Friday, July 12, 2013

What part of I love you is unclear???

So an update on my mother: a few months back my mother expressed interest in getting into a program to get her life back on track. After giving her the number of a place close to me I didn't hear from her for about two months. The last few weeks we have talked on the phone a few times. During the conversations, however, we never talked about her getting treatment. This evening though she brought it up. Oh did she bring it up.

I got a message from her on Facebook. She was writing to tell me that she had sent a friend request to my sister. Now my mother and sister have never met. My mother gave my sister up when my sister was a month old. I didn't meet my sister until she was about 20. At the time I told my mother to let my sister make the first move towards communication. My sister spent her childhood not knowing she was adopted. When I met her she was still struggling to understand. I am very protective of my siblings so I really didn't want my mother upsetting my sister. However, I never wanted to stand in the way of them meeting or talking. In my mother's message to me on Facebook she pretty much of accuses me of trying to keep her from my sister.

My mother then goes on to tell me that I should accept her for who she is and not have stipulations about treatment programs. She went on to say that she gave us up so we could have better lives and that she saved us from hell. She demanded respect because she gave birth to us and loves unconditionally, unlike her children. She brought up how bad her childhood was and that because of her bad childhood she is the way she is. Long story short, she believes everything that happened isn't her fault and she is a good mom.
I haven't replied to her message yet and I don't think I will. I get the feeling she was either drunk, high or some combination of both when she wrote me the message. I have told my mother many times that I have forgiven her and that I love her so very much in spite of the way she lives. How many times must I tell her this?? I could try to explain to her that the reason for wanting her to go to treatment is for my own safety and the safety of my family. When she is using she is a monster. Maybe if she wasn't a violent drinker I wouldn't be too concerned about a rehab program. I don't know how to explain all this to her. I wish I could talk to her face to face so she could see the love I have for her. I wish I could hug her and hold her close so she can feel my love. But I can't do those things until she is clean. I'm really at a loss as to how to continue a relationship with her. Part of me wants to just stop talking to her. But another part of me can't let her go. Maybe she is my addiction...

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Forever Marked

I was just checking my personal Facebook feed when I noticed a friend has posted a video. He was sure to let people know it was hard to watch so I read the title to the video. My stomach dropped. Apparently this video is of a mother giving her baby boy a tattoo. Now I didn't watch the video so I have no idea if the child truly was a baby or if that is just what they called the boy. I know there are videos floating around the Internet of parents abusing their children and it truly makes me sick. How awful for these children to be abused by a parent and then to have it posted on the Internet. As strange as it may sound I am glad my abuse took place before there were camera phones and digital cameras. I am more shocked that a these videos exist on the Internet than I am of the abuse occurring. Yes it is shocking that a mother would tattoo her child but only in the "normal" world. In the world of abuse and addiction tattooing a child is not that far fetched. I was a tattooed child.

I got my first tattoo when I was 10 years old. My mother and some of her friends had built a tattoo gun out of whatever they could find. For a good three months that was all my kitchen was used for, tattooing. My mother got really into it and was putting tattoos on all her friends. Being 10 years old I actually thought it was kind of cool. Plus it kept my mother happy. At school I started drawing on my hands and forearms. Not so much because I wanted to look like I had tattoos but because I was bored in school. I drew on myself instead of paper because we couldn't afford to replace paper. It used to drive my mother nuts when I came home covered in pen ink. She told me if I kept it up she would give me a real tattoo. I didn't believe her. She was always threatening me with stuff like that. If she wanted to do damage she wouldn't threaten, she would act. So I continued with my doodling.

I should also explain that I had a horrible habit of not coming home right after school. I would wonder through the streets or just play on the playground at school. Anything to keep from going home too soon. I knew I would be in trouble but I was so terrified of my mother I had to work up courage to go home. My mother would try to scare me with stories of little girls being kidnapped and murdered. None of it worked. As my brother got older I started to spend more time at home.

