold him on my lap while I wound up the skeins. When he started to crawl, I made a fence of baskets and he played on the front lawn. She decided to sell her business and I needed a new job. So, I applied to the local community college for nursing. But, education is not free and I would have even less time to work.
So, I started applying for every grant I could find. I found many small grants, but they added up to enough. I wrote a paper in one of my classes on how to afford an education as a single parent. My difficulties did not end there. Clinicals began at 5 am and although my older children could now get themselves to school, the youngest could not. So, another friend offered to take him for the night and get him to school in the morning, several times a week. This is how I made it through nursing school. I look back at that time in my life and realize that sometimes a miracle is multifaceted and brought on by the merging of many directions.