It was Thursday, June 2, 2016
An Afternoon Adventure:
It was 12pm and the girls were complaining they hadn’t had lunch. They wanted Taco Bell, which was out of the way of going back home, but I knew a short cut. We were near my old neighborhood so we took some back roads and the girls got to see two places I used to live, that I often tell them stories about. They liked that.
The food was hot and messy so I told them to wait to eat until we got home. Bella was asleep by the time we got there. I put her to bed and fed the other three. Hope didn’t seem to be hurting anymore. She asked for seconds and drank two cups of milk. After that, the girls went to play while I put Brooks down for a nap. Just as he dozed off, Bella popped up and we snuck out the room. Around that same time, Tia arrived, only to seal herself in front of the bathroom mirror to apply makeup. Tia’s boyfriend showed up around 2:30 but had to wait for Tia to finish getting ready, beautifying herself to go to the pediatrician’s office. I made casual conversation about their newly announced pregnancy and his new car. Hope complained that she didn’t need to go to the doctor anymore. Her ear was all better now and she asked me for more milk. I poured the last of it in a to-go cup for her as they rushed out the door at about 3:30pm. I absent-mindedly set the empty carton down, as I held Bella, who’d been upset when Tia’s boyfriend picked her up her against her will. Brooks had also woken up amidst all the commotion and I fed him a late lunch and then we all three played for a while.
It was 5pm. Time to clean the kitchen and start dinner. As I threw the empty milk carton away, I realized, that was the last of the milk. “Oh well, We’ll survive ’till tomorrow,” I reasoned to myself, but then it dawned on me: Today is the 2nd. “I think I have a WIC voucher that expires today.” Sure enough, I did. Use it or lose it.
WIC is short for Women, Infants, and Children. It is a government program that provides vouchers for very particular food items such as milk, bread, juice, cereal, and eggs. WIC shopping is not easy. There may be only five items on the list, but it is very specific about brand and quantities. If you don’t get exactly what the grocery store scanner passes, the clerk calls the manager, they spend 10 minutes searching for the item in a WIC catalog before either overriding the system or explaining to you why the item you picked out doesn’t meet the WIC criteria. All this while you have other people with carts full of groceries in line behind you growing impatient and three wiggly kids in front on you begging for the candy gazing at them right at their eye levels. I am extremely appreciative for the WIC program. I just wish it were a little easier to do. Or a lot easier…