One Day At A Time

Families are funny things.

We grow up believing that they will always be there.  And sometimes they are.

But sometimes – they’re not.

Being the oldest of four, I was always the ‘little mommy’.  I always had extra responsibility.  (And blame.)

It took me until I was well into my 20’s to realize that I needed to start taking care of myself, because no one else was going to do it for me.

The rest of this blog is somewhat difficult to write, and even harder to share.  I won’t go into great detail of the pain & heartbreak, but it shows my raw underbelly and makes me feel seriously vulnerable.  Part of me worries about the reactions I may get, but it’s something I’ve been rolling around in my head and have to get it out…  So, here goes.

When I had just started my freshman year in high school, my mother and father decided to get a divorce.  My mother moved a couple of hours away up to this little mountain community that was BEAUTIFUL and took my 2 younger sisters and younger brother.  I stayed behind because I had already started a school year.

After they moved, my mother and some of her friends took a trip to the beach for her birthday weekend and as the story goes, she was roller skating and the wheels were loose and she fell and broke both arms – wrist on one arm, elbow on the other.

As you can imagine, trying to do ANYTHING with two broken arms is nearly impossible.  So, I packed up and moved to Big Bear with my mother and siblings to help (High School #2).  Little mommy to the rescue.

Cooking, cleaning, helping with homework.  All things I did.  Showering & bathroom trips were on the Top 5 list of “Things I Did But Did NOT Look Forward To”!  Needless to say, my mother and I got pretty close.

There were a lot of things that happened in the following years that forced me to grow up rather quickly.  All of them left memories I’ll never forget – good and bad.

Big Bear is an AMAZING town.  It’s charming and peaceful and enchanting.  It’s a great place for children to grow up.  But there’s a side to it that a lot of people don’t see.  Because there isn’t really much to do, sadly, a lot of people turn to drug use.  And it seems fairly easy to obtain those drugs.  I’m sure that’s the case in most towns, but only more recognizable there because of the size of the town.

I NEVER found drugs as a temptation.  I think after the first or second time someone asked me if I wanted to try them, word quickly spread that my answer was not one that people would willingly put themselves in a position to hear.

Unfortunately, the situation wasn’t the same for my younger sister.

I moved to Florida for my Junior Year (High School #3) and there is still a part of me that wonders if I hadn’t, how different things might have been.

Long story short: my younger sister became involved in a LOT of detrimental activities.  She went from an honor roll student to a high school dropout.  She got pregnant at a young age and straightened out – for a while.

But addiction is powerful.

She became involved in drugs again after having back surgery.  She had a doctor that prescribed pain pills like candy, until she was red-flagged at many pharmacies.  Apparently, the street price of prescription narcotics is MUCH higher than the more deadly drugs and they spun their web tightly.  I had tried to get the family to do an intervention YEARS before when I saw red flags waving strongly.  But for reasons I have never understood, my sister is quite good at convincing people to believe what she wants them to.  She quickly lost her footing on the slippery slope of serious drug use.

A few months after my miscarriage, I learned that she was pregnant.  The baby was born a few weeks before my husband and I would have been due and faced a rough road to get beyond the withdrawals.

A few months ago, I learned that she was trying to get custody of her daughter and I wrote a letter to the courts asking them to carefully consider all the facts.  When I wrote my blog about it,  I specifically said that I knew that what I’d done wouldn’t be received kindly by some.  And I was right.

My mother is the kind of person that is ALWAYS looking to help people.  To some, it could be perceived as a “fix-it” mentality.  She has a soft spot for those that are in a bad way and sometimes even puts herself in rough situations thinking that it will help that person come around.

I learned that my mother had been helping my sister with many things – including moving in with her and helping her try to get her daughter back.  When she found out that I’d written a letter to the courts, she took it pretty badly and I was accused of being bitter and jealous.  A lot of hurtful things were said.

And we haven’t really talked since.

It is so weird to me to have so many great things going on in my husband’s and my life and not be able to share it with her.  I know my mother loves me, but I feel like she’s chosen my sister over me.  And it hurts.

I know how short life is.  I know that not forgiving someone doesn’t hurt the offender.  In fact, it sets the offended free.  So, I’ve done that.

But I have to protect me and my husband and the family that we are trying so desperately to have.  So, I’ve chosen to let go of relationships that can feel unhealthy at times, regardless of how difficult that may be.

I don’t claim to be perfect.  I know I’ve said some hurtful things before.  And I can only hope that they can forgive me for them.

