breaking the cycle

As you know, if you’ve been following and reading my blog for a while, there wasn’t much laughter in my childhood. When you grow up the way I did, It’s easy to become damaged. It’s easy to grow into an adult with low self esteem, believing you are totally worthless. And, if you’re not careful, it’s easy to make your own children believe the same thing.

Yes, you heard me right. After all, how do you learn to parent? How do you know how to discipline your children, how to encourage them? If your parents brought you chicken noodle soup when you were sick, wouldn’t that be what you’d give your child if they were sick? Why? Because, we are trained to believe that the way our parents raise us is the right way. Even if their way makes us feel, well, less than loved; we still think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Have you ever heard the saying, “The abused becomes the abuser?” It sounds absurd, right? I can remember saying that I would never treat my kids the way I was treated when I was growing up. And unfortunately, I had picked up some pretty bad habits. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I was even a fraction of the meanster (yes, that’s how I saw it) that I grew up with. But, I will admit that in my attempts to make my children understand the depths of their mistakes, I know I went a little too far. I can remember my husband saying to me, “Remember how you felt when your dad talked to you that way?” Stupid… that’s exactly how I would feel. And I remember the first time one of my kids told me that I made them feel stupid. And the first time wasn’t the last. Something had to change.

I had to break the cycle. And I did.

Now, I am not trying to make excuses. I am just saying that I didn’t know any better. I can assure you and I hope you know me well enough to believe that I am not the type of person that is mean because I enjoy it. There are truly some sick people who actually find pleasure in seeing others suffer. That is definitely not me. My kids know that I have always wanted what is best for them. I just went about it the wrong way… in the beginning.

I had to re-learn what a parent was supposed to be. I had to learn to accept constructive criticism from my husband. It wasn’t easy, I had to realize that it was okay for him to tell me when I was wrong because he was doing it for my good. He wasn’t putting me down for my shortcomings. He wasn’t trying to make me feel stupid. He was trying to help and thank God, it worked!

With my husband’s help, my children’s patience and with God given wisdom, I became a phenomenal mom. I am absolutely far from perfect, any one of my kids could attest to that, but they know that I want the best for them. I want them to be better than I ever was. Even after all the mistakes I have made, my kids will never have to question if they are loved. I believe that makes me a successful mom, if nothing more.

 

 

10 things i learned in 2016

  1. You are going to disappoint yourself.
    • You are human, you will make mistakes. It’s what you learn from those mistakes that really matter.
  2. People are going to disappoint you.
    • People are human and they will make mistakes. It’s how you react to their mistakes that define what kind of person you are.
  3. People will cause you hurt, that includes family, friends and strangers.
    • Forgive those who hurt you, even if they do not ask for it.
  4. You will hurt others, intentionally or unintentionally, but you will hurt them.
    • Ask for forgiveness.
  5. It’s okay to walk away.
    • You can forgive someone and still know that they cannot be a part of your life.
  6. Happiness is important.
    • Happiness comes from people, things and circumstances. Be sure to surround yourself with the people and things that make you happy and distance yourself from those that bring you down.
  7. A positive attitude is a must.
    • Seeing the good in bad situations can often make those situations look ‘not so bad.’
  8. True friends are a blessing.
    • Appreciate those who encourage and support you. Appreciate their honesty even when the truth hurts. Know they are trying to help because they love you.
  9. Joy comes from the Lord.
    • Never let anyone steal your joy!
  10. I am a work in progress.
    • Because I am human, I will never be perfect. However, I will strive to live according to God’s Word and Will. And I will forever be thankful for His love, mercy and grace.

2016 gave me a lot of reasons to mope around and feel sorry for myself, but with the help of an amazing God, an awesome family and incredible friends, I was able to count my blessings instead of focusing on my troubles. My goal for 2017 is to be an awesome mother and wife and an incredible friend. If I can make a positive impact on the lives of my family and friends, the way they did on me, I will consider it a success!

via Daily Prompt: Mope

search me: faded memories

“Scars are just another kind of memory.” – M. L. Stedman

Technology is wonderful, I think most of us would agree. In 2009, I ran into an old friend that I went to high school with. She talked me into joining Facebook. “It’s a great way to catch up with friends,” she said. “All of our old friends are on there.” Since then, I’ve connected with a lot of freinds from my past. We reminisce about the way things were and things we did years ago. Weird thing is, I don’t remember half of the things they tell me about.

When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time with my cousins. This was back when we still had family gatherings, back when my grandmother was still alive. I remember some things, good and bad, about our time together. But even when they tell me stories now, I don’t remember half of those things either. I can even look at a picture and not recall the event in which it was taken. It just feels so strange!

