Molestation: What doesn’t kill you; makes you stronger.

I was three, I wanted to watch the new Muppets Movie that came out of Laser Disk (anyone remember those?). I couldn’t because my grandfather wanted me to watch something else. The memory for me is like looking down a highway with dense fog.  It was my first introduction to pornography.  I remember crying. Naked men were doing these things to women who soon became naked.  I remember me being naked and I remember him being naked. That’s as far as that one memory goes.

He was always touching me, and making me touch him.  There was no erection. He couldn’t get one.  Where he was an identical twin, his brother got the fertility.  The molestation was touching and fondling.  It wasn’t just me, it was numerous girls. I remember teenage girls coming into his room, my sister as well.  I remember one girl having her shirt all ready lifted up with her breasts hanging out and he would fondle them. He would look at me and tell me he couldn’t wait until I had tits like this or like the women in the porn. From my point of view it looked like the older girls liked it. I just thought it was repulsive. I also saw that’s how they would get things from him, money, his credit card, hell even a ride to their boyfriends house. They needed something and well they knew how to get to him, just show their tits.

I fought every step of the way.  He would have to force me to touch him or pin me down to touch me.  For him he probably thought it was a game. For me it was horrible.

Another memory is around age four.  A bunch of girls and I were out at our  camp with him. We were always naked. His idea was playing a game of what he called “Indian torture.” There was an old swing (about four people, two on each side could sit and swing on it). It was my turn and I yelled, screamed, kicked, bit as he pulled my arms up over my head and I felt the ropes cut into my wrists. I actually got him one time with my feet to his chest and knocked him back.  I remember the tears covering my face. I remember seeing a hunter walking by and me pleading for his help; he walked right past what was going on. One of the girls told me to not fight it would take less time. I remember that it felt like my shoulders were going to pop out of their sockets. Finally, one of the girls cut me down.

I stood up to him numerous times. I remember telling him I was going to tell mom. He knew how to manipulate. “They” would take me away from her.  I was uncontrollable and there was a detention center not far for “problem kids” like me.

The final time it happened I was about 5, it was summer.  The girls, him and I got into the boat. We were going to have a picnic over on an island that you could see from our shore. I rowed.  We ate and then he told everyone to take off their clothes. I didn’t want to. I got to hear how selfish I was. So I did it.  Then he wanted to play another one of his sick games. I turned and ran, he grabbed my arm and somehow shook loose and I just darted for the water. It was frigid cold even in the summer months (20 minutes in the water and you would get hypothermia).  I couldn’t swim, I didn’t care. A couple of the girls came after me; they could swim and caught up with me rather quickly.  What I didn’t realize was when I shook lose, he feel and broke his arm on the rocks. While the girls were trying to pull me in, I was trying to break free. They were pointing out the fact I couldn’t swim and I would end up drowning. “I’ll risk it.” Yes at 5 years old, I would have rather died trying to get away from him and what he was doing, than to stay on that island and suffer for another 5 minutes.  I remember how exhausted I was. My heart was going 90 miles an hour. He was still lying on the rocks whimpering. “Not so tough now are you?” I stood over him, pulling my clothes back on.  “Look what you did to me. Now help me up.” I walked away and as I passed one of the girls, “go get him in the boat.” I got the boat ready as the other girls were helping him to the boat. Aside from him I was the only other person that knew how to row. The whole time I had to hear how much I was going to be in trouble. I was selfish, I had no consideration for anyone, I was spoiled. I wasn’t even upset that he was hurt. I believed every word of it. It was a long row. I was crying only because “they” were going to take me away from mom. I was going to get in trouble for not listening and not doing what I was told.

We got to the shore, and while he drove I had to change gears for him as we drove to the hospital.

It was that day that it stopped. He screwed up. While he was explaining to mom what happened, his story kept changing.

What I didn’t know was he did it to my mother to. She was adopted by her aunt and uncle (the one I refer to as my grandfather)when she was five.  There was a reason she was adopted, though no one will ever say it out loud. He was a child molester back then. My mother was the sacrificial lamb to keep him from going around to other children in the community.  My grandmother (the adopted one)had a reputation to uphold. Her family was from money, highly educated, she was well respected in the community.  She couldn’t have her husband out doing what he was doing.

Her adopted mother and father manipulated her. I saw how she believed every word of what her mother said, even years after she died. My mom’s famous saying, “mama always said,” and I would look at her with a weird look.  My final straw of “mama always said” was the day I was crouched in a ball and screaming in pain. “Mama said if you can go into a ball it wasn’t your appendix. If you can lie straight it was.” At 13 I looked at her in the worst pain I had ever felt “Has it ever occurred to you that your mama wasn’t always right? That doesn’t make sense. THINK ABOUT IT!!! Instant reaction when humans are hurt is to curl in the fetal position. Mama always said bullshit! I swear to god I am so sick of you saying ‘mama always said’, you’re mother manipulated you for years. Between you and my sister I don’t know who she screwed up more. Thank God the bitch wasn’t alive by the time I came around or else she would have screwed me up to.” I know it was disrespectful. I shouldn’t have talked to my mother that way.

For the longest time there was a rift between my mother and I because I couldn’t understand why she allowed him near me, knowing he was a molester. I even told her she was just as guilty as he was.  What I didn’t realize was how badly she had been manipulated by the two of them all those years growing up and it carried on into her adulthood. Despite her mother being long gone, she wasn’t able to get her mother out of her head. The mental abuse had grabbed a hold and didn’t let go.  Her life was far worse than mine. We don’t always see that as children. She truly believed he had changed. She had thought him going to jail had cured him.  She may not have been physically abused, but abusers say the same thing. How many women have stayed in an abusive relationship because the man tells them sorry, they won’t do it again, they will change etc.  There’s no difference.

We never talked about the abuse. It was just swept under the rug. That made me angry. There was no therapy. That’s why I started writing. I had to get the anger out. I probably wouldn’t have even talked about it. I didn’t like people seeing me hurt or crying. I was raised personal family business was not to be talked about.  I didn’t believe in that. I saw what not dealing with it did to my mother over the years.  It was easier to be angry, that to feel the pain. I also knew that if I didn’t release the pain somehow I would end up like my mother. So that’s how I got to writing. Writing allowed me to release the anger, hurt, and disappointment. My feelings weren’t wrong; the paper didn’t give a rats ass, that I thought he should be in jail. They were my feelings and I owned them and had ever right to them. I didn’t have to hear my mother defend him, or give kindness to him; at that point in my life he didn’t deserve kindness. I had no sympathy for people shooting out his windows, or that he got stuff stolen from him all the time, or his car stolen. It was the same person doing it for years and it was because my grandfather molested his sister. My mom never believed in an eye for an eye. Our views on the Canadian justice system differed immensely.  She would always say “in the end the rage and anger doesn’t make you any better.” She was right. But I had to get through the anger. I knew I didn’t want to have the anger I had inside of me forever.  I wouldn’t allow for him to do that to me.

Writing was my saving grace. I got through it on my own. No one helped me. I did. The more I released, the more the anger lifted.

