life

All posts tagged life

Homeschooling: Life Skills

Published October 12, 2017 by lynn k scott

This year, our homeschooling journey has landed in the 6th grade.  In addition to my daughter learning how to take detailed notes, beginning to independent research, math, grammar, science, etc., she participates in Life Skills.

If we were in a brick and mortar school, the skills she is learning might be classified as home economics.  However, it’s more than just that.  She is learning to make grocery shopping lists, assisting with pet care, cooking for herself as well as her family, doing laundry, etc.

In our home, my husband doesn’t cook.  It’s a fact; he doesn’t know how.  I, on the other hand, have a catering and hospitality background, so I am passing my cooking and baking knowledge to her.chicken adobo

Since school began in August, she has learned to and can make grilled cheese, fried hot dogs, fried eggs, chicken adobo with rice and ramen.  She has been exposed to making pot roast, pan-seared pork chops (finished in the oven) and baked chicken and chicken wings.

rice

Now, to be be fair, the chicken adobo and rice shown are actually for a church event, but it’s the same food she proudly makes for her family ever week now.  She won’t even let me make it any more and gives ME tips on what I should be doing in the kitchen.  If she only knew, I’ve been at this about 30+ years longer than her.  It’s a cute sentiment though.

In addition on learning important cooking skills, when she has to follow a recipe and using measuring cups and/or spoons, she is reinforcing her fractions.

Lastly, spending time in the kitchen will create memories that one day, she will remember as she stands in her kitchen, showing her children, what I taught her.  Life skills….so important….not just in a technical sense.

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A Little Bit of Planning

Published September 18, 2017 by lynn k scott

It’s no secret that I am planning on my own funeral.  It’s really not that morbid and it allows my A-type personality to see myself through to the end.

Having personally planned three funerals, I really wouldn’t wish that upon anyone.  It’s not that it’s difficult, but death brings up feelings that people probably aren’t prepared to deal with or don’t deal well with, in general.

Why shouldn’t I lesson their burden?  I know what I want:  A Celebration of Life.

I have already chosen:

  • The person I want to officiate the service
  • The music to be played and sung
  • The location
  • The food
  • Cremation because I don’t like people looking at me.  Plus, if people were staring at me, I wouldn’t be able to tell them to stop (well without scaring them to no-end lol)

Being a native New Yorker, who transplanted to Northern California, I can’t have a generic gathering after the service, right?  So, I’ve planned on using a local, little pizza joint (fellow NYers, of course), to provide pizza, calzones, submarine sandwiches and Buffalo wings.  Then, there will have to be bagels and cream cheese.  Lastly, we’ll add some cheesecake for good measure.  No diets will be observed at this Celebration of Life.

People should embrace my Irish heritage and eat, have coffee (my life blood right now) and share humorous stories of how I despised the Evil Empire, acclimated Californians to how NYers spoke and their expectations.  They can share the memory of the poor guy who chose to tell me I was only in Mets gear because they were in the playoffs one year.  A decision he would come to regret when he realized I was truly a NYer.

Either way, thought I would share.  Perhaps someone else may take this as a sign to start thinking about the inevitable.  One day, I’ll have eternal life and I want those I leave behind to remember my time here on Earth; the good and the bad.

Now for the curve ball…

Published September 15, 2017 by lynn k scott

I haven’t posted in awhile; longer than it should have been.  I’ve been struggling with my health.  For those of you who follow this blog, you’re aware I am less than a fan of the medical profession.   Ok, ok, I actually loathe it and view dealing with doctors and health facilities as a necessary evil.

I’ve had multiple issues trying to be seen for an ongoing issue.  First specialists were only working when I had to pick my daughter up from school.  Perish the thought they work past 3 o’clock.  Then, I couldn’t find a native English-speaking doctor.  Hold up…hop off that train of thought you are beginning to process.  I had a non-native doctor dismiss my symptoms because she didn’t take me seriously.  When she finds it appropriate to recommend a banana and drinking more water (without knowing my dietary habits), yup, it justifies walking out and asking for a US-born physician.  Heaven-forbid wanting an English-speaking doctor is the sin the medical practice made it out to be.  How dare I? Sorry, hiring native Spanish-speaking, Farsi-speaking, Chinese-speaking doctors, for the comfort of the patient is no different than what I was asking.  All in all, I ended up being banned for my instance on seeing a female doctor; whose first language was English.