I have heard about repressed memories. You know, those memories that are unconciously blocked because they’re associated with some sort of trauma or stress. I really don’t know if that’s what it is, all I know is I truly do not remember much about my childhood. The memories that I do have, well, there are some that are bad and some that are happy. And those memories, they are as vivid in my mind as if the events happened yesterday.

I may never know exactly why I don’t remember what I can’t and why I can remember what I do, but there has to be a reason for it. Maybe it is my way of protecting myself. I have heard it said that “One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.”

via Daily Prompt: Faded

search me: letting go

Let it go, let it go… hard to believe such great advice could come from a character in a Disney movie. Thanks Elsa! Even if it’s just for the holidays, I’m letting it all go!

I want to enjoy this season. I can say that as a kid, I never enjoyed the holiday season. It seemed that every Thanksgiving and every Christmas, something went wrong. It usually, okay… always, involved my parents. Sometimes, the holidays bring families closer and other times; well, they bring out the worst in people. My parents would tend to argue during the holidays. When I was younger, we would divide our time up between my mom’s family and our family (which consisted of mom, dad, me, my brother and my dad’s friends). We would first go to my grandmother’s house where we would spend time with my aunts, uncles and cousins on my mom’s side. Then we would go home where we would sit around while my dad’s friends came and went the rest of the day.

The fighting would start when times for leaving home to go to my grandma’s and times that we had to return home to accommodate my dad’s friends were discussed. You see, my mom thought spending time with her family took priority over spending time with my dad’s friends. My dad, well that’s another story. Nothing took precedent over his friends. We would eventually leave the house and go to grandma’s, once mom was in a snit and us kids were just annoyed. My dad would do the pleasantries while he was there, but you could always tell he’d rather be somewhere, anywhere else. We would finally leave and end up home, where there was usually one or two of those friends I mentioned waiting. My dad would finally finish off his perfect holiday by drinking with his friends until they would leave and he’d pass out.

I have vague memories of the holidays I spent with my mom’s family. She has four sisters and three brothers and for some odd reason, none of them ever really got along. Needless to say, there isn’t one memory that doesn’t involve an argument between two or more people. The fight could start over any little thing; and of course, there was often alcohol involved here as well.

When I was old enough to avoid the gatherings at my grandmother’s, I did. I guess it also got so bad as time went on, that even my parents stopped going to my grandma’s for the holidays. The only negative, we missed spending time with my grandma. None of this was her fault.

During my early adulthood, I began to avoid going to my parents for the holidays. It wasn’t too hard considering I had moved to another state. Even after moving back to my hometown, I still avoided it as much as possible. In recent times, we have had a sort of falling out. Tomorrow will be the first holiday that I purposefully will not contact my parents; even to say Happy Thanksgiving.

I have also recently had a falling out of sorts with my oldest son. He believes that his father and I are mad at him because he’s made the choice to live with his bio mom. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We are just concerned for his future, that’s all. I did invite him to dinner tomorrow, and though he never really answered; I know where he will be spending his day. I can’t say I blame him. It’s the first holiday he’s been able to spend with his biological mom in almost seven years. I really do get it; I’m just happy that he will be happy.

Tomorrow I will be cooking our first Thanksgiving dinner in our new home (well, we’ve been here ten months). My mother in law and her friend, my brother in law and nephews will be joining us. I am anticipating an amazing time!

With this being said, I am making a choice to let it all go. I know that God says I am to forgive those that have wronged me. I include my parents and my son in that category. Intentional or not, they have wronged me or hurt me over and over again for years. Even though they have never said ‘I’m sorry’ and I may never forget the hurt, I know I must forgive them and move on. If that means not having them in my life, then that must also be part of God’s plan. I will let go and trust Him with all things.

To my readers: I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! Whether spent with family or friends or even alone, I wish you all the best tomorrow.

Happy Writing!

 

custody

The house was absolutely filthy. He couldn’t imagine how anyone could live in such a disaster. He had heard stories, yes, but he never imagined it had become this bad.

They had decided to sue for custody of the children. There were just too many issues that he couldn’t ignore. All three of them were failing school; they had missed more days than they had attended this year. When they did go, they were bullied because they were “dirty and smelly.” How could they not be when they had no time to take baths and laundry was never done. According to the kids, when they did go to school, they were picked up immediately afterwards and spent until eleven or twelve at night running the town with their mom. She would be out visiting her friends and dragging them along. They didn’t have time to do homework and when they got home, they were too exhausted to take baths. They’d climb into beds with no sheets or blankets on them and pass out until it was time to start all over again the next morning.