I also made a choice for myself. I was not going to be allowed to be the woman that was viewed as meat. In my younger years I was overweight. A lot of it was protection. When I had my appendicitis I dropped weight drastically. I went from 150-160 to 126lbs in about 2 months (also have a high pain threshold and didn’t feel the pain of the abscess the appendix had formed until it was the size of a cantaloupe). I kept the weight off because I wanted to. I was still the same loving, caring, attitudinal, kind person before the weight loss. The younger guys (my age) noticed me once I had lost the weight. While overweight it was the older guys who noticed me. I didn’t give them the time of day. At the same time you’re a young girl and everyone’s hormones are raging. It felt good if a guy flirted with you. I had made a promise to myself; I wouldn’t have sex just because everyone else was. I would do it when it felt right to me. While all the other girls were dressing so guys would notice them, I was dressing how I wanted to, how I was comfortable. If wanted to wear a skirt I wore a skirt, for me.

But yes at 16, I noticed the boys. I was just a lot more cautious around them than my friends. Boys were only after one thing and I wasn’t willing to just give it away. I’d rather have the reputation of being a bitch and not giving it up; then be the girl who had the reputation for giving it up. I saw a lot of girls pregnant at 16, I didn’t want that for me. As soon as they got pregnant the guy up and dumped them and got someone else pregnant. No thanks. I deserved better. I wouldn’t allow myself to be in a situation I couldn’t get out of.

Make out with guys, I made out with a few (snicker). That’s as far as I went. There were times I wanted to go over the cliffs in the heat of the moment. I pulled myself back.

I didn’t want to go from one relationship to another. I have never been that person.  I also realized at a very early age, I didn’t need a relationship to be happy.  I was happy whether I was single or whether I was in a relationship. Some girls my age would break up with a guy and go out with another one. It made no sense to me. Why do we as women need to feel that we are only complete when we have a man?

I’m not against men. I have met some very wonderful men, kind, compassionate, considerate, loving, in my day. They know how to respect a woman.

I don’t even have a problem with porn. Jack felt I did. No I have a problem when a man sits out in the living room and watches it for hours while your wife is in the next room. Because I spoke out that I had a problem with him doing that, it got turned around on me that it was my issue because of what happened to me. I am just wondering why the porn is more important than spending time with your wife. I got accused of wanting sex all the time. Nope just wanted it more frequently than 3-6 months and a wham bam thank you ma’am doesn’t get it for me. I was sexually attracted to my husband. I was attracted to him in other ways as well. I had given myself to him on so many levels, not just sexually. I confided in him, I talked with him, I loved him, cared for him and I kept getting rejected by my own husband. He made me feel like I was some sex craved maniac, when I knew I wasn’t. He made me doubt myself more than any man had ever done. After crying so many years of being rejection on what felt like everything from him; I realized I was literally begging and starved for him to spend time with me as a couple or have sex with me.

I stopped, shortly after my mother died. I was so emotionally drained from everything that I had no energy left to beg for my husband. I was still attracted to my husband. Hell the day he walked out the door I was still attracted to him. I told him that day “there’s the door don’t let it hit you in the ass.” he looked at me like a slapped him and said “I wasn’t expecting you to say that.” I looked at him, got almost in his face and said “were you expecting me to beg? Want me to get down at your feet and beg? That ain’t happening. I’ve done enough begging.” I wanted him to smarten up.  That’s not how you treat someone who has shown you over and over and time and time again that she loves you. Not just with words but actions. I got so sick and tired of things being my issue because of my past.

My past is just that; the past. I’m proud of being the woman I am. I’m overweight, so what, I am happy. I’ve lost a lot of weight since Jack left. If I want to get back to 130 lbs I will. Not because it’s going to attract a guy, because I want it for me. Not going to go out and get a set of boobs just so my chest will be back to where it once originally was before children. There was a time; I felt I needed to be skinny and I even thought about getting fake breasts. That didn’t come from my past; it came from my husband.

Getting To Know Me

It’s taken me about a week to get a chance to get be able to write. Single mom here, as much as I love to write with the kiddos and working and all the “life” tasks and responsibilities I have, I just don’t get the opportunity to pump out the writings as much as I would like.

That doesn’t mean the wheels aren’t spinning.  One would be amazed at the hours in which I do get the opportunity to write. I’ve woken straight up out of bed at 2 am in the morning plagued by the words swirling around in my head. If I do not get them out and on paper the wheels will church harder and faster.

Last week as I was cleaning up my house while the kids were gone to their dads I was thinking of topics, ideas for the blog. I had my music cranked up while in my cleaning zone and just thought, “I need to write a getting to know me post so my readers kind of know a little but more about me.”

Well hello!  Thus this post is born. I just haven’t been able to write it and it’s been plaguing my darned brain for over a week.  Even when I would get writing this post…another post would come into my head because I was spending too much time on a certain aspect. BLAH!!

One of the things that people must know about me, this is how my brain has worked all my life. It’s nothing new. Another topic or article idea will pop into my head as I am writing the current article. Then I go to my list of article ideas I all ready have and add to the list.

Anyway, back to the getting to know me. Basically this is a summary as I will get into more in future articles for the blog.

Where I grew up:

I grew up in a small coastal town in New Brunswick, Canada. In the summers it’s a tourist destination for people all over the world. We border Maine. Locals will not say they are going across the border; we are simply going “over the river.” I am sure that ease of that since 9/11 is not the same.  As a child the small town was awesome. I was always exploring. I loved being outside, on the beaches, in the water etc.  Growing up in a small town has it’s pros and cons; just like living in other places has it’s pros and cons.

As a teenager I couldn’t wait to get out of the small town.  Now as an adult I find I yearn to go home, even if it’s just for vacation to get grounded once again, and to also show my kids how I lived growing up. Despite, what they would think I was not a deprived child. Friends and I were always outside playing and there were always things to do.

The Younger Years:

As you all know I was raised by my mother. There are a lot of memories of a great childhood. The fun times she and I would share, the times with family and friends. I was independent right from the start. (Laughing) sometimes my independence got me into trouble. My mom was always proud of me, encouraged me, and was my biggest fan. Despite that people thought I was spoiled by her, I was to a certain degree. However, unlike the other kids my mother always had to know where I was, who I was with and I had a curfew.  Once home from school I always had to check in with her, if I was going to a friend’s house while she was still at work, I had to call to let her know.  I had responsibilities and chores just like other kids, mine were different.  Not only was it inside chores it was outside chores. I actually loved doing the outside work over the inside work.

Like with everyone else, there are scars from my childhood. I was molested as a child. And I will get into that later in another post. Despite that and all the family turmoil that takes place in any family, I had an awesome childhood. What doesn’t break you; makes you stronger.

I’m My Own Grandpa:

It’s the song I sing when trying to explain to others the family. My mother was the oldest of nine. At five she was adopted by her aunt and uncle (her biological fathers’ identical twin brother). So her brothers and sisters became her cousins. Are you confused yet? Well that’s why I sing “I am my own grandpa.”

I have an older sister (she’s technically a half sister). I have 3 nieces and 6 great nieces and nephews. There is also another half sister and half brother out there somewhere from my father’s previous marriage.

Our family is no different than any other family. For years I thought it was only my family that was screwed up. Then after being a part of another family for so long and seeing friends families; I have learned there’s other families that are more screwed up than mine. We aren’t perfect, we have our moments, there’s ones I won’t talk to, there’s some I wish I talked to more. We fight, bicker, laugh, cry, and go through all the emotions, troubles, good times every family goes through.