Onto waiting for the first of the month to be seen by another practice.  Oh, I’m a new patient and haven’t been “established”.  That means my necessary appointment can wait an additional two weeks while the insurance carrier and practitioner discriminate new and established patients and refuse to give them the next available appointment.

Finally!  I see a doctor.  She regurgitates a peptic ulcer that I was treated for a year ago and I’m there to see her about the same issue as the treatment was effective.  She cannot understand my not wanting a scope stuck down my throat to test for an ulcer that I tell her I am not suffering from; that something else is wrong.  She tells me I have insurance and can’t see the big deal in my refusal.  Ummm…invasive and a 20% copay AFTER a $1500 deductible.  Welcome to the real world, Doc.  I refill the ulcer meds anyway. I message her for three days in a row:  medicine is not working.

I gave up.  She was ignoring me because I refused an unnecessary procedure.  I chose to look the other way regarding my copays and headed to the Emergency Room (ER).  The ER thanked me for coming in.  I apparently have Intussusception.   That’s being caused by Tubulovillous of the colon.

Needless to say, I am already sick of dealing with the G.I. dept, the oncology dept, as well as constant communication with my surgeon.  Yup, next week I go under the knife for a few hours to have a good section of my colon removed.  The ulcer, that two doctors said I have was actually a polyp that grew to be 10-15 cm and is blocking 80% of my colon. I paid copay after copay, because I was in PAIN.  Let me tell you, the pain is nothing short of being in second to third stage labor, for weeks at a time.  I have been trying to resolve this, actively, for over a year.  Doctors:  LISTEN TO YOUR PATIENTS!!!

I’m glad to have a diagnosis and treatment plan.  I’m not happy with knowing, every doctor I have spoken with, while telling me we will have to wait for pathology, believes I have cancer.  We have to wait for the mass to be removed and tested.

I can deal with having cancer, if that’s what the test shows.  Telling my kids, esp. my older children who watched both my parents get diagnosed and ultimately watched my father and sister lose their cancer battles is scary.  Telling my 11-year old, who is basically being raised as an only child is terrifying.  She is already emotional with my first hospital stay and my upcoming surgery and longer hospital adventure. She has heard the word, ‘cancer’, but has no idea what it truly means. Children shouldn’t feel afraid for their parents.

While my family, friends and church have been extremely supportive, whenever you are forced to face your mortality, your brain goes into overdrive.  I have given this to God.  I know he has a plan for me; even if I don’t understand it.  I am used to being independent. I don’t want those who depend on me to worry.  I just pray for strength for my family.

Take a Moment; Make a Memory

Published July 12, 2017 by lynn k scott

I found myself, on two separate occasions, talking about memories.  The first time I mentioned memories was on a Facebook link that was in response to a woman who said she was glad women had evolved and didn’t do things like grind their own meat or coffee, can food, prepare homemade meals, etc.

I was mildly offended by that.  While I was born in the early 70s, I take great pride in working a full time job, coming home to cook a homemade dinner (six to seven nights a week), and sitting at the table, with my family, to enjoy it.

I still hang clothes out on the line and I can a lot of different foods throughout the year. To me, I am making memories with my daughter.  Years from now, she will see a jar of preserves and think of my “armageddon shelf” that was always stocked with a variety of jams, soups, stock and vegetables.

Tonight, I was speaking with my Pastor and I used that exact example.  It got me to thinking, “that’s a blog post”.  All to often, especially in today’s society, it’s a “now” or “me” mindset.  While I am guilty of having the same thought pattern on occasion, I don’t seem to do it as often as some people.

It takes hours to make bread from scratch.  I enjoy mixing some flour, yeast and water and getting bread when all is said and done.  I teach my daughter how to measure, mix and make food from ingredients instead of a box.

She and I will go for a walk in a local park.  We might stop and watch the dogs play in the dog park.  We will hunt for pinecones for crafting projects.  Finding a bench and listening to the birds’ melodies as they communicate with each other.

