Dear Habitat Supporters and Volunteers,
I wanted to write to you a note thanking you for all your hard work, and for making the dream of homeownership a reality for my family. I spent almost two weeks thinking of the right words to express the true impact of the work you do, and everything I thought of seemed not enough. While I expected the physical challenges of this process, I was not as prepared for the emotional ones. Those are harder words to find.
When my 12-year-old son and I went to the Habitat office to choose carpeting from some samples, I saw that he was in an emotional process too. I tasked him with choosing the carpeting and it took longer than either of us thought it would. We’d never chosen carpet before.
We’ve never had to decide on what to do with the space in our yard. We’ve never been able to have a pet without hiding it.
Or to paint the walls whatever color we’d like.
I’ve lived in apartments all my life. My family moved almost every year as our city fell victim to big investors and gentrification. My son has spent his 12 years doing the same. I stopped counting how many times I’ve moved in my life after 40. My older children, who have a different father, were sent to live with him as they were entering those chaotic middle and high school years. It would have been too disruptive and damaging for them to not have a stable home at that difficult age. It was a good choice and not a choice at all.
We’ve never had the luxury of choices as a family. So, the emotional part is the processing of a new reality; one which includes things like choosing to carpet. I can unpack the boxes I never unpack because there’s no point. I’m not even sure what’s in them. I can buy furniture that I like, instead of furniture that will be easy to move in a year or two. It’s almost unfathomable to me that an entirely new life, with new possibilities and choices, is around the corner for us. My son will be able to make friends, go through high school with them, graduate with them, and maybe even go to college with them. Because of you, he now gets to have the same stability his brother and sister had, and I will be the one to provide it for him.
The effect this has had on my feelings of self-worth as a mother has been enormous. Your hard work goes far beyond building homes. You are building spirits.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for every single thing you’ve done to support Habitat. Your contributions are changing families for generations to come.
As long as this letter is, it’s still not enough words.