My personality:

I’m am and always have been a very independent female. I’m not this GI Jane but there’s not much I can’t do by myself. The girly girl woman; I am not. I can clean up pretty good though, when I want to. I just do not like doing it all the time.  I am opinionated, set in my ways and do have attitude. At the same time, I am also considerate, kind, thoughtful and sometimes will take more crap off of people than I should. I enjoy being around people, but when it comes time for me to have alone time, or solitude I need it. I don’t want to be around people all the time. I don’t want to be on the go all the time.  Many people do not understand that, because I can be at a huge party or get together and it just gets too overwhelming for me and I will go find a quiet spot and chill for a little while.

I can be abrasive when I need to be, but most of the time I do not like to be. Confrontation? I do not like.  It takes a lot for me to confront a person, many times I will let a lot of things go, but when I have had enough, I will say something.

I have squirrel moments, also known as ADD. I’ve had it for years but it wasn’t until I began going to therapy when Jack and I separated that I was told, I had it. Over the years because I was “different” I found ways to help me when I would get my squirrel moments which was writing things down to stay on task. Every job I have ever had and even in school, I have had to multitask so when you are going is 12 different directions I learned ways that helped me.

I’ve worked in the customer service industry from the time I was 14 and I treat my customers the same way I would want to be treated. I have a huge pet peeve about people that do not give quality customer service.  Over the years there has been numerous times I have walked out of a place of business due to lack of customer service.  I have been complimented by both customers and co-workers about how much they love to work with me and how I treat the customer. I’ve had plenty of rude customers in my day and they receive the same care, consideration as the rest.

My friend the other day also told me I follow the rules. She’s very right on that. For years Jack would get onto me when out of habit I would walk the sidewalk or pathway and not dash across the grass. That’s not to say I haven’t broken a few rules in my day; but the end result no matter how simple it is, doesn’t make me feel good as a person. One of the most valuable things my mother instilled in me was when you do wrong you take the consequence. It takes a bigger person to admit when they are wrong and take the consequence. Her famous and most irritating phrase growing up (and my sister heard the phrase too) “you make your bed you lie in it.” Funny how a friend that has only known me truly for two years was able to point that out, accept it, love it and yet my own husband out of the 13.5 years we were together saw it but didn’t care that was the type of person I am. I was raised when you lie it turns into a bigger lie and then it goes into a snowball. When he would “lie” and tell people we met on a skiing trip and not online; it didn’t make me feel good. When we went skiing shortly after my son was born and the guy said “one adult..one child and I wanted to say “no two adults” I got elbowed (not hard) in the ribs and told to “be quiet” and “bank error in our favor.”

For years I had to hear “you’re such a Canadian.” What the hell is THAT supposed to mean? It’s a compliment that’s how I take it. Not all Canadians are like me. I’m a Maritimer. I set the standards high for myself. Sometimes I don’t even make the bar and that’s frustrating. I can be harder on myself when I make a mistake than anyone else can be. What a lot of people don’t understand when I make a mistake I recognize it and a lot of times they don’t need to point it out; I’ve all ready kicked myself in the ass for it.

To give you a perspective of me, I am now 34; I got my drivers license when I was 16. I’ve never had a speeding ticket. The first time I have been pulled over in my life was a couple months ago and it was for an expired tag. I could have cried, boo hooed when that cop pulled me over, put the blame on Jack that he’s being a jerk and hasn’t helped me financially with the kids so when it came to updating my car tag and groceries, power or rent for the kids, I choose the kids over the car tag. Guess what my fault. I took the ticket, and told the officer have a good day and be safe out there. Got the tag updated and then went to court and showed I had gotten it updated and the judge reduced the ticket to half. It is what it is people.

The Things I Enjoy Doing:

I have a lot of interests. Music has always been a part of my life. You can tell the mood I am in by the music I listen to at the time. I like all genres of music…except Classical (sorry mom, just can’t do it). I love to sing, there was a time I wanted to be a singer. I just sing for the enjoyment. When my best friend and I were in high school she and I did two variety shows together. I loved it, but I couldn’t do it every night. Music and me singing allows me to stop my mind from churning. I can focus on the music the lyrics, my voice. The kids know that when the music cranks up in the house….I’m about to get some serious cleaning done. Amazing how much work you can get done while belting out songs and not even realizing how much work you got done. The music goes off when I am studying, writing or doing work that requires concentration.

Anyway, I enjoy writing, reading, spending time with the kiddos, family and friends. Other things I enjoy, and many of them I haven’t been able to do in years are quilting, cross stitch, hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, designing, photography, swimming, skiing (cross country is my best; I do like downhill) sailing and there are a lot of others things as well.

I also have my bucket list of things I want to do, and some of those are, white water rafting, sky-diving, parasailing, more traveling (I’ve wanted to go to Ireland since I was a child).

Volunteering:

I have volunteered a lot over my life. How many hours? For me the hours do not matter. Back home our community wanted a community hall so we all came together and made it happen. It was amazing to see a small community come together. Even as a young teenager I was there many steps of the way, so many weekends I was right there a long side of the adults, pounding nails. It was an amazing feeling standing beside the other people who had volunteered and seeing the finished building. It didn’t stop there once the building was finished; we had to get money coming in to support the community hall. If I recall correctly when the hall was open we had a wedding reception every weekend for at least 8 weeks. Where was I? Right there beside all the ladies in the kitchen, getting platters ready, getting tables set up, arranging and serving the guests and then cleaned up. They were long hours on our feet, some of those ladies were 70 years old and doing just as much work if not more than I was. We laughed, joked, and solved problems that came up. To this day I remember the feeling of being around all these great people and the times we shared. We also over the years lost some great people and a plague would go up in their memory. They would have contested the plagues. None of us did it for the kudos or the attention. We did it because we enjoyed every moment of it. We were happy seeing other people enjoying the hall; whether it was a wedding, a family reunion, a Christmas concert, or group functions.

As a Marine spouse I also volunteered. 4 days a week, 4 hours a day for 6-8 months, at the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (might be called something different now). Again I loved it. Being as young as I was, it was also a huge learning experience for me. I learned how to do budgets for families, show them their debt to income ratio, offered advice on how to cut back. I also tried to implement it into my marriage and how we did our finances.  It’s not easy when the other person’s attitude is “just make it happen.” When you do not have the other person’s support or willingness to sit down and go over the finances fully, it will not be effective. As much as I tried to implement it alone Jack and I would have been more successful if him and I would have sat down and went through it with a fine tooth comb. It’s easy to say “stop spending” to one another, it’s another when you both make the decision, set the rules, and even goals of where you want your family to be financially.

I loved doing it for the military and their families. We also worked side by side with the Red Cross. When family members received a Red Cross message back home, we worked hard to ensure that they had the funds to get back home to their loved ones.  Seeing a little bit of relief on that person’s face when a loved one of theirs is ill, dying or has died and they are half a world away and they are able to go home made, was the best feeling in the world.

I haven’t volunteered in several years due to work, kids, and just life. However, volunteering is everywhere. It’s just helping others; it could be giving a mom a break from the kids and offering a sleepover. I love helping others.

While the post is long, I wanted my readers to get a little perspective of me.  Some of the topics in this post will be written about further; some of them won’t.

Have a great and safe Fourth out there everyone.

The Special Times

I have had a lot of memories of my children and I spending time together. Maybe it’s just a mom thing but, even the annoying times, the frustrating times with our children are special times.