So, I encourage you to spend quality time with those who matter most.  It doesn’t have to cost you anything.  Go to the beach, sit on the sand together and watch the waves crash against the shoreline.  Spend time in the kitchen making culinary creations.  Go to sporting events.  Rock your child in chair.  Go the library and cultivate a love for reading.

When I am finally called Home, I want my family to have memories that will make them smile when they think of me.  That they will feel the love I had for them, when I can no longer physically wrap my arms around them to offer comfort.  Now is the time to take a moment and make a memory.

God in my life

Published June 4, 2017 by lynn k scott

Disclaimer:  This blog post will probably be lengthy, however, I feel it’s time to share how I’ve seen God in my life.

I wasn’t born into a wealthy family.  My father only had an eighth grade education and my mother only went as far as to graduate high school.  I was the oldest of three daughters and often had to help raise my younger sisters, while my mother worked two jobs and my father worked what jobs he could.  My dad was also an active alcoholic during my childhood.  He chose to get help when my mother kicked him out.  Then he sobered up and stayed that way. However, my sisters and I spent many nights playing in the a church room, while my mom attended Al-Anon.  We were pretty shielded about why she attended. I will say through all our hard times, my parents never accepted government assistance, although looking back, we more than qualified; at times.

My mother was the foundation of our family.  She made sure my sisters and I went to church on a regular basis.  Back then, it was what was required.  We didn’t always go willingly, but we went.  We grew up in the United Methodist Church where we attended Sunday school, were confirmed in the faith, joined the youth groups and choir.  It was the only church I ever knew and it was the church I set the standard for my future adventures in faith.

Was I devout?  Not, in the least.  I believed in God, but rarely said grace before meals, prayed or reached out to anyone in my church.  I was missing a connection.

I married at just 18-years old.  I had no support, but my family went through the motions of my marriage anyway.  Needless to say, they were right, along with everyone else, and my marriage was doomed to fail.  One thing I did take seriously, was my marriage vows; esp., ’til death do you part’.  Little did I know, that vow almost cost me my life.

That quick foreshadowing was meant to segway into how my (now) ex-husband was extremely abusive.  There were two separate times he actually tried to kill me.  In the six and a half years we were together, we had four children.  I was a typical abused wife, caught up in the cycle of violence.

I believed if I had dinner ready on time, I wouldn’t have gotten yelled at.  If I wasn’t so tired, from being pregnant, the house would be cleaner and I wouldn’t have gotten hit.  I believed him when he said he was sorry.  “It won’t happen again.”  If there were ever famous last words, those were it.

We attempted counseling.  It was couples counseling, in addition to individual sessions. When your therapist tells you privately, “have a bag packed and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice”.  Go ahead; it’s ok to read into how serious the danger level was.

Yet, I had two small children and I had no place to go.  No one knew of the abuse; esp. not my family. My mom didn’t even find out until I was pregnant with my fourth child and we woke up to our house on fire.  We ended up staying with my parents again; which my ex-husband made for a less than amicable time.

I had been journaling about the abuse and hid the notebook under my mattress.  When we moved out, I forgot about it.  Months later, my mother found it, read it, and called me crying asking if I was being abused.  I broke down and admitted everything.

I had attempted leaving before, but my ex-husband convinced me to come back; esp. after he cleaned out our bank account and left me financially broke.  I had little choice (or so I thought).

I will spare the rest of the details I can remember. I used to cry myself to sleep asking God, “what did I do to deserve this”?  The abuse only escalated.  It got to the point, I ended up having to leave my children behind, in order to survive.  My youngest son was only six months’ old.

I left and ended up staying with a guy I barely knew.  I had no job because my ex-husband told the restaurant I worked at that I abandoned my children and they felt the need to tell me to go home and be a better wife and mother.  Wow!  I was floored.  I felt like enough of a failure without my boss and coworkers passing judgement on me.

One day, when hopelessness was overwhelming, I made the decision to just end it all.  I went and bought a bottle of sleeping pills.  It was the easiest way; just go to sleep.  Little did I know God had other plans for me.

I carried out my plan.  I didn’t leave a note.  Got a large glass of water and began swallowing three pills, at a time, until the bottle was empty.  I laid down on the floor, with a pillow and blanket, and planned to go to sleep forever.

