Linda.

My Dad remarried to Linda when I was around four or five.  It was a short marriage, but it was significant in my childhood.   Someone told me she was a stripper, my Grandma I think.  But recently my Dad told me that she was in the military.  She reminded me of a stripper so we’ll just go with that.  That being said, my Grandma also says that my parents got my older sisters name from a trashy novel and I don’t think they did.  I love her name.

I remember, when I was about five, playing in the front yard with our neighbors and my sisters.  I remember someone getting into trouble, my little sister maybe, and my step-mom, Linda telling me that she knew I had something to do with it because I was manipulative.

Linda also had three kids.  Shannon, Sheila and John.  I think Sheila was the oldest and she had a lot of freckles.  She was about 16 I think.

Shannon, Sheila, my older sister and I shared one bedroom.  And John and my little sister shared another.  Only my older sister never slept in the room with us because she was a bed wetter and stole food.  So, she got locked in the laundry room at night.

If we wet the bed Linda would toss our mattress outside and tell us to clean it and bring it back in.  Only, we couldn’t move it so the dog would chew it up and then we just wouldn’t have a mattress.

My little sister woke up crying one night and Linda came in and smacked her in the face.  She was one.  Or, so the story goes.

We used to get spanked at the end of each day for the things we did that we didn’t get caught for, because surely we did something that day.

If we got “caught” doing something we weren’t supposed to she made us pull our pants down, bend over and touch our toes and she beat us with a wooden paddle.  It was humiliating.   I wince even putting that in writing.  I’m ashamed that it happened.  I’m ashamed it was allowed to happen.  My Dad was there and that makes it harder to accept. But, he was also 25 years old with three children and on his second wife.  I try to remind myself that he just plain flat out didn’t know what the hell he was doing.   Someone told him that his kids needed discipline and he went with it.  That’s what I tell myself anyway.

What we needed was love.  What we needed was structure and attention.  What we needed were parents.

I frequently went to school without shoes on because I couldn’t find them.  Usually it was because she threw them outside and the dogs chewed them up, or she just hid them.  My older sister would carry me all the way to school, and she’s only 2 years older than I am. Then I’d have to go to the nurses office and get shoes to borrow.

I remember my older sister sitting in a bathtub on evening while my step-mom was forcing her to eat junk food because she snuck out that night to eat chocolate.  She was covered in puke and they were still shoving food down her throat, trying to teach her a lesson.  Dad was there too.  That hurts.  Now I need to call my sister and tell her that I love her.

About 6 years ago I had to run a background check on myself to apply for a job.  Through that process I learned that Linda lived 15 miles away from me.  It took everything in my being not to drive to her house and give her a piece of my mind.  I actually did drive to where I thought she was working at the time and went in, but I didn’t recognize anyone in there as her so I left.

How can anyone be so cruel to little kids?  How can everyone else around you (teachers?!) not notice whats going on?  In our entire childhood not one person, besides my Grandparents, were aware of the abuse that was going on.  And, if they were, they didn’t do anything about it.

If you suspect a child is being abused, get your ass up and do something.  Pay attention to what is going on around you.   I mean really, a child that comes to school without her shoes daily?  Or how about my older sister, who used to have frequent accidents in class at age 7. That isn’t normal for a 7 year old.

I’m not sure what pisses me off more.  Linda or the people that didn’t save us.

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Stages

My husbands half brother left his oldest son when he divorced his mother.  One Christmas we were talking about it and I was unable to bite my tongue and point blank asked him how he could leave his son like that.  He said that it was too difficult for him to deal with his sons mother.  He said to me “You probably think I’m a horrible person” and I said ‘Yes, I do. I think you’re a selfish bastard.”

Probably not the best thing to say to someone on Christmas but, hey, he asked.  This was a good 7 years ago now, when his son was around 9.  I told him that he was going to miss his window to ever have a relationship with his son in the next five years and he blew me off.

I knew that because when I was 9 I still made excuses for my Mom.  I still had hope that she’d come into my life and take me shopping and lay with me in bed reading stories.   When I was 12 we found out that my Dad was being stationed in Guam.  My Dad let my Grandma know, who let Cindy know.  I’m fairly certain that Cindy went into a tizzy about how she’d never see her girls again and on and on… Because you know, she’d seen us once in like 10 years.  So, I think my Dad may have sent her money so she could drive with her druggie husband to New Mexico to see us.

I was STOKED.  Just over the moon excited.  She showed up and my Dad met her at the door and sent us out.  I think she was in town for two days.  She took us to the mall and chuck e. cheese.  It was just my little sister and I because my older sister was living in Colorado with my Uncle at that time – another really long story I’ll get to another day.  For those two days I was just, happy.  A little uncomfortable, but happy.  She seemed to really want to be there, to care.

