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Life Isn’t Fair

We’ve all heard it said that life isn’t fair. It’s a quip we make when some minor inconvenience mucks up our day or keeps us from getting our own way. For most of us here on the net, life has probably than kinder than we acknowledge on a day-to-day basis. I have a roof over my head. Every time the wind blows I hold my breath at it’s creakings, and when it rains I walk the rooms checking for leaks — but so far it’s still a roof. I am able to eat whenever I please and pretty much whatever I please. I drive a nice, fairly new car. My bills are paid — mostly. There’s one here from the power company I am a little afraid to open.

Sure I have a few horrible instances in my past that I can point at and say, “Foul!” My mom died when I was a baby. I had a step-mom that made Cinderella’s look kind. There seems to be little fairness there, but today I saw reason to be thankful for the truly minor unfairnesses in my life.

At church tonight I held a five week old baby in my arms who weighs less than ten pounds. She is in foster care. Her birth mother has never seen her. The state welfare division is currently striving to get one of the two men who could possibly be her father to take financial responsibility. This child is literally of no value to the people who created her.

I held this baby and rocked her and talked to her while her foster mother ate. The baby’s big brown eyes focused on my face without wavering. She did not smile. She did not blink. She did not wiggle. If I stopped moving and talking she would whimper, other than that she was unresponsive — like holding a hard, plastic doll in my arms. There was no softness to her. No bend. No cuddle. Could she talk, this child would have the right to claim that life isn’t fair. The only heritage her parents gave her willingly, was their addiction to methamphetamines.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. oh how sad. my heart aches. babies are straight from heave. so pure, so sweet.

    you are right, that life has been already been full of chaos and dissapointments. at her early age, she already knows adults can suck and so often priorities go out the window in the quest for the next rush.

    she has also, already seen that not all grownups are cold. that God puts many on earth to help in raising the poor kids who suffer at the hands of addiction. she also knows of tender arms, even if she herself hasn’t reacted back.

    she has seen the worst life has to offer and has felt the best life can give.

    so thank you for that foster mom. she has the opportunity to change someone’s future. may she do it with love and patience and God’s Graces. and thank you to you, for loving this little one and holding her and showing her, that there are really caring people out there.

    your childhood should have been better. your ex husband should have known better. but it wasn’t and he wasn’t. yet, you don’t let their ghost keep you from being caring, kind and loving. you are a walking example of what can be, regardless of shitty, forgive my english, circumstances.

    good for you sweet. you are a fighter and a lovely one at that.

  2. Makes me angry and so frustrated.

    I too had a bit of a rough spot as a child, horrible Mom, really horrible Stepmom ….but here I am 29 years later, still a live and kicking and better off than I ever thought I would be.
    Despite everything, I got health, half a brain and a pinch of optimism that will carry me trough life.
    That baby doesn´t has and likely never will have a fair chance!

    Makes me angry!

  3. Thanks, Quill. There’s cause for optimism, though. As Minka said, something like this is the prelude to almost every great human story.

    Uhh, not that Minka’s so great, of course… 🙂

  4. Chana — I thought of you as I wrote this post. That baby could use a large dose of your love.

    OC — I’ll take the hug — you can keep the hanky, Dearest. But, thanks for offering.

    Minka — that baby has one heck of a foster mother. All hope is not lost.

    Pauline — too much of life is.

    Al — I agreed with you right up until that last bit ….

  5. that’s really sad.. when i was growing up, i use to think that my life isnt fair and how much i hated it and wanted out.

    but then i grew up and learned that no matter how bad your life is, some people have it worse. you should just be thankful to be alive..

  6. Life isn’t fair, life just is.

    Unfortunately addiction has far too many victoms, and the ones who suffer the most have the least, like the baby. God bless the foster mom, God bless you, and I will keep the little one in prayers.

    Quilly, except for the Gym thing, you are my hero! (I am for exercising, just anti-gym person cause they cost more than I can afford!)

  7. I was so glad to see you comment that she has a great foster mother. I will never understand why the children must suffer for their parents ignorance.

  8. Jos — ditto, but all things considered, I had life easy.

    Jan — here trying to walk outside is much more risky than forking out gym bucks. Plus, I was talking to my sis the other night and my gym costs per YEAR what hers does per month. That’s crazy!

    Jenn — she has a whole loving church family, too.

    Kat — not just the physical suffering, but what kind of emotional scars might this leave? To grow up as a discard in a material word is a bitter, lonely thing.

  9. I think human nature makes up complain more than compliment. Reading this post today, one realizes how lucky we really are.

    Thanks for sharing, the wee bairn truly is lucky to have a foster mom who cares for her.

  10. Quilly, you poured love into that child. Methamphetamine is pure evil. It is evil personified if ever there was a way to personify it.

  11. Life is not fair. The rich have too much. The poor have too little. Your health care depends on your income. Unfairness is every where. But there are people like you who reach out and help to make the world in all of its unfairness a better place.

  12. Bill — yes, we gripe far too casually — myself included.

    Charlie — indeed

    Gawpo — I agree.

    Dr. John — and people like you.

    Nessa — I wish I remembered that more often.

  13. This is so sad. I remember once (or maybe a hundred times…) whining to my wise mom that life isn’t fair. Her reply nine times out of ten would be “I don’t know who ever told you life is fair, but it wasn’t me.” Or she would end it with “but they lied to you.” I have a friend I went to college with who works in an NICU and many, many of the babies they see are born to drug abusing mothers. I’ve told her I admire how professional she is to be able to not slap the snot out of those mothers! Of course, I feel some compassion for the mothers because they don’t want to have a drug addiction, but have much more compassion for the innocent babies that are born with the deck stacked against them from the time they take their first breath.

  14. Brooke — I got to hold her again tonight. She is so tiny and so fragile and while part of my heart melts I also get angry — and frustrayed, because there is no target for my anger.

  15. Life can be difficult, we all have our challenges. You are doing a wonderful job of showing compassion. Love from the east coast…

  16. A very moving post quilldancer, sadly not just unique to your part of the world. Makes me think about “human rights” and how that phrase is so often used to defend the indefensible.

  17. Ohhhhhh that is sooooooo sad. Just so sad. Doesn’t it just make you want to take her in and love her for always? This just breaks my heart….

  18. I was in the foster care system for my first six weeks, but thank God not addicted to anything. But I do wish that these children were up for permanent adoption almost immediately. Enough of this “reuniting families” garbage that keeps children in a system for years. I understand there are cases where the parents want and need help. But cases like this? I’ll take her! I’m sure many other people here would, too!

    As an adoptee, it hits me really hard how children in this system are treated like puppies at a pound. I got chosen by an okay family. But at least I was put out there in the first place.

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