I fell asleep and then felt convulsions.  It was like I was having a nightmare and I couldn’t wake up from it.  I heard in my mind, “you’re not going to die today.”  I continued to have convulsions, as if a doctor had paddles to my chest and was yelling, “CLEAR!”  I have no idea how much time passed.  It was dark outside, I woke up, still alone and thought, “I can’t even kill myself right”.  However, after that ordeal, I did believe I wasn’t supposed to die that day and never attempted to take my life again.

Long story short, I ended moving to California.  The state I grew up in had horrible domestic violence laws.  They didn’t have anti-stalking laws.  I had no protection.  Once my ex learned of my change in states, he chose to give the children to my mother and followed me.  I lived several years looking over my shoulder.  I even arranged for someone else to check my post office box, in case he would be waiting for me one day.

Skip ahead years later, and I remarried.  My children were still with my mother.  I would call and speak to the kids, but they wanted me home and it wasn’t possible.  Anger and resentment festered from them.  I was losing my children and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  I admit it.  I was a bad mom.  I wasn’t strong enough to stand up for myself and it cost me my children.

I did have one more child.  My second husband had no children and I had to prove to myself I wasn’t a horrible mother.  With the abuse factor removed, I didn’t suffer the severe depression I had with my other children.  I wasn’t hospitalized for postpartum depression, as I had been twice in the past.

My mother and I chose not to tell the children about their half-sister.  They resented me so much already.  I knew them thinking I just left to start another family would be first on their mind.  I knew this because that is what their father had told them.  He eventually left California and returned to my home state to get custody of our children.

Meanwhile, when my youngest was 5-months’ old, I started looking for a church to go back to.  I was missing something.  I was so alone.  I found a United Methodist Church, close to home.  I took my little one with me and walked into Wayside UMC for the first time.  I figured, if it wasn’t for me, I could use the baby as the reason I had to leave.

We stayed and I eventually became a member of the church.  Even though the church reminded me of the church I grew up in, I still hadn’t made any close connections.  I went through the motions, but it wasn’t 100% what I was looking for.

In June 2007, my father, whom I’ve always had a strained relationship with, was diagnosed with Stage-4, stomach cancer.  He was given three to six weeks to live.  I called to speak with him while he was in the hospital.  He had forgotten he had an older daughter; he thought I was my sister playing a joke on him.  After five agonizing minutes, he finally remembered who I was.  We spoke til he got tired.  It was the last time I was speak with him.  He died exactly three weeks from diagnosis.

A few years later, I reconnected with my sister.  A sister that I didn’t speak to for 10 years.  Yet, after all the abuse and loss I had already experienced (which I glossed over quite a bit), my 37-year old sister was diagnosed with Stage-4 breast cancer. Diagnosis: less than a year.  My mother and I prayed, but we were also facing reality that her breast cancer was aggressive and odds of recovery were slim to none.

After her passing in June of 2012, I was lost.  I had survivor’s guilt.  I stopped going to church.  No one called to check up on me.  I didn’t feel missed or cared for.  I flew home to bury my sister, flew back to California and had to pretend my life was fine.

Let’s add insult to injury and have my youngest sister call me one morning while I was at work.  Seems my mother was rushed to the hospital with food poisoning.  After some testing, it was determined it wasn’t food poisoning.  She had a bowel blockage and required emergency surgery.  My mother never made it out of surgery as she died on the operating table because she didn’t have a small blockage; all of her intestines were dead. She couldn’t be saved. My mother passed away one year and 13 days after I buried my sister.

To say I was angry with God was an understatement.  Nothing made sense.  I was being punished and I didn’t know how much more I could take.  My older children, except for my first born, didn’t want anything to do with me.  If I didn’t have my youngest at home, I don’t know what drastic steps I would have taken.

I became guardian to my two youngest nieces.  They were my sister’s children, whom my mother was raising.  Life was turned around.  There was a huge struggle to bring two children to California.  Resources weren’t there, but I felt this is what I had to do. Raising two more children, trying to mourn my sister and mother and a family who had a huge adjustment factor, was more than I could handle.

I am thankful for my friends on Facebook.  Ironically, they became my only support system.  Some were friends I knew personally; others were strangers.  They were the only beacon of light, during those dark days.

