“Sorry I didn’t take your call right away,” Britain told The Lima News. “I thought you might have been a bill collector!”
It’s been like that, the 28-year-old Britain explained, especially since last summer, when she lost a roommate with whom she had been splitting the $550-a-month rent on the house she rents.
“He owed me $1,500,” she said.
A year earlier, she said, her ex-boyfriend got into an accident while driving her car, totaling two vehicles and leaving her on the hook for about $20,000 in damages.
Then, on Labor Day — a day of rest for some, but not for Britain, who had just started a new part-time job — her home was burglarized.
“They came in through the back door,” she said. “They took a TV, they took my son’s PlayStation.” According to Lima Police Department officials, they also took Britain’s wallet and her bank card.
It’s challenging enough raising 6- and 4-year-old boys alone, harder still when bad luck accrues like bills in the mailbox.
She filed for bankruptcy to deal with the bill collectors. She reached out to the Salvation Army and the Empty Stocking program to keep her debts from mounting even higher.
“I’m just worried I’m not going to be able to provide my kids with a nice Christmas,” she said. “I love Christmas! It’s my favorite time of year.”
Her boys are into boy things: playing video games, cops and robbers, cars. The 6-year-old likes Nerf blasters and other foam play toys.
“He wants to be a cop when he grows up,” Britain said.
Her 4-year-old loves the sea and the creatures in it, inspired by the BBC animated children’s series, “The Octonaughts.”
“His teacher called me the other day. They were talking about dolphins and sharks and someone brought a shark in and called it a dolphin. And he said, ‘No, that’s a shark, you can tell by his tail,’ and he went on and on about it,” said Britain, smiling and laughing, her face flushed with pride. “The teacher said, ‘Where’d he learn that?’”
The bills were forgotten for a moment.
“My kids, having a Christmas,” she said. “That’s all I need.”
Reach Amy Eddings at 567-242-0379 or Twitter, @lima_eddings.