This article was sent to me by Diane Hills, owner of the Newburgh Children’s Center on South Street in Newburgh. She wanted to express her sorrow over the death of a young mom and her three children. She wants moms to know that there are resources available when you are feeling like you can’t cope. Call the HelpLine at 800-832-1200 or 845-346-HELP. This program is sponsored by the Orange County Mental Health Association.

In the last 5 minutes she came to me. She found out that she could have two daycares to help support her ever expanding schedule. She found out by speaking to another stretched mom on the free county transportation van in 5 minutes. The driver knew of my daycare and allowed her 5 minutes to run inside and check me out.

In 5 minutes intervals over the last three months, she told me all about it:

a)      Cut hours at work and trying to find more hours

b)      CPS battles

c)       Her school and trying to advance in a career

d)      The delicate dance between welfare and workfare.

e)      Her children: seeing them off to three different locations each day; picking them up and bringing them to yet another place on work days.

In 5 minutes, I heard how she dropped her two small children to daycare. Put the other two on a bus for school. Ran to Orange County Community College.  Finished class, picked up her three, waited for her fourth, dropped them to another daycare. Went to work for 5 hours and then to daycare to pick them up.

In 5 minutes she told me about her desires for her children and yet it never happened.

In 5 minutes I told her of an opportunity to work night and rest…a little know fact the DSS will pay for overnight care for her children while she works and will pay an additional eight hours of care while mom sleeps.

And finally, on that last day of 5 minutes, I saw her. It was around 11am on Grand Street. I was leaving 48 Grand after a meeting and she was coming out of OCCC. I called out several time to get her attention.  We passed each other. “How are you?” I asked. “Oh, hi Ms. Diane. I’m coming out of class.” She looked drawn and gray.

In 5 minutes, like two ships passing in the night; that all we had.