I would attend church sporadically.  Everyone was nice, but no one really tried to know me other than the polite exchanges we had before service. There was still a disconnect. My nieces eventually returned to my home state; without my consent.  That’s another story, for another time.  With the way the events played out with my nieces, it ended my relationship with my youngest sister; my last relative in my nuclear family.

I began to look for other churches to attend.  I tried to stay within the United Methodist community.  It was all I had ever known.  I also tried some non-denominational churches and even went back to Wayside a few times.  I joined another local church; but that lasted about a year.  It wasn’t the right fit.  Nothing was right.  Nothing made sense.  I gave up.

A couple months ago, I began another search for a church to call home.  I had exhausted all the options within the local United Methodist organization.  I Googled some local churches and found one within a couple miles of my home.

What caught my attention was they spoke of relationships and not religion.  They also offered hot coffee.  Ok, was it wrong, I was drawn in by coffee?  I figured, I could use a free cup of coffee, listen to the message and just leave if it was like all the rest.

I was pleasantly surprised.  I’m used to a “welcoming” committee, but it seemed everyone who first saw me, made an effort to say hello.  After the service, I several people came up to me and wanted to get to know me.  It wasn’t what I expected.

I returned week after week.  I even joined a weekly Bible study group.  While I don’t share much at church or within the study group, it’s been nothing but a positive experience.

With this June being the fifth angelversary of my sister’s passing and the fourth angelversary of mother’s passing, I don’t feel as alone this year as I have in previous years.  I can attribute that to attending Harvest Community Church – Fairfield.

Again, I left a lot of details out of the struggles of my first marriage, the abuse, the nightmare of family court and the memory loss from the abuse.  However, I believe there is a purpose for all of this.  While I don’t know God’s plan for my life, I trust in Him.

 

 

All in the View

Published April 7, 2017 by lynn k scott

Daniel Angeles:  an artist, my (writing) muse, my friend.

This particular piece will highlight some of his work as it pertains to my life.  Dan has an uncanny talent for painting what people are feeling.  His vision, brought to life with strokes of a paint brush and water colors that in turn, revive memories, elicit emotions and can put feelings into perspective.  I know my world wouldn’t be as bright or beautiful without Dan in it.

So the journey with paintings begins…

all better bearThe “It Will Get Better Bear”.  While I knew Dan prior to his drawing this piece for my sister, Kathi, after her breast cancer diagnosis, I never fathomed it would become her memorial tattoo or the face of the Kathi Cares Program.  This simple teddy bear, meant more than words could adequately express to Kathi, my mom and to me.  Again, THANK YOU, Dan!

I can’t speak to Dan’s motivation as to how his thoughts transcend the mental plane and make their way to canvas, but he creates such works that one can’t help but take a “Trip Down Memory Lane.  Trip Down Memory LaneLooking at his work, you see your past, the memories become vivid. Painful or joyful, the feelings return as the mind wanders to a place in time that is just for you.

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get by.  I know as I have grown older, moved across the country, remarried, buried my father,  sister and mother, I am constantly evolving.  Sprouting New BeginningsIt seems I am always “Sprouting New Beginnings”.   When I feel my life is turning upside down, when I am having a bad day, perhaps even slumped down on the hall closet floor, having a good cry, it’s not long before I feel the bloom of life opening the a new chapter on my life.

My mom installed a love a reading in her children. Artwork depicting books in different facets speaks volumes to me.  There are times that I am literally Turning the Page“Turning The Page” in my personal book of life.  I have seen the personal growth in myself over the last several years.  Life sometimes has a way of making you experience what you never contemplated.  I can’t say I have had the best reactions to what I have endured.  Weather the StormI can say I have grown and I do my best to see the positives in situations now.  It’s all about how you “Weather the  Storm”.  This one made me smile in particular.  I swear, it’s lucky I’m a verbal alcoholic, because if I drank every time I said I would, my liver would not be happy with me.  But a few times, yes, a glass of wine has helped me through some rough times.  Ok, it took the edge off til I was ready to deal with whatever it was.

I know that there is still much more to experience.  I know my trials are not over.  There will be more to deal with.