One day, I came home from school way too late and on the wrong day. My mother was manic and probably high. She screamed at me for being late. Tried to convince me that she had been worried when in reality she was wanting to leave for the night and couldn't until I got home. During the screaming she started to hit me. I put my hands up and she noticed my doodling. Something seemed to calm her. She quit hitting and screaming. As calm as can be she told me to go to the kitchen. She and her boyfriend had been doing some tattooing earlier in the day. The boyfriend was at the kitchen table and didn't bat an eye when my mother told him what she wanted to do. He just started to get everything ready. My mother then explained to me that I was getting a tattoo for two reasons: I keep drawing on myself and she wanted a way to identify me if I was ever beyond facial recognition. I was floored. There was nothing I could do. I couldn't fight her. I knew she would hold me down if I tried. So I put a smile on my face and sat down. As the child of an addict you learn that sometimes it is better to go along with the crazy.

I'm not entirely sure what happened next. I know I got a tattoo but I can't remember who gave it too me. Part of me says it was my mother because I can see her bent over my ankle with the tattoo gun in her hand. However, her boyfriend my have done it because I can see her holding me while it is done. No matter who did it the fact remains that I had a quarter inch cross the outside of my left ankle. I remember my mother stressing to me not to tell anyone. If I did she could get in a lot of trouble. Even then I knew that if you can't tell anyone then something was wrong. But I kept the secret. Well kind of. When I started a new school I would show a select few in an attempt to make friends. It never worked out well. I never worried about those kids telling their parents. Honestly, who would believe a mother would tattoo her child? I was never asked my a teacher or school administrator about it so I'm sure no one reported it to anyone.

After my tattoo was done my little brother wanted one. He was about four at the time and thought everything my mother did was right. He didn't know any better. Our mother was his whole world until he was six. When my brother asked for his tattoo my mother agreed. She didn't put any ink on the needle though and my brother freaked when it touched his skin. He did have a faint line for a while. The needle in the gun had been changed before I got mine but she didn't change it for my brother. Luckily both my brother and I are free of blood diseases.

While I have a permanent reminder of abuse I choose to look at it a different way. When I look down at that tattoo and look at my daughter I am can't help but be grateful for how far I have come. I'm grateful that I have a reminder of what addiction can do to a child and to make sure I don't go down that path. I have gotten a few more tattoos as an adult and I love them. I have always found tattoos beautiful. I would never tattoo or let my child be tattooed. I won't even pierce her ears until she is old enough to ask and to take care of them. This is just my personal standing. But having been permanently marked against my will can you blame me??


Friday, April 26, 2013

Too Many Trips to the Doctor

What a crazy April I have been having. School, work and family have been taking up most of my time. While none of this is out of the ordinary April has brought us some obstacles that I never saw coming.

It all started when my daughter got pink eye. The pink eye cleared up with drops and we thought that would be the end of it. Man were we wrong. A few days after her eyes cleared she started coughing. Nothing serious at first but it was enough to concern me. Took her to the doctor and he told us she had a cold. Not even 24 hours later her cough was worse and she had a temperature of 103. My husband and I took her to the ER where they told us again that she only had a cold. While my mother's instinct told me something more was wrong I went ahead and took the doctor's word. Two days later my daughter still has a fever and can't stop coughing. All she wanted to do was snuggle with me or her daddy. She wasn't herself at all. I took her back to the doctor and they found that she had a double ear infection. I also asked the doctor to test her for RSV which came back positive. RSV can lead to pneumonia and other lung issues. I was told that all she needed was antibiotics for the ear infection. So we went home and started our medication regiment. After two more days she wasn't getting any better so it was back to the doctor. I was at my wit's end. I told my husband that the doctor better do more for her because I would freak out on someone if they told me she was fine. Thankfully the doctor took one look at her and knew that something more serious was wrong. He tested her oxygen level and it was at 83. Normally your oxygen levels are in the high 90s and if they dip down below 94 you are put in the hospital. The doctor sent us to the hospital where my baby stayed for two nights. Those two nights were the worse of my life. While I was grateful that my daughter was getting all the help and care she needed I was terrified that something else might happen or that she wouldn't recover.

