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I remember the day I found out I was pregnant how scared I was. Growing up in a big family and seeing the evil in the world first hand made me not ever want to have kids. I had a successful career and that’s all I ever wanted from life. Nonetheless, here I was staring at a pregnancy test that showed I was indeed pregnant despite the precautions I took.
I even fainted.
I was in such shock. The father had always wanted a family and despite him being my boyfriend from high school I really didn’t think our relationship would last. We were headed in two different directions with our careers, both required travel and we wanted different things in life. I never wanted to be the stay at home housewife and mother, not unless they could give me whatever the wives of the 50s were taking.
After my fear and shock, I accepted it as a miracle and did what every new mom does, start getting ready and trying to be excited. A few months later I watched in horror as planes flew into the twin towers. Now my fears were in a completely new direction. I knew at that moment the world as I knew it was about to change.
Did I really want to bring a child into a world about to go into war? At the time life was good, the economy was good, people were making money but that day changed everything.
With all my fears, worries and doubts 18 years ago today I delivered a 7lb 11oz 21in long healthy baby boy. I was in 36 hours of induced hard labor because he was hard-headed even entering this world. From day one he gave me hell. I was a new young mother, the first of my friends to have a kid and my family was nowhere around. I had taken a pause from my career to be a mom and moved back to his father’s hometown where we would have his family’s help, but there never was much help.
I literally had no idea what I was doing. If not for the guidance and patience of his doctor I probably wouldn’t have made it.
He cried all the time and I held him constantly, I wouldn’t let him out of my sight, I made homemade food, kept the house clean, disinfected everything, was very cautious of who was around him. I’m pretty sure I messed him up from the beginning. I was exactly in the place I never wanted to be and gave up the very things I wanted most in life to be his mother. His father would rather be out partying with his friends, so I was alone and in those early months a bond was formed.
Motherhood has been both my biggest accomplishment and greatest failure. After my daughter was born I was forced to give my career up entirely and eventually things didn’t work out with their father. I had to move 1000 miles away to get away from him and start over with two young kids. Their father would die a few years later which has forever left them scared and feeling abandoned.
Unfortunately, my choice in men over the years didn’t ever produce a father figure for either one of them. I have made many mistakes along the way as a mother and a person in general. Sometimes I wonder if I had done things differently would the outcome be better.
My son was willful from the beginning. He held his head up at 11 days old and head-butted me, chipping my front tooth. He basically hit the ground running as soon as he could crawl, he was walking than running. I couldn’t keep him out of anything, he would find a way around any lock or safety feature. He taught himself to ride a bike at 3 when his doctor heard that he was shocked, the average kid doesn’t have the motor skills to ride a bike until they are 6.
Needless to say, my curious mischievous son kept me on my toes his entire life.
I knew something very early on about him. He was extremely intelligent and could figure things out most adults didn’t understand but he never was a very good student. I knew that those qualities would either lead him to do great things in life or land him in prison.
He is a natural-born hustler.
When he was 5 he would do chores to get me to buy these 5 packs of hot wheel cars. I just really thought he liked hot wheels. What I came to learn is he was taking them to school and selling them each for what I paid for 5. Looking back that should have been a sign but you never think your kids are going to grow up and do illegal things.
He didn’t know his dad very well, and I did my best not to speak badly about him. When my son was 2.5 and I had left their dad he was angry and acting out, hurting his sister who was very small. I called their dad and asked if he would take him for a few weeks to help him understand why we weren’t together anymore.
Since I left shortly after my daughter was born, I felt that my son blamed her, being a kid, not understanding grown-up problems. That would turn into my son being kidnapped by his father for 9 months, and nothing I could do because we were legally married and had not put a custody order in place.
My lawyer told me all I could do is wait it out but eventually, the responsibility would be too much. Over the 9 months, he withheld even letting me talk to him if I didn’t agree to come back. I was getting calls from family members in Texas telling me that my son was in drug houses, babysitters calling me telling me that my ex hadn’t paid them and they were concerned about my son’s safety.
I was 1000 miles away in Kansas and nothing I could do, I never felt so hopeless. One day their dad called and told me to come to get him now. I called the three jobs I was working and told them I had to leave. I got in my car and drove all the way to Texas, and turned around and came back.
When I was dating, I didn’t let men that I didn’t think would be around long around my kids. Eventually, I did meet someone that moved in with us. He wasn’t a bad guy, he just had no interest in being a father. His family, on the other hand, were very involved with the kids at first, and he was the only father my daughter ever knew.
That relationship died out about a year after my children’s father died and I went into a self-destructive cycle. I landed myself in jail and my kids were taken away from me. I only had to spend 90 days in jail but those 90 days cost me everything including my kids being in abusive foster homes for 19 months and me having to return home to Texas, get lawyers to fight to get them back. Those 19 months did irreversible damage to my two young kids.
By the time my kids returned home I was living with yet another guy, a man who was my rock when I was at my lowest. A man who said and did all the right things to show he loved me and wanted to help me get my kids home.
However, shortly before we got married I saw what a mistake I was making and made it anyway. He became extremely abusive to me and my son. My son wanted nothing more than to have a father figure, and in the beginning, my new husband seemed like he would be just that but that wasn’t how things went. He was extremely jealous of my son, even made remarks that my son wanted to sleep with me.
He would call my son awful names when I wasn’t home and say horrible things about me. Then the physical abuse started, to my knowledge, he only put his hands on my son a couple of times but that was a couple of times too many. He was only 10 and small when he came home, and my husband bullied him but my son was scared for me and wanted to protect me, wanted to be stronger for me.
This led my son to want to hang out with the wrong crowd, kids he thought could help with protection, I didn’t find this out till much later but eventually, he told me everything that happened over the years.
Eventually, there was a tipping point between my husband and son, by this time my son was 16 and strong, taller than my husband. When my husband put his hands on him, my son whooped his ass and that tipped the scales in a direction that we have never come back from.
They didn’t speak for two years, with my husband being away at work most of the time it didn’t seem so bad, but when he would come home the tension was high and my son would do everything to avoid him but my husband would do everything to provoke an argument or attempt to intimidate him. My daughter and I were always caught in the middle.
One my son’s 16th birthday I noticed a change and not for the better.
He went from working out all the time, being motivated, having goals to looking lost. A new group of friends appeared, he was lazy and unmotivated, he lost all the muscle he was so proud of building. He had issues in school, nothing was the same but I couldn’t get through to him.
I know his first girlfriend had broken his heart shortly before and whatever that had done to him emotionally sent him in a dangerous direction. I was working all the time and late at night so catching him at whatever he was up to wasn’t easy. I felt like I had lost control, I didn’t even know who he was anymore.
Like anything in life the truth always comes into the light. Just a couple months before he turned 17 I got the most gut-wrenching, heartbreaking call I could have got, aside from getting a call that one of my children had been killed. The school police called to tell me my son was arrested for selling drugs in a school zone.
My heart sunk, my worst fears in my face. I cried I was devastated. When I showed up to his court hearing the next day the judge wanted to send him home with me, it was a juvenile charge, therefore, handled differently. I begged her to keep him longer, and he looked at me like I had betrayed him but I wanted him to learn his lesson, it killed to do that. The judge had him stay 8 days, and during those 8 days, he had a clear mind and was able to open up to me and tell me a lot of things I didn’t know.
The number of being that he had started smoking pot so heavily that it eventually led him to sell drugs to support him and his friend’s habits.
Many reasons I feared this moment, their dad not only being an addict but an addict who sold drugs before I met him. My children knew very little about their dad’s flaws. I did my best to keep them away from that life but here my 16-year-old son was repeating the history of a man