And then she was gone and I never saw her during my childhood again.

At about age 14 I started writing her letters.  Angry letters.  You are a horrible person letters.  She deserved them.

Thankfully, that stage ended too.  I don’t think I’ll ever leave the stage of wanting a mother, but I’ve forgiven and I’ve come to understand.

I still think my brother-in-law is a selfish bastard though.

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Two in one day.

Why is it that I care so much about not hurting people who have hurt me?  I just drafted an e-mail, okay a facebook message which really makes it sound so much worse.  I hate facebook.  Anyway, I drafted an e-mail to Cindy (birth Mom) that I was fine with her seeing the boys, and us, on Christmas but that I’d rather she not refer to herself as Grandma.  But, I can’t hit send.  Is it really going to confuse the boys or do I just want to get that jab in?   Is it the right thing to do?  What will she refer to herself as then?

Ugh.

And, it’s not so much that I don’t want to hurt her feelings as I don’t want to hurt mine.  I don’t like being mean and I don’t want to make a decision to be spiteful because I want to teach my children to be kind and forgiving.   Not that they will even know whats going on here.   At the same time, she is never going to be a Grandma to my children because having a relationship with her is toxic and it is also my job to protect my children.

Or, maybe I should just be honest with my son.  “She is my mother, but she didn’t raise me.”  And, field questions as he asks?  Surely it won’t go too deep at age four anyway.

And now I’m crying.  Not because it’s hurtful to me but because it saddens me to think about my son (yes, I have more than one but one is a baby and as long as you don’t steal his milk he doesn’t care) learning about the real world.  Everything in his world is wonderful and perfect.  Monsters can be defeated.  Mom makes grilled cheese & jelly (Grandpa’s recipe) with “rocket” cheese and can give a spoonful of “super fast juice” to help you run as fast as a super hero!  But most of all, the adults in his life are there to protect, love and teach him. 

On the flip side, he does know that there are people less fortunate than us and I could play this the same way.  It’s good to appreciate what you have.

 

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Abandoned.

Seemed like an appropriate post title.  I sort of left this blog hanging.  I dunno, sometimes I feel the need to get things out and that was part of the reason I started this blog.  The other was that people always tell me I should write a book because my life, especially my childhood, is so unbelieveable.  In the moment I think “Yeah, I should” but then I just don’t know where to start.  I don’t know what the start is.  And, I don’t want to hurt people I love.  There are so many things I keep to myself because they would shame others.

But, I’ve decided that I am going to try to write in this blog more often.  I’m going to commit to once a month I think and just post about whatever comes to my mind.

So here goes. 

My birthmom called me a few weeks ago – she does this every so often and it doesn’t really upset me at all – wanting to know why my older sister was mad at her.  Uh, maybe you should ask her?  Turns our she had and it turns out my sister had told her exactly why she was upset.  Cindy, my birth Mom, is not capable of having a two way relationship.  It’s not her fault really, but she isn’t.  It’s why I keep her at a distance.  I’ve put myself in situations where I’m trying to rescue someone,where I’m the sole giver, and it’s draining.  And, I did that before I had kids – I can’t do it now.  I don’t have anger toward Cindy and if I thought she was capable of a relationship I’d love to have one, but she isn’t.  She simply isn’t.  So, I was frank with her and I told her that my sister is drained because she’s tired of giving, she’s tired of the taking, she’s just tired.   What I don’t get is why someone can’t “get” this.  You are selfish.  You want to talk about yourself and no one else, you want people to come to your rescue.  You want to be able to call me your daughter so you can say you have kids, but you don’t want to do any of the work that comes with being a MOM.  It doesn’t work that way.

So then she told me that she’s coming to here for Christmas, to my Grandma’s house (who I do talk to).  She wants to know if she can see me and the boys.  I didn’t answer her and just skirted around the question but now that I’ve had time to think about it I think I’m fine with it.  However, I’m going to have to tell her that she can’t refer to herself as Grandma because my oldest knows what a Grandma is and he’ll question who she is and why he doesn’t see her and I don’t want to go into that.  I don’t want him to know that there is any other kind of Mom besides the one that is always there for him at this age.  And, she isn’t his Grandma.

I have a feeling I’m going to catch shit for this decision from that side of the family but guess what?  I don’t give a rats ass.

God what I wouldn’t give to have a real Mom in my life.  Even now that I’m a Mom myself it would be great to have that support.  I had once hoped that my mother-in-law and I could have that relationship but I just don’t think she is that type of person.  Sucks.