He would pick them up every other Friday for his weekend visitation. They would go out to dinner on those nights and would often have to go shopping for new clothes first. They were never dressed to go out. Clothes were either too small or too stained to be appropriate. Although he worked, nights, he would spend every moment he could with them. When he had to sleep during the day, his new wife would take them to lunch and a movie or to the park. They enjoyed their weekends together, but he dreaded taking them back home on Sundays.

This was no way for any child to live. When they met with the lawyer to discuss custody, they provided her with all their concerns. She was also given pictures of the current state of the house. The lawyer filed the paperwork with the court and a date was set.

He walked into the mediation room and was very apprehensive. He still cared for his ex-wife. After all, she was the mother of his children. He would always care for her; however, the well-being of his kids was more important. He knew this would be hard, but it had to be done. Their lawyers were each given an opportunity to question both of them. He found the questions asked of his wife excruciatingly painful. He didn’t want her to be humiliated, he didn’t want to make her feel bad, but he also didn’t want her to think that it was okay for their kids to be raised this way. At times, he wanted to crawl under the table until it was all over.

The moment came when his lawyer handed the pictures of the house to the judge. Pictures that showed dishes that had been in the sink for days, noted by the red ring, caused by spaghetti sauce, around the sink and the bugs flying around it. The pictures of the bedrooms showed unmade beds with no sheets or blankets on them; trash, such as empty Capri-sun pouches and candy bar wrappers, just thrown on the floor. The floors of the closets were a mixture of clean and dirty clothes, along with empty food containers and miscellaneous garbage. Papers and trash covered almost every surface of the living room.

The judge took an extremely brief glance at a few of the pictures, turned to him and asked, “When can you pick the children up?”

via Daily Prompt: Filthy

nothing before ‘but’ matters

What her father said…

  • She is very pretty, but she could stand to lose a little weight.
  • She caught her first fish, but she couldn’t take the fish off the hook by herself.
  • She has a beautiful voice, but she talks too much.
  • She gets good grades, but she has no common sense.
  • She is a good cook, but she burned dinner last night.
  • I love her, but she makes me angry.

What his daughter heard…

  • She could stand to lose a little weight.
  • She couldn’t take her fish off the hook by herself.
  • She talks too much.
  • She has no common sense.
  • She burned dinner last night.
  • She makes me angry.

growing up mommy (pt. 7)

a continuation of growing up mommy (pt. 6)

the youngest baby…

He was seven years old when he moved in with us.  Just the cutest little boy I’d ever seen. Little did I know that he’d capture my heart the way he did.

a miracle child…

To his biological mom, he was known as the miracle baby.  From what I understand, she was diagnosed with cancer.  According to the doctors, her pregnancy slowed the progression of that cancer and ultimately saved her life.  Hence, the baby saved her.  I am assuming that situation created a special bond between mother and son.  This what a different kind of bond than the one she shared with her oldest child.  And remember, there wasn’t much of a bond at all with her daughter.

adjusting to the move…

I guess the family dynamic, that was the biological mom and children, was a little dysfunctional from the start.  But alas, this is about my baby boy.  When he moved in, I believe he adjusted the quickest.  He was a happy, witty child.  His one liners would make us laugh until our bellies hurt.  He got that from his daddy.  Now there’s a bond that would rival most.  I’d have to say, this little boy had his daddy’s looks and quick humor.  The two of them together was like a self made comedy act.  Dinner time was the best, it was like a meal and a show every night and my favorite time of the day.

mommy issues…

He had the hardest time dealing with his bio mom’s sporadic visits.  Every three or four months, she and her boyfriend would show up and keep the kids for a weekend.  Every time they dropped the kids off at home, my little boy would cry for hours.  I think, at the time, it was because he just never knew when she’d show up again.  It broke my heart.  And just so you know, this is another reason that the visits had to stop.  It just wasn’t healthy for any of the kids.

growing closer…

Maybe it’s because he was so young, maybe it was because he was desperate for a mother figure, but we grew close fairly quickly and I immediately became momma.  But, I became much more than that.  We would watch shows together, I’d read to him, he’d read to me and eventually, we came up with a nickname.  I really don’t remember how it came about, but for the last four years, I’ve been his Punkin and he’s been mine.  Not pumpkin, mind you, but Punkin.  Every text and every phone call, every time I tuck him in bed, it ends with “I love you Punkin.”  Now my “baby” boy is sixteen years old.  No matter how old he gets, he’s always going to be my Punkin.

