I don't qualify for WIC.
Which is, for some reason, absolutely shocking to other parents my age. When I tell them that I don't get WIC their eyes widen, jaws drop a little, and sometimes they manage to utter, "Huh...?" They can't seem to figure out how Jellybean and I aren't living in a cardboard box behind Burger King without government assistance.
My family falls in the unfortunate category of making juuuust too much money to qualify for WIC, but also juuuust too little money to have anything left over after rent. However, having no brothers or sisters, I do qualify for MAD. What is MAD, you ask? Mom And Dad.
That's right. My parents buy Jellybean's baby formula. Without me ever having to ask. Although I am extremely grateful, I am also a little embarrassed. When I come home from work and see a case of Simliac sitting on my doorstep I experience mixed emotions of relief and shame. It isn't easy to admit that I can't take care of my daughter all on my own.
"We don't do it for you, we do it for Jellybean," my mom tells me. But I should be doing it for Jellybean.
It's always the guilt that gets us, isn't it, moms? I put so much effort into making sure that she gets good nutrition, regular doctor checkups, lots of love, quality time with me, quality time with all grandparents, and everything else all while holding down a full time job--and I will float my boat and say that I'm doing a damn good job. But at the end of the day, I still need help. By myself, I am unable to provide her with formula, a college fund, or even a father who cares enough to spend a little time with her.
So, I still need help. I know how lucky I am to have parents like mine. I know how loved I am. You never realize quite how much your parents love you until you become one. I look at Jellybean with so much love there aren't even words for it and think, Wow. This is how much my mom loves me... So I suck it up and I accept the free formula. They're doing it for Jellybean. And, even if they don't say so, they enjoy being able to take care of me in this way. Because that's what MAD is all about.