I have been involved in a lot of things with the kids, despite what Jack says. Yes! I still have Jack’s words rolling around in my head. They no longer matter to me but, his words, judgments, his way of thinking, is still there. I laugh, when these pop into my head. Why? I know the truth and that is all that matters. Now almost two years after he left his words are mere whispers that often are too low for me to hear anymore. Soon, they will completely fade away. “My” opinion about Jack’s criticism, I didn’t do things how he did them, therefore they are/were wrong.

What do I remember the most as a child growing up? Mom was always there. She was not that parent who went on every class trip, involved in the PTA/PTO (whatever it’s called now). She wasn’t the parent who was out there throwing the ball in the yard with me, or take me camping in a tent (ahh that’s why we have friends hello). We did things that her and I enjoyed. We did things she enjoyed–that at the time I felt was a slow death for a teenager. We did things I enjoyed. I remember all those events vividly. Even the things I didn’t like to do. The things I remember the most were simply mom being there to show her support. Band, choir, school concerts, talent shows. Even sitting on the couch watching tv, her doing quilting me writing or whatever I was doing are times that are most memorable. Curled up in a single bed watching The Golden Girls or the British Comedies bring back so many memories for me. Mom and I didn’t have to always being doing something. Was she less of a parent because she didn’t go out in the yard to play catch with me; or take me camping? Absolutely not. How do I know? I am writing this at 34 years old smiling as I write the memories of mom, I have.

It’s Friday and I am still on a high from last weekend that I shared with my son. Any parent who has more than one child can understand it’s not easy splitting your time between all your children to give them one on one time. My son’s Beta club had an over night camping trip to Unicoi State Park, just outside Helen, Georgia.

As my son and I are in the parade of parent vehicles I realized and said to him, “this is the first time since your sister was born (2003) that you and I have had one on one time.” He was just as excited as was. Sure we have had the couple hours here, a movie there. The camping trip wasn’t just us but, still him and I had a blast.

Mom made some mistakes. I did not realize we were not camping in tents…but a squirrels nest. Anyone know what a squirrel’s nest is? See the picture below.

Ladies and gentleman (I know there are some guys out there that think “camping” is a hotel room..don’t lie), the picture above is a squirrels nest. The only thing you have protecting you, a roof and a wooden floor. If I had known what and how we were camping in…this mom would have been a little more prepared. However, Jack took the sleeping bags when he left so I didn’t have any and again I was thinking we were using tents. So I packed the two mink blankets in the car thinking my son and I would be camping in a tent and even though it wasn’t sleeping bags we would still be warm. Of course once there, I am worried my son isn’t going to be warm enough because we only have two of these blankets, he’s sleeping over in the kid section and I am sleeping in the adult section.

I’m not a girlie girl..I have never been a girlie girl. I may not have camped in a tent growing up but the woods, wilderness and camping has been apart of me. While a couple of moms were not campers and I think one had never been camping before until this trip, I am thinking “I’ve camped in worse… I was married to a Marine after all.” Crap I even packed like Jack at this point. Am I like Jack no? It would have been nice to have an air mattress under my sleeping bag all those years we were camping, but hell no I had to sleep in a sleeping bag with this rock piercing my back. The squirrels nest was nothing. While the 3 other moms I was bunking with in our squirrels nest laid out their sleeping bags and air mattresses, I folded my mink blanket in half and put my pillow down on top of the blanket.

Did my son and I spend every moment together during the overnight trip? No. The kids were “hanging out” (it’s no longer playing with friends when you are a teen..the rules haven’t changed since I was a teen). The adults got lunches ready. I believe all total there were 11 adults, 7 women and 4 men. Once all the camp gear was set up, lunches were eaten. The agenda was to take the kids tubing down the Chattahoochee. However, a cold front had moved in the night before and the winds were high. The adults knew the waters would be cold and the last thing we wanted was to return kids back to their parents, sick. So we changed the plans a little bit. We opted to do our walk around Helen, GA Saturday. Let the kids do a little shopping and sight seeing. Our group walked around for a little while and then we found ourselves at a Go-Kart Track.

I opted to not get into a go-kart. Not that I wouldn’t have liked to. However , with little cash flow and knowing my son would probably want to do something else, I’d rather forfeit a go-kart for me than not do something else with him. The kids and adults were laughing and joking around. It was just a lot of fun to be there with all of them.

After a few hours in Helen, we all piled back into our cars and headed back to the campsite where a fire was started in the fire pit; the guys started grilling up burgers and hot dogs. The moms started getting everything else out. The kids were off in large groups, small groups all enjoying the adventure. Some of the kids walked down to a dock on the lake, some opted to play hide and seek in the woods, others just stayed up in their squirrel nest, hanging out.

I needed this just as much as my son needed this. Later in the evening the kids all crowded around the fire pit and started telling ghost stories, munching on s’mores, laughing and carrying on. I got the opportunity to get to know the moms and dads on a different level. I got to also know the kids on a different level too.

All of these kids (young teens) are truly amazing individuals. Not only are these young teens smart, they are caring, compassionate, and love to help others. While they are still young, overall they make great choices. Many of these young men and women, give up their Saturdays to help out a local pet shelter to help find good homes for the animals. I am so glad my son has these types of people in his life. Seeing them all laugh and joke together does mama’s heart good.

When a lot of the kids and adults turned in to go to sleep, a few of us night owls stayed up and sat around the campfire. Just sitting there watching the campfire with my son, listening to the night sounds and just simply being, made my heart swell.

Sunday morning we all got up and started our day. The winds were gone and the temperatures were supposed to be much warmer. Some of the parents and kids had other obligations and needed to leave after we packed up. About 20 of us remained so we could go tubing down the Chattahoochee.

If you ever get the chance to come to North Georgia take time to see Helen; take the family to the Cool River Tubing Company so you can all go tubing. It’s truly fun for all ages. Our group did the 1 hour trip down the river and I have never had so much fun in all my life. We all had a blast.

For my son and I, our trip did not end there. We decided that once we were done tubing we would stay for a little longer and walk around Helen. It was a chance for him and I to just be. We did one more little adventure and that was going to the train store where there is a model train section inside the store. For as long as I can remember, my son has loved trains. We paid the small fee and enjoyed the exquisite detail.

Five minutes into the drive home, after the awesome weekend my son and I had, I looked over in the passenger seat, he was asleep. I had a smile on my face and a quicken in my heart. I hope that when my son and my daughter get to be my age that they recall the special times.

Part Two: The Mother-in-law from Hell

Remember that storm that I mentioned I felt brewing? It took from Christmas 1997 until we moved back to the states, for that storm to come ashore. It took a Thanksgiving in 2001 for it to build it’s ugly head. An outsider witnessed the entire thing over the holiday. Actually my brother in laws partner. He was disgusted with the way I was being treated. Guess what people? When an “outsider” sees it, it’s happening. I knew exactly how I was being treated. I just took it. But he was the one who spoke up to my brother in law and then apparently my brother in law confronted his mother. BTW it’s my fault he did that. What happened as a result to that?