Thankfully my daughter pounced back fast and we were able to take her home. We had to do a few days of breathing treatments at home but she is in perfect health now. I hope I never have to take my daughter to the hospital again. It broke my heart to see her with an IV and oxygen tubing. She was so miserable the whole time we were there. I have never been more thankful that my daughter is generally in good health and doesn't normally get sick.

The whole ordeal with the hospital made me think about my mother. I mostly wondered how could a mother walk away from her children. My husband and I took turns going home and showering while our daughter was ill. If I didn't have my husband though I would never have left the hospital. It kills me to leave my daughter so I can go to school or work. What if she gets hurt while I'm gone?? Or what if she does something new and I miss it?? I cannot understand how my mother was able to trust someone she didn't know to raise her kids. Thankfully my brother and I didn't have any major health problems. My brother did break his arm once but he didn't spend any time in the hospital. My mother missed my prom and graduation. She didn't wipe my tears the first time my heart was broken or when the kids at school were mean. My mother missed and continues to miss everything. She hasn't met my husband or my daughter. Both of her children are married and starting their adult lives. I cannot grasp how my mother could miss so much.

I understand that addiction is all consuming and that in the deepest parts of addiction you don't care about anyone or anything other than your drug of choice. What baffles me though is why someone wouldn't want to get better for the sake of her children. My mother has expressed on numerous occasions that she wishes she hadn't missed as much as she did. But if she really felt that way why did she continue to miss important milestones?? Why did she continue in her addiction?? 

I have no answers to these questions. What I do know is that I will there for my daughter when she needs me. If that means she needs a cheerleader, a protector or any of the other many things that a mother is I will be there. I can't even imagine not putting my daughter first. Maybe instead of focusing on the fact that my mother wasn't there for me I should focus on what that taught me. I learned how much it hurt to not have my mother there and I will never cause my daughter that type of pain.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I Am Crystal Meth by Alicia VanDavis

I saw this poem floating around Facebook and thought it was eerily beautiful.

You may or may not know me.
I destroy homes.
I tear families apart,
I’ll take your children and that is just the start.
I’m more precious the diamonds, more valued then gold.
The sorrows I bring are a sight to behold.

If you need me I’m easily found
I’m all around you in every city and every town.
I live with the rich I live with the poor.
I live down the street even next door.

I’m made in a lab just not the kind you think,
I can be made under the kitchen sink.
I can be made in the closet or in the woods.
If this doesn’t scare you to death it certainly should.
I have many names but one you’d know best
My name is Crystal meth.

My powers are awesome just try me and see.
Try me twice and your soul will belong to me.
Once I possess you, you’ll steal and you’ll lie
You’ll do what it takes just to get high.
The crimes you’ll commit for the high and fame
Will be worth millions once I get in your veins.

You’ll lie to your mom and steal from you dad,
When you see their tears you won’t even be sad.
You’ll forget your morals and how you were raised,
Once I teach you my worthless ways.

I’ll take your friends, your control, your pride,
But I’ll always be with you right by your side.
You’ll give up your friends, your family, your home,
When you run out you’ll be all alone.
I’ll take and I’ll take till there’s nothing to give,
And when I’m through you’ll be lucky to live.

You can try me for fun but I’m no game.
Giving the chance I’ll drive you insane.
I’ll give you nightmares while you lie sweating in bed.
I’ll be the evil voices inside you head.

You shouldn’t have tried me how many times were you told?
But you challenged my powers how could you have been so bold?
You couldn’t say no, and just walked away.
If you could do it all over again what would you say?

I’ll be you master you’ll be my slave.
Don’t fear being lonely I’ll walk with you to your grave.
I’ll show you more pain then your deepest betrayal
So come take my hand as I lead you to HELL.

Written by Alicia VanDavis

Homework?? What's that??

Finished another day at school. Still really enthusiastic about furthering my education and future career. Having my husband support me in this really helps. Actually I have a lot of people who are really supporting. My maternal grandmother has been proud of everything I have done. She is proud of anything I do as long as it betters my life. I am the first female to graduate from high school and to have her first child at 25. My adopted family has always encouraged me to continue my education. I work with some amazing people who have been supportive and have even help with school supplies. The support has been overwhelming.