Counting the DaysI am “Counting the Days” until I am able to finally meet the man who has brought me endless smiles and plenty of (happy) tears.  Who made my sister feel special and loved with the drawing of bear.  “The Burning Question” will be what will I ask Dan to paint for my 50th birthday.  I will be treating myself to my own very own Dan Angeles painting. Actually, I have already decided on a topic.  It will be up to Dan if he is able to display my request in watercolor:  “The Impact of Friendship“.

“Underneath It All”, I cannot imagine my life without Dan.  I’ve said it before, but my life wouldn’t be complete without his amazing artwork, his support and his thoughtful words.  My heart will forever harbor a special place for such a caring soul.

Underneath it all

Breaking the Cycle is Painful

Published April 3, 2017 by lynn k scott

As a survivor of domestic violence, the effects can continue years later after the abusive relationship has ended; especially, if children are involved.  This recounting may seem a bit rushed, however, it would turn into a book if I added the overwhelming details of the hell that was my life.

I am struggling, almost 20 years later, to quell the ghosts of my past and break the cycle of abuse.  I have four children from a previous marriage and I rarely speak of them, with the exception of the oldest, because I’ve been kept from them.  Their father has basically convinced them I decided not to be a mother any more and that’s why I left.  As if!

I spent six long years in a very abusive and escalating marriage.  I married young, had low self-esteem and had four children in six years.  I was verbally, financially, mentally and physically abused.

I actually didn’t realize I was a battered wife, until I took a college psychology course and we covered domestic violence and “The Cycle”.  I was learning about my life.  It was mind-numbing at the time.  My life could have been a case study in my psych book.  Talk about mind-blown!

I was typically cut off from friends and had little contact with my family.  I had no money of my own and had to ask permission to buy anything.  I couldn’t go out alone, without permission and needed to be home when expected or I would be in trouble.  Even certain songs, such as Wilson Phillips, “Hold On” or Ace of Base, “The Sign”, were off limits. Walking on egg shells was my life.  I tried to be perfect so I wouldn’t get in trouble. Such a fallacy in that train of thought.

Pretty stupid…didn’t even know I was being abused.  I thought it was normal for the husband to get mad at his wife for not cleaning the house at 8-months’ pregnant.  After all, if I hadn’t been so lazy, I would have had dinner ready for him after working so hard all day.  When he lost jobs, it was because I had bugged him at work. I deserved the screaming, beratement, bruises, slaps, and hair pulling.  I believed him when he said he was sorry for throwing a baby rattle at my thigh so hard it swelled around the impact site (just one of many examples).

Years later, I did journal about my existence and the horror story I was living. I was good at keeping this horrific secret.  The only way my family found out was because we had stayed with them briefly and I forgot to take my notebook out from under the mattress.  I learned to hide my journaling because it made my ex-husband angry to see in writing what he was doing to me.

Over the years the violence increased.  We tried marriage counseling.  That led to separate counseling sessions.  In turn, it led to the doctor telling me to keep a bagged packed at all times, because my ex-husband was a ticking time-bomb.  He told me I was in danger.  Funny how the mind tricks us into thinking we can handle certain situations. Even after he attempted to smother me, twice, I stayed.  He denies that fact, but it did happen.

Can I remember everything that happened to me?  No.  Why?  I was diagnosed with Battered Women’s Syndrome when I was hospitalized for depression.  To this day, almost twenty years later, I believe my ex-husband to be a mortal threat to me.  So many memories are gone.  I remember bits and pieces.  I hardly any happy times even though I know there were some. I’ve even forgotten some of the precious memories I had of when my children were small.

I do remember one Christmas Eve that my mom called.  She called to tell me my ex-husband had been arrested for attempted murder.  He had beaten a woman he knew, in the face, with a BRICK!  What started it?  She owed him $50.00.  WOW!  That was worth disfiguring her, a long recovery and incompetent police work that led to a whopping “E” felony (the lowest felony charge).

Ironically, I remembering being happy.  For the first time, I felt safe and I was already 3,000 miles away from him.  Oh, I didn’t mention that, did I?

Through a serious of what can only be described as a family court circus, my ex-husband gained custody of our children.  Back then, police reports covered nothing.  I was “mistaken” about the abuse.  “He wouldn’t do that”, an officer had told me regarding my unlawful imprisonment (in my own home).  After all, I had been in the ‘psycho ward’ at one point.  I wasn’t reliable to know what I was suffering at his hands. The police were good about discussing my hospitalization in hushed tones.  They ate up every word of his charismatic lies.