This boy holds my heart in the palm of his hand…

growing up mommy (pt. 5):

via Daily Prompt: Expert

…continued from growing up mommy (pt. 4)

A little about my oldest…

He was a momma’s boy. We are talking about his bio mom.  When we won custody of them, we picked them up on a Sunday night.  We got home and I began to cook dinner.  He was helping me in the kitchen and just out of the blue, he said, “I really wanted to live with momma.”  I told him I understood and I knew this must be hard for him.  But I assured him that his mother would always be a part of his life.  Then he told me that she sat all three of them down and said that since they were living with me, they could call me momma if they wanted to.  He told me that he’d never feel comfortable calling me that.  My first thought was, how could a mother tell her kids it’s ok to call another woman that and my second thought was disappointment that he wouldn’t feel comfortable calling me that.  Again, this was a new experience for me.  I was definitely not an expert on the emotions of children.  Boy was I going to learn!  Right off the bat, the other two were “momma this and momma that…”  I have to admit, I liked it.

We got engaged and then it happened…

About a year after the kids moved in, their father proposed to me. I remember my oldest saying that maybe when we got married, he might be ok calling me momma.  I really think that up until I had an engagement ring on my finger, he had hopes that his mother and father would get back together.  That didn’t bother me.  I mean, it’s normal for kids to want their parents together, but I think he realized it wasn’t going to happen when we got engaged.  So a couple of months later, we were sitting down to dinner.  It was his turn to say the blessing.  I can still remember the words… Dear God, thank you for this food and thank you for my family, please bless daddy and momma and my brother and sister.  Amen.  I am not sure I would have questioned it and fortunately, I didn’t have to. When he was done, he looked at me and said, “Did you hear what I said?”  I responded with a yes and he replied, “I was talking about you, momma.”  I have to admit, I got a little emotional.  Actually, after I hugged him and told him I loved him,  I went straight to my bedroom and cried like a baby.  It was a big step for him for so many reasons.

He now knows where we stand…

I know he was afraid that he was betraying his biological mom, even though she told him it was ok. This is why I never pushed him regarding his feelings for me.  I just hoped that one day he would realize that I loved him and wanted what was best for him.  Through a lot of years and a lot of ups and downs, he knows exactly how I feel today.  He is my son and nothing will ever change that.

We have such an amazing relationship…

growing up mommy (pt. 4)

…a continuation of growing up mommy (pt. 3)

So much has happened…

I guess I should start by saying that my kids have not seen their biological mother in six and a half years.  You may be asking yourself, “How does that happen?”  Well, a lot of things took place that eventually got us to our current situation. None of these things were good.

Priorities…

As you can imagine, it takes a lot for a mother to lose custody of her children. I don’t want to go into too much detail on specific events, because 1) this isn’t about her losing custody, it’s about me learning how to be a mom and 2) some things should just be kept private. What I will say is that there were drugs involved. With that being said, addiction can cause a person to do some pretty crazy things. They are just not themselves and they lose sight of their priorities. Let’s just say our kids were not a priority to her. Their safety and well-being were put on the back burner during visitation weekends and things happened. Eventually, we had to take a stand in order to protect them. We made the decision that she could not take the children anywhere or be alone with them. She didn’t argue.

I did what I had to…

I never wanted to take her place, but that’s where I found myself… being Momma. For the last ten years, these three amazing gifts from God have been my life. Well, them along with their daddy. We’ve had struggles, the usual ups and downs. Along the way, my husband shared God with me and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My son and daughter did the same (my oldest is still struggling, but we can talk about that later). The last ten years have been the craziest, happiest and most rewarding years of my life.  My world, that used to seem like a miniature model without much significance, grew into something that I’d never imagined.  I can’t say I would change anything, but I can say that I wish their mother could have experienced all that I have. Instead, she’s missed out on the most important parts of their lives.

She was allowed to come to our house to visit, she could call them, text them or communicate with them on Facebook. We did NOT want to cut her out of their lives.

Unfortunately, she did that on her own…

For the first two years that we implemented supervised visitation, she had no contact with them and when she finally came around, they wanted nothing to do with her, that’s where we are today… six and a half years later.

Time flies…

Now the “kids” are 16, 18 and 21 and they are still teaching me what it means to be a mom.

 

 

 

 

who I was

Back in my youth
I was a nothing
Always striving to
Become something
Things were hard
And I seem to recall
Every time my
Heart would fall
The past left an affect
That still lingers now
Although I survived
I just don't know how 
Nothing I would change 
About my troubled past
I wouldn't take back
Any stones I have cast
Because now I know 
On my feet I'll land
Because it's all part
Of His master plan