I can't help but wonder why my mother rejected her support system. I know that even though my mother and grandmother have had a strained relationship, my grandmother would have been there for her. My grandmother and grandfather, who is my mother's stepfather, have supported my mother, brother and myself more than once. My mother had a built in support system and she rejected it. Something she taught to her children.

My mother has a weird philosophy on life. She wants to do everything on her own, yet she depends on others to take care of her. She is all about respect and putting blood family first, yet treats her mother like crap and has not seen her children in about 13 years. She likes to pretend that she had an awful childhood and tells her friends this. I had a conversation with an ex-boyfriend of hers that mentioned how rough my mother had it as a child. I told him that my mother was spoiled by her father and got whatever her heart desired. She never went without anything. It baffles me that she would portray herself this way. Then again maybe she is ashamed that she had every opportunity in life to be someone great and she turned into an addict.

I was taught from a young age nothing is more important than my family. And by family, according to my mother, that means my brother and my mother. She taught me to trust no one outside of our little trio. While my mother has had many friends over the years these were just people that she could get something from. As soon as they were no longer useful she moved on. I fell into that same sort of habit. Only for me I moved on as soon as it felt like they were getting to close. As I got older I learned that it is ok to be open to people as long as you trust them. I still feel a strong pull towards my brother. If I had my way I'd still be barking orders at him like he was five. When we were living with my mother nothing was more important to me than his well being. That's why I never really went to school. I was too worried about what would happen if he was left alone with our mother. She never really cared that I quit going to school. In her mind just translated into having a built in maid and babysitter. When I did go to school she never helped me get ready and never helped with homework. She hated going to parent's nights. She felt to out of place. I always wanted her to go so I could show off how cool my mother was for not looking like other moms. More than once I wanted to try out for a part in a school play but didn't because I knew that I wouldn't be there for the play. There were so many things I wanted to do but knew I couldn't because I didn't have my mother's support.

When my brother and I were adopted all that changed. Suddenly we had two parents that wanted, no, more like expected us to do well. It wasn't that they expected us to do well because that was how it is. They wanted us to do well because they knew we could. They expected me to do my homework and would check it every night to make sure it was done. I struggled with homework up until I graduated high school. I hated doing it. Another factor was I was taught that homework wasn't important. Not only did my adopted parents expect us to do well in school they encouraged us to get involved in sports, choir, drama and youth group. When I didn't make the school basketball team my 8th grade year, my adopted dad signed me up to play with the YMCA team for my age and even coached my team that year. Both of my adopted parents went to every game and choir concert. Sometimes my dad would miss a game due to work or my mom couldn't make it for some reason but I had at least one of them in the stands cheering for me. As I progressed through high school I dropped sports and got more interested in theatre. I can't act to save my life but I enjoyed working backstage. My parents came to some of the plays I worked on but I know that if I had even a minor role on stage they would have been there every night.

Looking back I am so grateful for my adopted parents and their encouragement. When I was a teenager I hated it. School wasn't important to me and I didn't really care for most of my extra curricular activities. They were just an excuse to get out of the house. My main goal was to turn 18, move out and start my life. I didn't want to go to college or anything like that. While my parents were disappointed they supported my decision. They may not have liked the life I was living but they supported my choice to live it. Over the years I have learned that it's ok to lean on others for support every now and then. It is a wonderful feeling to know that if I ever need help or just someone to talk to I have my parents. Even more than that now I have my husband and his family. I have my amazing bosses at work. I just have been blessed with amazing people who want to see me succeed. So instead of shunning them I am going to embrace my support system. I hope I make them proud.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

School or Skool??

While living with my mother I learned how to scrape by with the least amount of effort. I never wanted to set my goals or standards to high. I kept this up for most of my life. Who did it hurt if I only got C's in school? Sure I was capable of getting straight A's but it was too much work. After I somehow managed to graduate from high school I took any entry level job I could get, even if that job had no future. I worked as a hotel maid and have many jobs in the food service industry. I knew that I could do better but I just didn't want to put the work in. I made enough money to pay for rent, power, water and food so I thought I was set. While I didn't want to put the work in to get a better job I did work my tail off at whatever job I was working. I got my share of promotions throughout my working career but I didn't stay at one job too long.