March 2002 I get card in the mail because it’s my birthday. Oo the card is from my in laws; that was very nice of them. Oh and there’s a letter in it. I get excited with mail too, just as much as I do Christmas. 7 pages of note paper of how much she hated me. I was using her son. I did nothing. Her son did it all. I didn’t play with my child. And I had the gall to turn her sons…not just Jack her other son as well..against her. I drove a wedge in between her family. How dare I. I was pissed beyond belief. I stayed outside most of the night. I threw the letter at Jack. “I just want you to know. I am not done with you, but I am done with them.” Ugly words…and nastiness uttered my mouth. My husband read the letter and he was more pissed than I was. So pissed he wished “that bitch would die.” What she doesn’t realize those words did not hurt me. I might have seemed weak to her. She may have believed every word she wrote but what hurt the most was that this mother who claimed to love her son, did this to him. I never made him choose his parents over me. I would never ask him to do that. I wouldn’t want it asked of me. My heart ached for my husband. All I could do was hold him and told him I wasn’t going anywhere. I even told him to stop saying those horrible things about his mother. “don’t wish her dead Jack, she’s your mother. She’s not perfect. Yeah it hurts what she said. I know it’s not true. I’m pissed as hell because she never gave me a chance. She never wanted to know me.” He assured me he wouldn’t regret what he said over that kitchen sink if she croaked tomorrow. He also took away my keys and he went to the store and bought my a six pack of my favorite drink. Even in a crappy situation I can make a joke because if you don’t the hurt will consume you. “Why you taking my keys it’s not like I am going to waste the gas to drive 8 hours and confront her. She’s not worth it.” he knew I was upset. Yes I was. He didn’t want me driving. I wasn’t the only one to get a letter. Her daughters husband got a letter….9 pages. Him and I joked about it. Of course if they read this they will say I didn’t like him. Guess what I didn’t have to like him…I wasn’t married to him. He loved their daughter more than they will ever know. Him and I may not have always say eye to eye. I didn’t like the things he did , but I didn’t have to live with him; none of my damn business. It was after the letters we received I actually got to know a different side of him. He was tough on the exterior, but he had a soft heart.

The reason for her letter? Blah blah blah. She has always been the black sheep in her family. Her family treated her like crap. Her mother was dying and she was so frustrated. Blah blah blah…wonk wonk wonk..whatever.

Over the course of the next few weeks it was quite interesting. She called the house to see if I got the letter. Jack answered the phone because I told him it was their number. I didn’t hear her end just remember what I heard on his end. Yeah she got the letter. Did she call you to discuss the letter? Then I don’t think she wants to talk to you right now. Can’t say as I blame her really. No I am not going to get her on the phone. it got worse. He started yelling. what the hell do you mean you’re pissed she showed me the letter and how dare she? I’m her damn husband and my mother just sent her a hate letter in her effin’ birthday card. He was more ticked than I was. He was screaming on the phone. Veins were popping out of his neck.

A couple days later his dad called him. I always liked his dad, I never really had a problem with his dad. I had a lot of respect for his dad. I would have called him dad because that’s how I felt being around him. I didn’t always agree with his dad, didn’t always liked his views, but I liked him. His dad had called to get me to apologize. Just make it go away have her apologize and we can move on. It hit a nerve in Jack that I had never seen before. The two of them got into it as well.

The whole thing made me sick. Regardless of what she was accusing me of it wasn’t true. I knew it wasn’t true. I wasn’t perfect but I knew her accusations were not true. Jack accused her of never liking any of the women he hated or had relationships with. He went back and recounted girlfriends he had in school. She disagreed.

A few weeks later Jack’s grandmother died. We all rushed home to Moline. If I recall he said I didn’t have to go. What part of I am in this for the long haul don’t you understand? I knew I didn’t have to go. I knew I had ever right not to want to be around this woman. I loved my husband…her son more than she could ever comprehend. I think even more than he could comprehend. If you aren’t willing to go through the fire with a person you have no business marrying them.

The day of the funeral, I stepped outside for a smoke. I didn’t have anger, I didn’t have hatred. Despite what his mother did and said to me, I still showed up. Not to be in your face you can’t break me. Sometimes people do these things to others that are hurtful because they are the ones hurting the most inside. She came outside as I was puffing enjoying the cold March air in Illinois. We stood there, she started talking, I talked and then she broke down. I did the most instinctive thing I knew….held her. It was awkward I won’t lie. I recall hearing in history class of soldiers…enemies stopping the fight to wish each other Merry Christmas. It wasn’t some “fairy tale” I heard it through the tears of a War Veteran. I didn’t think of this woman as my enemy, she was human. I didn’t like what she did or how she did things or hurt people but she was family now. She just lost her mother and regardless of all the bickering a mother and daughter do there’s a relationship there that no one understands. I was leery of the situation however. Are the fangs going to appear from her? You can think of all the scenarios. I didn’t care if she spit venom at me. She needed to be held. She was hurting. However, as a woman I also knew…it wasn’t me she wanted holding her. I was just the one that showed her kindness despite what had taken place. The rest of her family was still pissed at her and she deserved everything she got. I excused myself politely and marched into the funeral home and sought out her husband, daughter and two sons. “I have spent the last five minutes outside holding a woman who just weeks ago told me how much she basically hated me. GET YOUR ASSES OUTSIDE and go to her. She doesn’t need me consoling her. She needs her family; she just lost her mother for crying out loud.” And I stood there looking at them all.

There was no mention again of that time, I never forgot and it still hurt. It never got better; it only got worse.

2003 I was pregnant with our daughter. Our daughters due date was actually my mother in laws birthday. She was excited. I knew my daughter wouldn’t be born on her grandmothers birthday. She was going to pick her own day. It wasn’t I didn’t want her to be born on a family members birthday. If my daughter had any ounce of my blood in me and the generations of women on my side of the family….she was going to be born when she damn well felt like it. A week later and a week over due; told y’all. For some reason people think I pull words out my arse and say things willy nilly.

Mom was coming down to help with our son. Second babies come early so she would come two days after the due date. Boy was she surprised when I greeted her at the bus stop. “We stopping at the hosptial?” I grabbed her suitcases and laughed, “Nope, I’m gonna be pregnant forever.”

Jack had announced to everyone…marines, friends, family. Not to come to the hospital until the baby is born. This was also told to his parents. Finally we are going to be having a baby. Jack calls his parents they will be up…Oh yeah they moved again 2 hours from us.

Jack and I are chilling out in the birthing room. I am doing a crossword puzzle. We are laughing and joking and the nurse says “you have visitors” Jack looked at me “I’m gonna kill those marines I told them.” and he stopped and saw his mother’s head peek in. Oh how are you kids doing? We just thought we would stop in before we went to the house to see if you guys need anything. The kindness and sweetness made me want to throw up. I didn’t say anything…I bit my tongue. Jack and her go get something to eat and bring it back to the hospital room. I was thinking what both of them could do with their whoppers or whatever the hell they were eating as I asked my father in law to “pass the ice chips please.’ I thought about throwing the cup of ice chips at Jack….I controlled myself. The lack of respect this woman had for OUR wishes was mind blowing. Finally Jack pulled his dad aside and said to get her out of here and he couldn’t believe he let her do this. Jack’s dad did apologize. He had no control over it. She offered to drive the last leg of the trip and he told her they shouldn’t come here but she insisted.

Beatrice kept hounding me. Did she want me to go get my mom? She could drop Jack’s dad off and be back in an instant. Nope. I had all ready talked to my mother. I had asked her if she wanted to come into the delivery room. She said no because I would have to invite Jack’s mother and she didn’t want Jack’s mother near me when I was delivering.

