Fall 2009, just 4 months after relocating to the U.S. midnight paper route A single stream of light blanketed the room and served as a reminder to quietly roll off the mattress that mom and dad had purchased from the thrift store and rise to prepare for the morning route. A faded diploma in Speech comm. and years of being a stay at home mom made options limited when searching for employment. The two youngest children suffered from extreme separation anxiety and even a simple trip to the restroom required promises to never leave and assurances that I would return within minutes. They accompanied me to my job as a cook for a girl’s co-op on campus and so the supplemental income of a paper route or perhaps two, seemed logical and almost easy. The older kids would be in the next room sleeping and I would slip in and out without notice. Each of my two older girls agreed to help take turns and so our little adventure began.
The stack grew wider and taller and was finally deposited on the back seat of the Suburban. Cuts on fingers from winding and wrapping rubber bands had now turned to hard rough scars, resistant to further damage or pain. Small town lights flashed yellow and red, a signal only surpassed by the harvest moon that illuminated our usual routine through darkened country roads. At first it had been tough remembering the various homes that took one of three newspapers but soon it became automatic and something that would be recalled for years to come. It seemed like a good idea at the time, an easy way to help support my family and our new life back in the States. I would be home by 5 a.m. just in time to get breakfast on and wake the two boys who attended public school. The youngest children would not be panicked by my absence and their siblings were there in case they woke. But now it had become a burden, gas for mom and dad’s vehicle was not worth the money made delivering the morning news. Just one more week and it would be over and back to what had become our new normal.