Hi, my name is Miles and I lived at New Directions with my Mom four years ago. We moved there from Massachusetts. It was really cold there and I remember winter blizzards. I never went out and played because it would feel like I was frozen. I would have to wear three sweaters under my jacket and three pairs of socks.
We weren’t poor but we didn’t have a lot of money. We weren’t homeless, but we slept in hotels a lot. Once we got to a hotel at 1 am, and we weren’t sure we could get into our room. My eyes were super heavy. Luckily we got in but it was super late and my heart was tired. I slept in to the point where the hotel almost ran out of breakfast in the morning. That was a big problem.
Days were not that fun. We were always doing Mom’s stuff. I didn’t have any play dates, didn’t have any toys, and didn’t have any friends. Eventually I stopped going to school.
I didn’t really want to come here to live at New Directions at first. I was staying with my cousins and I was scared because I didn’t know what to expect. I knew something weird was happening. I came and everyone was a stranger.
When I first arrived I thought, hey this looks kind of fun. There was space to play and run while Mom does stuff. It felt like I was safe. It didn’t look as pretty as it does now, though. There was a full house of kids I could play with.
I would go on pass with my Mom. It was fun to go out, and I would play, and Mom was able to sit and relax. It was Mom and Son time. Seeing her so happy and stable made me feel good and happy too! I started going to school at Kaiser Woodland Elementary, and I still go there now. We lived at New Directions for three months. At first I thought it was like every woman was out for herself. I learned it wasn’t that way. The people we met at New Directions aren’t blood family, but they are family, and they love me. It was fun to have sober friends for mom and for me. Life totally changed for us.
I would always ask “Mama are you OK” when we lived in Massachusetts and even when we first moved to California. Because I realized it wasn’t just me going through it, it was BOTH of us. I wanted to make sure she was OK, and stable because we weren’t doing the best before. I stopped asking because I could tell she was happy in CA. She was ready to move out of NDFW and I could also tell she would come back and visit. She was stable and all right.
And now, my little sister Mina is here and I get to take care of her. I watched when she was being born. I almost dropped my iPad. It’s fun to be a big brother. Mom can trust me with her, and I’m going to tell her stories about me and Mom. I’m going to tell her how lucky she is. But I’m lucky too because my Mom and I have a special bond. We went through something tough and now we are strong and enjoy life together.
On Thursday nights I come and volunteer in the daycare and help our other volunteer Jenny. Sometimes the kids think they can act out. That’s where I come in. I play with them, so they’re distracted. If they get mad, I cool them off. It feels nice, and Jenny always says thank you to me. During the Alumni Christmas Party, Santa gave me a present and one of the boys that lived there liked it, so I gave it to him. Because this was his home. And, I knew I could write to Santa, and say hey Santa I know this is a little late but I gave my present away so can I have a different one?
I think about how there are people who gave money at this Breakfast before me and my Mom got here, and they didn’t know where it was going. They didn’t know Miles and his Mom – we were strangers. Just like that, you’re giving money today to people you don’t know but they are a lot like me and my Mom, and they are struggling right now.
I know that without a partial scholarship, we would not have been able to stay and get better together. Other friends of my Mom were able to come here because of a partial scholarship, too. This breakfast is so New Directions can raise scholarship money, so women and their kids can come and get better here, in a nice place.
A mother and child getting split up is probably the worst thing that can happen. It’s worse than even death. I am proud of myself for raising some money because I know where it’s going. People come here because they’re sick and they need help. If they don’t have enough money, they would just stay sick and keep doing drugs.
To me, family recovery means everything. If it wasn’t for recovery, I would still be in hotels. I would have really small birthday parties with like one present. Now I get a party at Dave and Busters and get like 12 presents. And life is good.