The baby was here…finally. Jack’s parents and mom brought big brother to see his sister. We had set rules, big brother gets to be introduced and see the baby first, before anyone else. If I recall correctly his parents only stayed two days. When they said they were going home, we all looked at them like they were crazy. When they left, mom said Beatrice tried so hard to get her to come back to the hospital with her. Mom flat out told her that the kids have said they do not want anyone at the hospital and we are going to respect that. Mom wasn’t stupid she knew what Beatrice was up to. If she got mom to go to the hospital I wouldn’t say no and the two of them would see their grandchild born. We all thought she got her nose out of joint because of that and that’s why they left. She didn’t get what she wanted so she was going to go sulk…maybe write another letter.

In 2003 another death in the family. I will never forget the phone call as long as I live. Jack was not at home. I answered the phone and it as his sister. I could tell something was wrong. She was asking for Jack and I told her he wasn’t home. I knew something was wrong by her voice. I loved her I thought of her like a sister. Again I didn’t always agree with her but I loved her. Her husband died that day. My heart sunk for her. There was no thinking , it was “we’ll be there as soon as we can.” I’m blowing up Jack’s phone. And we leave as quickly as we can.

Once we are back in Jack’s home town the entire family is there for his sister and her son. I didn’t know what to do for her. I felt helpless. How do you help or console someone who just lost someone they love? We were out on the back deck and his sister was talking to the pastor. I had gone inside and Jack’s mother was all ready in there and out of my mother in laws mouth came “she will be better off now. This is for the best” I looked at her I couldn’t believe what she just said. Her daughters husband had not been gone but not even a day and this is what her mother says. Are you kidding me? Then you wonder….of all the people she could have said this to, that are around in this house…why did she just say it to me? You just let it go like the rest of the BS she’s be dishing…whatever.

2006 my mother becomes sick. I had all ready been home once and I was getting ready to go back again this time I had told Jack I am going home until the end. He dreaded asking his mother for help. But he did. She came up and that very night my mother took a turn for the worse…that I had been telling everyone was happening. The kids, jack and I left at midnight and told her to lock up.

2007 our son went to his grandparents for a week. I am working, going to school, taking care of our daughter, dealing with bills because we were financially strapped before mom got sick and me not working for 2 months put us behind. Doing this…doing that…go go go. I get a phone call at 10 pm at night and this time it was Jack’s dad. Pissed at me. Who packed the suitcase? My son. I had gone over and gone over…and questioned our son. Did he have underwear, this many t-shirts, socks, this that and the other..yes mom I do. But I didn’t check it. Our son had done this several times. Jack didn’t check the suitcase. Then…his dad starts in about how he knows about me and I have been able to pull the wool over peoples eyes and he knew exactly what I was. Umm what are you talking about? I was a user a manipulator a this that and the other. And guess why we left as abruptly as we did when our granddaughter was born? Really people that was 2003…it’s now 2007. “We read your journal” Oh really?

I have kept a journal since I was a teenager. That was my venting. That’s how I released my anger at situations, how I thought things through. It had happy moments in there, it had angry moments in there. “you left it out we figured you wanted us to read it.” hmmm… “don’t recall either one of your names on the mortgage bill, which means if you aren’t Jack, me or our two kids…you’re a guest.” It explained a lot because all the sudden his sister started getting hateful. Turns out I had been venting about her husband. I don’t’ even know what I said.. I don’t re read my journals. It was raw emotion…at that moment. They wanted to condemn me for what I wrote in a journal that really was written and done with, put away when I ran out of paper. Point out the fact of what they have said when someone walks out of the room, out of ear shot or the CRAP pulled by them…his wife, who ever; just ignore that. I was done.

I told my husband to go get our son. While his dad was yelling and screaming at me and I yelling and screaming right back…I heard my son crying in the background. This is not happening anymore. I told Jack I wasn’t going to make him choose. I didn’t want it to be like this, I tried, and if that means I don’t go around them anymore this is how it is going to have to be. I loved him too much; I love my son too much to make either of them choose between me or them. If him and our son wanted to go there for thanksgiving fine; I was not going anymore. I was no longer subjecting myself to this.

What they were doing; had been doing was totally wrong. Sure Jack got pissed at them. But when it came right down to do, they are who they are just accept it. No I don’t have to accept it when your mother is treating me like crap. Then she would wonder why I didn’t talk to her much or want to go shopping with her or do anything with her. Why?

It was her way or no way. Guess what. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree on that one. As much as Jack would complain about her and dislike what she did; he would do the same crap to people; including me.

I am glad I am done with the whole brood. That wasn’t life; that wasn’t living; that wasn’t family. I don’t wish them any ill. They can all go on being unhappy, judging people, being racist, making the gay jokes, whatever they want to do.

What have a learned from all of this. I learned I don’t want to be that mother or that mother in law when it comes time. I saved the letter she wrote. It might be hanging on to bitter memories. I feel I owe it to my children to keep it for when they start relationships. I know there will be girlfriends/boyfriends I am not going to like. We all make our opinions known; but doing what was done to me, to my husband will not take place on my watch. When I feel that way–I’m going to pull out the letter and read it. I want to remember how it felt to be on the receiving end. I also know what I will not tolerate anymore if I ever get into a relationship again. From my partner or from his family.

Part One: The Mother-in-law from Hell

My very first encounter with my future mother in law was when my soon to be husband called to let them know we were getting married in a week. There was a little chit chat and then Jack dropped the “we’re getting married next week,” bomb. There was obviously silence. Then his mother uttered, “I really liked that omit name girl. She was great.” I think my look at Jack was like when a dog hears a sound that makes their head tilt to the side. I ignored it citing that, hey we both put our parents through hell. I was also young and innocent and didn’t say anything. I did laugh when Jack’s dad said “Yeah she was great. She about made our son’s D**k fall off.” Pssst this girl cheated on him while he was on a 6 month deployment–she was spectacular. THAT was the very first encounter of my mother in law.

The second encounter, with my now mother in law was when our son was 6 weeks old. Jack, the baby and I fly to Des Moines, Iowa to be with his family for the holidays. It was a stay a couple days in Des Moines with his parents, then we would all drive to Moline, IL to be with the rest of the family. Jack made me hold the baby as we disembarked from the plane. “Hold him, she will have to go to you because you are holding the baby.” Remember I was 19 here, not 34. How bad could it be? That’s what I had been telling Jack the whole time. He had given me a little snippet of what his mother was like. For me I kept an open mind. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt….obviously something Jack’s family doesn’t do.

When Jack and I stepped off that plane and out into the terminal his parents were there. Jack’s mom’s eye lit up seeing him and the baby. She put’s on a good show. To the passer by and even to her son, she wrapped her arms around me in a hug. His mom made it look damn good. The hug she gave; cold as ice; and chilled me to the bone. You ignore it and again make excuses in your mind. This is a hard position for our families to be in. It’s going to take time.

It may have been a day later or maybe two and Jack’s mom and dad decided to go to the grocery store. She wanted to take our son with them. The excuse “it will give you two a chance to have a break.” She had him swaddled in a blanket. I believe I made the comment of do you need help putting the infant carrier in the back seat? She said the words so sweet to our son “We don’t need a car seat I am just going to hold him in the front seat while grandpa drives.” Jack happened to be standing right next to me we were messing with the baby bag or something and I whispered to him, “over my dead body she is. If she takes him he goes in a car seat and that’s final.” Is it really MY place to confront her about this after only being there a day? I mean really. I don’t believe it is. Jack said something about the baby needing to be in the car seat. The look on her face, her son just slapped her in the face. “But we did this all the time with you kids and your sisters son. It’s just down the road.”