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The thing about my childhood…

Is that as long as no one admits it was abusive, it wasn’t.

Is that we have happy home movies.

Is that I  don’t want to hurt the people that hurt me.

Is that we don’t talk about certain things.

Is that I have to defend my memories.

I still haven’t admitted to myself some of the things that have happened.  I suppressed certain things so much that I believed they were a dream for a long, long time.  You really can lie to yourself enough that you change your memories of something.  I know it wasn’t a dream now but I’m just not ready for that one.  So, when it comes time to defend that we were, in fact, abused I can’t use all my ammo.

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My Mother.

I left my last post rather dramatically because I just needed to.  It’s still tough for me to talk about, especially now that I AM a mother.  I love being a mother and I can’t imagine what it takes to walk away.  I do know that it wasn’t my fault and I know that she never really was a Mom, so that makes it easier.  Yes, she gave birth but I don’t believe she was ever a Mommy.  I don’t think she REALLY bonded with us and that’s because of her childhood.  She wasn’t capable of loving herself and therefore how could she love us?  Regardless, the reasons why she couldn’t be a Mother don’t make it any easier to deal with as a kid.  I used to listen to Wynonna Judd sing on the radio, when she was one of the Judd’s, and for some reason I had it in my head that she had the same voice as my Mom.  It makes no sense now because they don’t sound anything alike but just go with me here.  So I’d listen to her sing and pretend that that was my Mom, singing to me.  And once I heard her being interviewed on the radio and I cried.  I cried because that was my Mom talking, on the radio.  Only it wasn’t at all.  I know, it makes a ton of sense right? 

She left our lives when I was about 3 I think.  I remember police knocking on our door and taking us to the station.  I know I’ve been told that my Grandparents came to get us and that once I was found stuck under the couch.  I was fat baby…  And we lived in filth.  Like 50 rabbits in a tiny apartment filth.  And my sister painted her crib with her dirty diaper and it was crusted over so who knows how long she’d been sitting like that…  She was an unfit Mother.  I don’t know where my Dad was.  Usually when I hear stories he’s left out of them, but I’m sure that’s because the stories come from his side of the family so, you know.  He’s not a bad guy, but he is partially to blame.  That is REALLY hard for me to say.  I love my Dad, with all of my heart.  I don’t like to admit he’s to blame.  I’m sorry Dad. 

So anyway… see why this is so overwhelming for me?  I can’t even keep on the same track for one blog post.  So, my understanding is that we were put in foster care, but not really since my Grandparents took us.  Or maybe we were there for a short period, I don’t remember.   The point is she left and she didn’t come back.  She didn’t care enough to know what happened to us. 

Except that time she showed up when I was about five.  I remember her truck.  I remember her dogs.  I remember knowing she was there.  I think I remember hearing her voice and I know I remember my sisters being SO happy to see her, especially my little sister.  I don’t remember HER though.  I don’t remember being hugged, which is what I needed.  Or being kissed.  Or feeling.  I remember her calling me “kiddo” and I remember that I don’t like that.  Then she was gone.  It was maybe a 15 minute visit and she had to leave to take care of her dogs.  Her DOGS.  That might be why I don’t have or want pets.  My mothers dogs were more important to her than we were.

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The beginning

So, where did it all start?  Everyone talks about a bad childhood and then immediately adds “they need to break the cycle”, “yes, but you’re breaking the cycle”, “it’s too bad, it’s such a vicious cycle”.  So where did our cycle start?  I’m not sure.  I only know the stories I’ve told and I don’t even know if I remember them right.  Someday I will sit down and ask people, maybe do a few interviews.  I’ll tell you how I understand it as of right now though…

Somewhere along the line, as I understand it, my paternal Grandfather’s parents died leaving him and a sister behind.  He ended up being raised by very abusive people.  Like, lock him in the basement and beat him abusive.  I think there was sexual abuse too.  He grew up and got married, and had 5 children.  My mother was one of those children.  He kidnapped them from their mother and moved all around the country so they couldn’t be found.  My Mother married my father and they had three girls.  She wasn’t fit to be a mother and abandoned us.  My Dad was essentially forced, by his parents, to step up and raise us.  He remarried to some very, very abusive women.  Both of my sisters have deep emotional damage that has caused them to continue the cycle in different ways with their own kids.  It has yet to be seen if the cycle will continue on past that…

And that’s that.  There is, of course, so much more detail that goes into each story and I’ll get to that in later posts.

The absolute hardest thing for me as a child?  Being abandoned by my mother.  Getting tossed down stairs, punched in the face or beat doesn’t even come close to the pain of losing your Mother.  Ever.

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