The time came, many years later, when I left under the cover of darkness; before the morning sun came up.  My mom was with me at Greyhound.  She was the only person who knew I was leaving the state; headed for California.  At least California took a stance on domestic violence.  New York didn’t even have stalking laws back then.  Lucky for him; bad for me.  It was legal to terrorize someone and those who did it; knew it!

Fast forward several years.  I learned to be independent.  Learned I could have a healthy relationship and I didn’t need to be beaten or abused to be “kept in line”.  Learned I didn’t need to have permission to go have a drink with my coworkers.  That took years of asking my then boyfriend (now husband), if “it was ok”.  It took constant reminders from him saying, “you don’t need to ask my permission”.

I eventually remarried and had my fifth child; his first.  I needed to prove to myself I was not a horrible mother.  I needed to know I could take care of a baby; that I wasn’t worthless as a woman.  That there was a man out there who wanted me; damaged as I was, with four children.

I hid my youngest daughter’s birth from my other children; after they started speaking to me again.  They were living with my mom because my abusive ex-husband followed me to California; luckily he went South and I was up North.

I was afraid the kids wouldn’t understand about their half-sister.  When they found out, they didn’t.  I started a new family without them.  I couldn’t disagree.  I didn’t set out to. Over the years, my oldest son, was the only one to really engage me.  My other children were awarded back to my ex after he was released from prison.  He had rights after all. Who cares a psychiatrist said my oldest daughter, who was my spitting image, was in danger of being abused because she looked like me.  The courts sure didn’t.  Way to go there law guardian.  I think he forgot he was assigned to look out for the welfare of the children…I digress…

The court was the only blinded fools who could not see my ex-husband gained custody to make me pay support.  The kids never saw the money.  Never saw the hell he put me through.  Never saw me struggle to eat with unrealistic support payments. New York makes the non-custodial parent pay til the children are 21.  That finally ends this year. However, the on-going circus that is family court, is a punitive place.  There is no justice for the children.  There is only name-blaming and punitive-ordered support.  It would have been an undue burden to prove my youngest son was still in school.  He quit and has been working for over a year.  Oh, he’s getting married too.  That will disqualify my ex from support.  My other son moved out, which would have done away with that support, except my ex-husband failed to legally report it to the court; and of course, no repercussions there.  Let’s not talk about the $3,000.00 in braces I am paying for that were never put on my daughter.  Family court…the biggest joke in the free world!

Another time hop to the present where my oldest child is about to be a father any day now.  Sadly, he believes I am not entitled to be alerted before the rest of Facebook.  I apparently, have some misconstrued entitlement issues, simply because I’m his mother. Insert where I didn’t get to speak to him for 10 years and hid the fact he had a sister. Where because of my status, as his mother, I’m not facing the hard truth about my past. He insists on “keeping it real” for me.

His reality has never seen me sink to the floor in the closet, while trying to get to work, questioning what I could have possibly done to be treated so horribly.  Question why my ex was allowed to go unpunished for all his misconceptions.  I know he committed disability fraud, but proving it was another story.  No one wants to stand up to him.  He is the perfect abuser and loves his “authority”.

I honestly had thought my son and I were beyond this.  He retains his passive-aggressive nature and he is verbally and mentally abusive to me.  He cannot see he treats me the same way his father did.  He has never hit me, but he prefers to cut me with words and will wait for them to heal before he begins again.  While I love all of my children, with all of my heart, I will not allow the cycle to continue!

I have set boundaries.  I am of worth.  I am entitled to respect.  It’s hard when you need to force that lesson upon your child(ren).  We should be celebrating a very exciting chapter in his life.  Yet, he chooses to “allow” me crumbs of his existence and I am not a charity case. He has no idea the true trauma I have experienced.  He has no idea how many memories I have lost due to abuse.  He has no idea what I have gone through.  If he feels he is entitled to judge my actions, I pray he never has to make life-altering decisions where his family is concerned.  You see, had I not boarded that bus all those years ago, his anger wouldn’t be aimed at me.  He sorrow would be visible as he shared his life achievements at my grave.

Please help break the cycle.  Share this story.  Share your story.  Silence is the enemy.

 

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