For as long as I can remember I’ve had ONE dream for my life. There have always been constellations of additions to the dream, floating like butterflies gently landing in my heart and then flitting away. All the while, leaving the core of who I am: I have always been a wife and mother.
Just like so many other girls of earlier generations I imagined what and who my husband would be. I imagined our home, our children and the way in which we would love one another. I imagined having a family. I never fully pictured the faces names or types of people they would all be. I simply always left the place in my heart open for the man who would be the man I loved and for the little people that we would bring into our life through that love.
Even as a young kid I can remember thinking it wasn’t ok to want to be “just a mother” as primary goal for my life. My parents were divorced and both deeply unhappy people. My father has been married and divorced four times now. My mother was single the entirety of my child and young adulthood. She did remarry while I was in college to a man who had three daughters of his own. From where I sat (very far from them in another state as well as on another planet emotionally) from my mother; it seemed she had settled for something less than she wanted. She and I have had a deeply strained relationship since I was 14 and I preferred distance and walls for my safety. They both still seemed deeply unhappy. My father even went so far as to tell me that I should never get married.
Thanks to all of that I kept my hearts desire quietly to myself and to a very few friends. I also wanted to do something in my life that would change the lives of other people for the better. I eventually found social work and felt that it was my vocational home. It’s core values mirrored my own. I felt I could do this work as a natural extension of who I was at the heart. I was excited. All the while keeping an eye out for that man who would join me on my journey.
I’ve loved three men in my life with all of my heart. The second of which I loved more than I thought was possible to ever love anyone. I knew exactly who he was, all his cracks and broken-ness. All his weaknesses and strengths. As many of his secrets as I could pry from his guarded heart. I guarded my own just as fiercely out of fear of having it shattered beyond repair . I left him out of fear that I would repeat the mistakes I watched my father make. I was desperate to avoid being a man’s “savior” or have a man try to be mine. There is only One Savior and that is Christ. Leaving him broke my heart but left me feeling I have somehow made progress; moved closer to the man I was meant to find. (Secretly hoping that it would motivate the man I left to become that man b/c I believed he could).
The man I dated after that seemed to be a nice man but was never someone I loved. He was someone, I freely admit, that I used to fill the empty space left in my broken heart. He was verbally and emotionally abusive. It was the quiet kind of abuse that sneaks into you and starts to chip away at all the strength that you build in your soul. For reasons only God will know, this is the man who became the father of the only child I have ever carried in my womb. This fact broke my heart from the beginning but only for the child I carried. I realized that the bad decisions I had made and the weakness that I allowed to keep me with the wrong man will now cost my child a debt she never asked for. She will be burdened for the rest of her life with all the weakness, cruelty and self- centeredness that the man who helped create her keeps in his heart. For me this is as close to an unforgivable sin as can exist in my world.
I left this man. I tried to learn to forgive myself for this failure. I enjoyed each and every second of my pregnancy. I reveled in how I was working hand in hand with the Heavenly Father to craft His child and work at making Good for her out of all of my failures. I prayed constantly. I watched excitedly as my belly grew (as well as the rest of me!) I loved knowing how strong my body was and how strong I knew my baby was. I loved the feel of her kick and the look of my nice round belly. I’d never felt so strong, so rooted, so connected to the creator through the work He was doing in my body and in my heart. My Father loved me back to health. We whispered to each other every night. I shared my fears and failings and He held me and shared His Love and Forgiveness. I shared my dreams for my little family and He shared His strength and His protection for us. I began to grow in confidence. This growth culminated in the birth of the amazing fighting spirit gift that is my daughter Abigail Grayce….
More to come
Continue reading Dreams and Diapers
My life has been completely changed three times so far. I’m not talking “oh I’ll drive this way to work today” or I guess I’ll change my major again”. I’m talking waking up in one world and going to sleep in a completely different one in the span of 24 hours. The first was when I was 18 and was forced to go to a court hearing between my parents that should have just been about the formality of changing custody. I wanted to spend my senior year living with my father and that had to be finalized legally. I also needed to stay on my birth mother’s insurance plan due to my disability (Cerebral Palsy). Seems simple enough given my age and the limited amount of time I would even be dependant. However, nothing about it was simple. At the risk of sounding trite, the next was the day it was verified that I was pregnant. (verified is a very purposeful choice of word, but more on that in another post). The third was the day my family and I were T-boned (is that a real phrase?) in the intersection directly in front of our apartment and my leg was shattered.