When I got pregnant I was working a seasonal job. When I got laid off it seemed silly to get a job when I would just be taking time off for the baby anyway. Luckily my husband worked a job that paid well so we were able to scrape by. After having my baby however I wanted more for her. While I will always make sure she has what she needs I also what her to be able to have some things she wants. Can't really do that when you only make enough to cover the bare essentials. I want to be able to send her to dance lessons or soccer or what ever her little heart desires. That isn't to say I want to buy my child everything under the sun. She won't be getting everything she asks for just because the kids at her school have everything. However I would like her to be able to have new school clothes and supplies when she needs them. If she decides she wants to get into a sport of some kind I want her to be able to try out and have all the equipment she needs. I want her to be able to have sleep over with lots of movies and games. Or if there is a birthday party for a school friend at a venue she has to pay to get in, I don't want to have to go through all the change in the house just to cover the charge. Essentially I want her to have everything she needs with some things that she wants.

In light of wanting to better my life for my family I have started attending community college to earn a degree. I am also working at a job that is in the making of becoming a career. My mother in law is a legal assistant and is training me to be one as well. The attorneys I work for have also been encouraging me to go to law school. I never in a million years thought that I would be considering law school but I am. If I do go I want to be a child advocate.

After finishing my first week at community college I can't help but wonder what my life had been like if my mother finished her education. She never finished high school and I only remember her holding down one job. I wonder what my life would have been like if meth had never entered it. Would my mother had finished her education? Would she have held down a job to take care of her kids? While meth destroyed my life I will make sure it won't destroy my daughter's. I can't make my mother get and stay drug free but I sure can make I do.


P.S. Please head on over to Facebook to check out the Addict's Child page. I tend to keep it updated on my blog posts.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Home is Where Your Heart is....

Last week I got a call from one of my best friends who lives in the town I grew up in. She is going through a difficult time in her life and asked me to come visit for some girl time. My husband was in agreement and was happy to stay home with our daughter so I could make the three hour trip by myself. Since I was adopted and moved I hadn't been home by myself. I had made the trip with a few of my boyfriends and my brother but never alone. I was anxious to see how I held up emotionally. Surprisingly it wasn't as hard as I thought.

The town I grew up in hasn't changed much. It's still about the same size and the people all look the same. It was interesting to see all the places from my childhood and how they changed. The grocery store I used to shop at is still there and looks exactly like I remember it. I used to shop there because it was right down the street from my house. All the cashiers knew me and would double bag my groceries so I could carry them on the handlebars of my bike. I went everywhere on my bike. I even had a employee at a local take and bake pizza place clingwrap a pizza to my handlebars once. The pizza place is no longer there. Even the old pizza arcade is gone. I only went there a handful of times for birthday parties and the like. Never had the money to play the games.

I drove by my old house on my way out of town. It's still there and looks the same except for a new paint job. I hated that house. Mostly because of the life I had there. As I drove by I noticed toys in the yard. It got me wondering about the people who live there now. Are they happy? Do they take care of their children like my mother never did? That house holds so many secrets I can't help but be glad it can't talk. The neighborhood looks the same as well. Only one new house but they all look the same. None of the neighbors are the same but I already knew that. The field I used to ride my bike through now holds a doctor's office.

The only thing that hasn't changed at all is the beach. It is still as amazing and beautiful as it ever was. It still calms my nerves and makes me feel relaxed. I only got about an hour on the beach but I could have easily lost four or five just sitting watching the waves break on the sand. Or I could have spent my time agat hunting. My mother used to take my brother and I down to the beach to hunt agats. We loved it. My mother would draw giant circles for each of us so we would have our own areas to hunt agats. We would spend the whole day at the beach. Even my mother found peace on these day trips.

The whole drive "home" I was anxious and I really felt I was driving into the past. I didn't really want to see the place where I lived in hell for so long. After spending the night and coming to peace with the town I felt so much better. I needed this trip as much as my friend needed girl time. I realized that my home is where my family is and I couldn't wait to get back to them. I may never want to live there again but I will no longer dread visiting.