I firmly stand in my belief that tough love is often not only the right way but the BEST way.

So, while it’s difficult and often painful to not be able to pick up the phone and share my excitement over J’s and my new house with someone I used to be so close to, we are going to move on with our lives and thoroughly enjoy every moment.

One Day At a Time.

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It Had To Be Done

Today, I had to do something that was painstakingly difficult and surprisingly easy.

In my third blog, I spoke of someone who was very close to me that I had learned was pregnant.  This person has made some VERY bad decisions in their life.  She lost EVERYTHING due to her lack of judgment and that desire for that next fix.  I’ve NEVER understood the allure and pull of drugs.  They seem to reach in and grasp this part of people and then just squeeze tighter and tighter until the person you used to know no longer exists.

shadow

I watched this person go from someone who was so beautiful and full of life, to someone who just didn’t care what was going on around them as long as they had that poison running through their system.  I remember the very first time I saw the warning signs.  I tried years before to coerce those that loved her into some form of an ‘intervention’, but was never able to succeed in that attempt.  After I saw those warning signs rear their ugly head again, I tried to say something to this person.  I’ll let you imagine how that went.

angry woman

This person was always so perky, almost annoyingly so sometimes.  Happy, fun, energetic, smart, engaging, funny.  People seemed to be drawn to her.  And she was an AMAZING mother.  Sure, there were things that she did that probably wouldn’t have earned her the Mother of the Year award, but I’m sure that can be said for any and every mother.  But she loved her son.  He’s impossible to not love, but she spoiled him like crazy!  She expected him to obey, but rewarded him richly for doing so.  And oh, how that boy loved his mother.

Her powers of persuasion were honed to an art form.  She could make just about anyone believe just about anything.  Manipulation, I would even dare call it most times.  I guess that’s what may have gotten her into so much trouble in the world she’s so ensnared in.

After a particular visit where she met all of my friends, I remember vividly thinking “I may never see her again”.  I was almost right.  I saw her once a couple of years later when my husband and I went for a visit and she finally got to meet him.  I use the term very loosely, because I doubt it would even be remembered through the chemical haze.

We haven’t spoken in quite a few years, and to be honest, I prefer it that way.  Her life has spiraled so unbelievably far beyond control.  I no longer know this person – AT ALL.  Making the decision to remove this person from my life and inform others that I wanted no further information in regards to them was EXTREMELY difficult.  I still love this person VERY much.  I’ve been told that I am a cold-hearted, uncaring person by many people very close to me.  But I am a FIRM believer that there is absolutely, positively, undeniably no helping someone who doesn’t want to first help themselves and sometimes, a little – or a lot of – tough love is just what’s necessary.

tough love

When I learned that this person was pregnant, it rocked me to my core.  She had proven that she was selfish, but to get pregnant while ingesting/injecting/smoking multiple illegal drugs was just inconceivable to me!  Child abuse in its earliest form.  It seemed so unfair!  So many couples in this world that live pure, clean lives, spend thousands of dollars and have to trust that science will take over where their bodies have failed them – and yet the people who seem the most undeserving take it for granted.  That poor life that didn’t ask to be brought into this world, let alone a situation so awful! And when that baby girl was born (exactly 3 weeks before my husband and I would have been due to deliver our blessing), she tested positive for multiple illegal drugs.  CPS actually placed the baby with someone who could provide for her and take care of her and love her through the withdrawal process.

I believe that children need to be with their mothers.  I also believe that in some situations, being with the mother isn’t a decision that should be based solely on genetics.  These babies that are born into situations where there are drugs and dangerous people around can’t speak for themselves, so the people who love them must do it for them.  What I did today won’t be received kindly by some, and that’s ok.  Good intentions are often misunderstood.  But it needed to be done.

I found out that, even though this person is not clean, they are trying to gain custody of their child.  So – I prayed.  And then I wrote.  I pled to whom it may concern to take all the facts into consideration.  An email addressed to the lawyers that would hopefully succeed in preventing that precious, innocent life from being handed over to a woman who could potentially, possibly even unintentionally, place that child in harm’s way.  From a woman who has had many, many opportunities to straighten out her life, yet hasn’t.  It gets harder every day to believe that she actually will.  However, I know that my God can perform miracles.  In fact, I’m kinda counting on it!

Today, I had to do something that was painstakingly difficult and surprisingly easy.  But it had to be done.

judge