I sat in court and listened to my (birth) mother lie and lie and lie. It was so blatant that I honestly thought she was mistakenly talking about someone else. She accused me of playing up my disability, of getting in trouble at school. of always being in trouble at home and worst of all wanting to move out because I expected to have name brand products and she was “too poor” to provide them. She even had my older sister get on the stand and testify to the same general idea. Now, up to this point I had been very close to my mom. I had until recently truly believed that she loved me but was overwhelmed by having to take care of my sister, me and then my niece (who was a toddler at the time) Over the years just before this hearing she had announced when I was fifteen that she was ‘done parenting” that if we needed anything else we could handle it ourselves. She had gotten to the point that she wouldn’t even speak to me unless I stood directly in front of her and screamed. Even given all that I still chalked it up to being overwhelmed and stupidly thought that by leaving I would be lightening her load. I wasn’t being completely unselfish, I DID want attention and I DID want a chance to live with my dad and step mom and I DID want to know what it would be like to be on my own with them for a while and away from all the loneliness of what felt to me like going through adolescence with no guide. I did NOT do it to hurt her. I did NOT want things to get worse. It wasn’t really up to me. I didn’t realize it until the court date arrived.
My mother, the always impeccably dressed (if overdone for my taste) full make up, big earrings, designer clothes bag and sunglasses with big Texas hair to match arrived in court in what I can only describe as a brown sack. I think it was a pull over dress. It was plain. It was dark. It was NOT my mother. She had on almost no make up. Her hair was flat. She had on small if any jewelry. She didn’t even have her nails or hair done. I didn’t even recognize her. I had to look twice to be sure it was her. I was shocked. Our attorney told me that it is pretty common for attorneys to tell their clients to dress the part of whatever it is they are trying to convey. In this case I suppose it was poverty. I really don’t know. Throughout the day we were in the same court room and she avoided my eyes. At one point in the courthouse lunchroom she walked past me and sat with her back to me at a table three down from me. It was like I was invisible. I didn’t know what in the world to think. Each time I heard her side speak I was floored. It was one lie after another after another. When it was my turn on the stand her attorney accused me of having my CP be in remission (which btw is impossible as CP is a permanent condition NOT a disease or illness that can go into remission) I kept trying to catch my mother’s eye from the stand b/c I was trying to grasp that this was in fact the same person I had lived with my entire life. The person who used my disability to get herself attention. The person who ignored my disability almost to the point of my losing the ability to walk because she couldn’t deal with the fact that it WAS real OR because she didn’t want to pay the deductible or miss getting her premiums refunded thanks to not using the insurance all year. She refused to look at me. The longer the day went on, the more ridiculous the lies got the more I realized why she refused to look at me. She used me. She threw me under the bus to be sure that she wouldn’t have to pay for me to stay on her insurance. She was so determined to make sure that my father was punished by making him pay for my insurance that she didn’t mind using my heart and health (not to mention my sister’s) as the bullet to wound him. When it was finally over and we were all leaving the courtroom that woman I had called my mother stopped me and called out “I love you” “Call me” in a weak pathetic put on voice. I stopped dead. I turned around and starred. My mind was whirring. My ears were ringing. What the hell was going on? What did she say? Who the hell was she? I starred for a minute and so did she. Neither of us moved. She looked at me doe eyed. I wanted to vomit. I opened my mouth and rather than vomit the words FUCK YOU flew out of my mouth at top volume. I had never in my life said that to her. I had thought it over small things, bigger things, teenage things. This time, I hadn’t even meant to say it. It just flew out. I turned and walked away crying harder than I have ever and maybe since. The very next thing I remember is being in my bedroom just inside the door, still bawling, and dropping to the floor. I died that day. The child in me that believed that mothers always love their children. The child that KNEW that mothers never MEAN to hurt their daughters. The child that knew how the world worked and where she fit in it. I didn’t have a place anymore so my world stopped and my heart with it. It’s frightening when your heart breaks and you don’t die.
The next thing I remember is waking up in my bed the next day. I was told that I was essentially catatonic so my father put me in my bed and my step-mom (Lisa) tucked me in and checked on me periodically through the night. I know I woke up in a world I felt I’d never seen. I am SO thankful that this new world had two people whom I know love me and were able to help me walk though it one step at a time and remind me that I was ok and safe and loved. That all that had happened was not my fault and that there is a new way to continue in life knowing what I know now. It was nothing but a blessing. It was frightening, it was surprising, it was invigorating and exciting. It was the best and and shortest year of my life. More posts on that to come. To end this on a positive note: Life does go on, it does get better, with and without the scars left behind. Keep reading to learn more 🙂