My hormones were still out of whack. I was stressed over this whole meeting the family. Jack and I had a lot going on. New marriage, new baby, getting ready to leave for Japan in a few months, learning the Marine Corps way. I don’t care who you are it’s stressful. Now I’ve got Beatrice, here thinking it’s the 1970’sand not 1997. Jack even came to me and said, “it’s just down the road, it’s fine.” I held my ground. “you are telling her our baby doesn’t go if he is NOT in a car seat.” I had tears in my eyes and I was NOT going to let her see the tears, so I went down stairs into our room and flopped on the bed. When Jack came down I was crying into a pillow so no one could hear me. He slide next to me on the bed, “she’s not taking him.” Then “you can’t let her get to you this way. Mom is who she is and you have to toughen up around her or she is going to eat you alive.” I looked at him, “That’s not right. I am not going to let her do whatever the hell she so desires doing. This is our family Jack and if my mother were doing this you can be damn sure I’d be saying something.” You dust yourself off; collect yourself and go on. Tuck n roll.

When I finally entered back into the room mother in law was still harping about she didn’t see what the big deal was, they did it all the time with their kids and all this. I ignored it to some degree but gave responses as cold as she uttered them. Rules have changed since we were all younger; it’s the law now. On the inside I am thinking, yeah and there are reasons why we have laws. it’s like the disclaimer before a dumb ass video don’t try this at home. Obviously the laws/rules have changed since the 1970’s due to numerous kids being killed, injured in car wrecks sooo.. Voila we have laws.

I am not always talkative around new people. I listen, I observe, I get my surrounding. It’s who I am, it’s who I will always will be. I was highly uncomfortable there. There was so much tension in that house it was nerve racking. I put that aside because I loved my husband. I loved my child.

As I write I realize I still have “Jack’s responses” in my head. He thought my “vibes” my “intuition” my gut feelings were ridiculous. It’s how I have always been. I could feel a storm brewing, something in my gut, the atmosphere told me it was just a matter of when that storm would come ashore.

Jack’s mother, Beatrice had this house that when you walked into “common folk” weren’t sure where the hell they should be. Should I sit on the couch? Hell should I use the towels in the bathroom? Everything had it’s place. It wouldn’t have surprised me if you moved the toaster and an outline of where it should be placed back would be there. I didn’t even feel comfortable making our son’s formula in their kitchen. God forbid I use the wrong damn thing. I made Jack do it. After all, his first wife and her got into an argument of how to properly fill an ice cube tray for crying out loud. You fill the cubes individually with water…no you slant the tray down and let the water run through. Really? Who gives a rats ass how the tray gets full. I will blow everyone’s mind and say “we never used ice except to keep shit cold.” I don’t use ice for my drinks cause it waters the drink down.

We all went out to the mall one day (she likes to shop), I am not much of a shopper. Walking the GD mall I might do 2 times a year just stroll it. Most of the time, I go in get the what I need and get out. All 5 of us got to the mall. G’ma is holding the baby. “Where’s his binky?” he doesn’t have a binky. He doesn’t like the binky. “you don’t leave the house without a binky.” Sweet Lord. The child doesn’t LIKE the GD binky. We all headed straight to a high price store.. 7-8 bucks for a stupid ass choo-choo binky……that he spit out. She kept trying to hold it in his mouth. I kept getting pissed and biting my tongue. When I’m pissed I shut down, I don’t’ want to talk to you, cause I am about to say something you aren’t going to like. She was complaining he wouldn’t keep the binky in his mouth, even with her holding it in there. “Told you he doesn’t like the binky.” You whisper it just under your breath so you husband hears it and laughs.

I was happy we were all getting in the car and going to his sisters house. Maybe there would be normal. His sister remained in Moline. His brother had lived in Chicago and would be coming in a few days.

Jack before had told me, “there’s something I have to tell you about my brother.” ok? “he’s gay.” that’s it? Good grief I thought you were going to tell me something bad. I mean really? My mother’s best friend from high school was a lesbian. One of her friends was gay. To me gay or lesbian was no big deal. Murder, convicted felon…that’s a big deal. Gay? Ummm no. Then I was warned it was a touchy spot in the family. Apparently so are black people or as his family likes to refer to them as “N” I can’t even say it. I said it one time in my life and I still feel the sting. I was allowed to drop the F bomb anytime. But calling a black person a “N.” My mother would NOT tolerate it. Which is funny because Beatrice doesn’t like the “F” bomb but she will let “N” fly like it’s nothing. Imagine the rude awakening I got with that one.

What have I learned over the years? I am ashamed to say, ignoring it is accepting it. Even uncomfortably (nervous) laughing at the remarks is also accepting it; condoning it. All of them…including my own husband, let it all fly. You learn to keep your mouth shut. On the inside it was repulsive, ignorant, and it made me sick to my stomach.

It’s like I told Jack when he left and was telling me everything wrong with me and how I didn’t do this…didn’t do that. You get what you give. It’s that simple. That’s EXACTLY how I treated his parents. What they gave; they got back. What Jack gave; he got back. It took me longer because I actually loved him with all my heart. He got what he gave.

If dealing with his parents…mainly his mother was not an indicator to Jack that, I wasn’t going anywhere I don’t know what else was. There’s a lot of things that should have been an indicator to Jack that I WASN’T GOING ANYWHERE because I genuinely loved him.

Christmas literally SUCKED that year. It’s immature to be excited on Christmas Eve. “Can we wake them up yet?” No go back to sleep….five minutes later…”how about now” For the love of God you’re an adult go the hell back to sleep and wake up when everyone else wakes up. WTH kind of CRAP is this. Who the hell sleeps in on Christmas? “When name omitted nephew wakes up…then we all wake up.’ SIGH!!!!! Toss ;turn… Who the hell taught this nephew? Whose rules are these, I want to complain.

How did I grow up? Go to midnight mass at one of the local churches (they all took turns)…come home, go to sleep for a couple hours. Visions, sugar plums…yaddity yaddity yah….haul ass down stairs….go back up the stairs cause you didn’t slide down the banister…I had to hear mom “stop sliding down the banister.” Heard it…OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO presents. When we lived in the trailer…tin can as mom called it. I climbed through the window that had been taken out when the addition was added. “quit climbing through that.” sorry mom serious business here…OOOOOOOO presents. Now? Welcome to Military version of Christmas. Jack was used to the military long before he ever joined. Structure…YUCK! Everyone “had” to wake up. Get coffee, have breakfast. COME ON ALL READY.

Jack was pissed he never could change that in me. 34 years old…I still do it. I go NUTS over Christmas. It starts about end of November and goes until January 1. I love Christmas time. It’s the best time of the year. Don’t give a crap if I get presents..I love the season.

I was glad to get back to North Carolina after that “vacation.” We move to Japan a few months later. I keep in touch with his parents writing them letters, sending them pictures of our son. The majority of the flowers his mother got….I sent or hounded him to the point the went and did it.

At our son’s 2 year birthday Jack and I decided to go to FL. His parents had moved there from Des Moines. The joke of the family was…they will only stay there two years. For some reason they or Beatrice has to move. Jack would always say “everyone in the neighborhood has probably pissed them off about time for them to move.” They graciously invited my mother down to FL so she would be able to see us as well. I will say my mother had more tact that I did. My mother couldn’t stand Jack’s mother. For her, dealing with them was worth the sacrifice to see me, Jack and her grandson. I laughed hysterically at mom.

You should have seen Beatrice face when we went to Daytona….and mom said to my husband “take me to get a tattoo.” You want to talk about pious. Beatrice was the queen at it. “I can’t believe your mother is getting a tattoo. If God wanted you to have tattoo he would have given you tattoos. If God wanted you to have earrings he would have given you holes.” My response. “Those new earrings you have…those are pretty.” Smile. Beatrice likes throwing God around when it suits her. Her “Christian” beliefs pertain to only others….not her. Then she’d wonder why we didn’t want to go to church with her. “Oh let’s go to church.” Oh let’s not. I believe in God. I pray to God almost every night. If I want to go to church…I go to church. If I don’t want to go to church…I don’t go to church. Oh and I wear what ever the heck I want to wear to church. I don’t have to dress up.. The gates of hell didn’t open up and swallow me when I walked into church at 11 years old wearing a Bon Jovi t-shirt….think I am good. If we go to church…can I bring a barf bucket cause your “Christianity” is making me sick….hypocrite. Thought it…didn’t say it.

My son and I come back from Japan. We ended up staying 7 weeks at his parents house. Jack had wanted me and our son to go there for a couple weeks. Then he wanted me to stay there for the duration until he came to the states, cause he didn’t want me to be driving alone to my mom’s house…in St. Andrews New Brunswick by myself with our son. Even now I see it as a control issue. I truly think he thought that if I went to Canada that long, I wouldn’t want to come back. Again I don’t know what part of “I’m in this forever” is not understood. Anyway, Jack would say I was crazy with that thought. It’s how I felt…it’s how I feel.

You try to be this good little house guest. After all it was just the two of them and two other people adds expense. I offered to help pay for groceries, help with any bills you name it I offered. One day I finally got a head of Jack’s dad in line and finally paid for groceries. Freeloader I am not. If you want to play mind games of when I offer to do something and not take me up on the offer…that’s on you. Don’t bitch about it. If I didn’t want to do it….I wouldn’t have offered the gesture. Our son was in American overload. Poor child only knew Japan. He was SO excited to see his grandparents. I didn’t exist. He didn’t want mom…hell mom was there every day…G’ma this…G’pa that. I mean some mothers would get jealous of this. It was new to him. Mom took him to go pee and poo all the time. “I want grandpa.” or “I want grandma.” It was important to him. He was a child in 3 years this was the second time he saw his grandparents. I mean really.

You make sure you aren’t leaving your child so they think you are taking advantage of them. You feel damn well guilty for going two days to hang out with your brother in law but they are pushing you out the door, “Go have fun. Mom’s need breaks. Don’t worry about him he’s fine.” OK even after I said “I don’t’ need to go, I don’t want to leave you guys here with the almost 3 year old.” Oh crap did I just insult them for being old and not able to take care of a 3 year old? He’s pretty chill but likes to keep going.

We went to Daytona. The grandparents wanted him to feel the ocean on his toes. He said no. They drug him and he started kicking and screaming. I just said “he doesn’t want to guys, don’t force him.” Oh well he was ruining the trip to the beach. Who gives a rats ass if he wants to sit in the damn white sand and build sand castles all day. The kid hasn’t seen the ocean before. He likes pools. The ocean FREAKED him out. And what did Jack’s parents do. Called him a spoiled brat. He ruined the trip. They made him feel like shit. He came up snuggling next to me. “Mommy I want to go home.” I held him close. And the two kept on at him. I told him we would go back to the gma and g’pas house later. We were having a day at the beach. “No mommy I want to go back home to Japan.” Then it was the question of “When can we go see nana.”

The cold hearted truth. My son knew his nana (my mom) better than he knew his g’ma and g’pa (Jack’s parents). It wasn’t intentional. I wanted my child to have the same kind of relationship with his grandparents as he did with his nana. The difference, the grandparents didn’t have a computer. My son talked to his nana every day. On the computer and on the phone for those 3 years. He knew his nana. They talked about anything and everything. He only talked to Jack’s parents a handful of times while we were overseas. He recognized pictures. I had family pictures out because I wanted him to recognize his grandparents and his family. Just because we were half a world away didn’t mean he didn’t have to not know them.

Our son reacted differently when it came to my mom and to Jack’s parents. He was my snuggle bear. How my son and I were during the day while Jack wasn’t there, was different when we were all together. When Jack was home our son would come to me for consoling, praise. There were times lil man wanted his dad….there were times he wanted his mom. I regret now listening to Jack in the child rearing. Mother’s do it differently than dads.

We finally left to go get daddy in Atlanta.

It’s Summer Time

I’ve had to get used to many things since living in the south since 2001. For one school for my kids does not go from September to June.

Yesterday, May 22, 2012 was my children’s last day of school. My handsome young man will be going into high school next year; my lil miss will be going into the 3rd grade. Yes, you get brownie points if you tell me at 34 years old I do not look old enough to have a son going into high school.

I remind my children…“I remember what it was like being a kid.” I guess I am a parent when they look at me like I have lost my marbles….just like I did when my mother said those exact same words. Of course my mom was born n 1943 and had been just before she turned 36. Lol when I had my son (almost 15 years ago) I had only been out of high school since June 1996. The 1960’s and the 1990’s were a smidge bit different.

Regardless kids love summer time. Hell adults love summer time. Despite the money situation, despite all the issues going on between the divorce and their dad; they will have a good summer. Sometimes the greatest memories don’t require the best vacations that you didn’t know your parents couldn’t exactly afford.

My fondest memories of summer–hanging out with my two best friends. Ok Ok you got me I am snickering a little bit. There was baseball in my best friends yard. I don’t even think my friends and I played baseball we just had her brother hit the balls, to see how far he could get them into “the Triangle.” The triangle you ask? Oh you only get a triangle if you live where we lived. Essentially it was the little part the construction people forgot about when making a road. Yes where I come from we were guilty of landmark directions. When you said “meet you at the triangle” you knew it was the intersection..out in Chamcook. We were quite pissed years later when they paved our paradise and we couldn’t play there any more. God only remembers what we played in the triangle.

Of course as you get older your summers get more cool; or so we thought; because we were cool. There were Glass Tiger concers; Lee Aaron concerts. Hey don’t mock me. Lee Aaron was Canada’s queen of Heavy Metal.

Summers for me are memories of sleep overs; that sleeping never took place. Going for a little toodle (a drive) that sometimes ended up being 2 hours and God knows where we would end up. The sun stayed out until around 9 close to 10 pm if I recall (Atlantic time). Playing some sort of card game with my best friends family, going on another genealogy adventure with mom.

Summer meant awesome take out. By take out I mean…you sit in your car and eat your food. The windows get fogged up. Many of the “take-outs” back home are seasonal and it’s not full on like donkey kong until the American Memorial Day Weekend. Fries and fried scallops, tuna rolls, lobster rolls. Seafood platters.

Summer’s were going to the lake, summers were freaking awesome as a kid and we didn’t need to be going to some awesome vacation. We had vacation in our own back yard. The ocean, lakes, nature trails and all the fun things to do back home. Just being and hanging out was awesome.

Today when I got home from work. I had 7-9 bikes in my front yard and walked into the house with my children’s friends and the joy and it was an awesome feeling. While they do not realize it now, memories are being made. It doesn’t have to be spectacular or grand to make an awesome memory in your life. I hope one day they realize that. Unfortunately it will be when they are adults. Our parents heard the same thing we hear “mom we’re bored”