Tag Archives: parenting

A Time to Remember – At the Circus

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A few weeks ago I decided to take Jeremy, my amazing son, to the circus. It had been a while since we had enjoyed something like that together and Jeremy had never been to the circus. I was really excited when I purchased the tickets. I got the best tickets I could find. Our seats were right in the middle, so we wouldn’t miss anything.

Jeremy was with his dad for his summer visit, so I thought it would be special to pick him up for a fun activity. He always misses me when he is at his dad’s for a long time. I called to tell him about his surprise and he couldn’t wait.

The big day finally arrived. I picked him up and off we went.  Eric and Jeremy’s grandma joined us. When we got there I bought Jeremy a ridiculously priced program, which came with clown glasses. Jeremy’s little face, which honestly isn’t so little anymore, lit up like a department store Christmas tree. He insisted I fix the glasses right there, before we walked in, so he could wear them.

We made it to our seats right as the show was starting. Jeremy watched in amazement as the clowns and performers did their routines. He was awestruck at the tricks performed by the tigers, elephants,  and poodles. He excitedly applauded for the performers. I was filled with joy at the site of the most important person in my world having such a grand time.

At intermission, Jeremy wanted nachos, so Jeremy, Eric, and I made our way to the concession stand, to buy a couple outrageously priced orders of nachos.  We returned to our seats to watch the second half of the show, which the ringmaster promised would be even more spectacular than the first. Jeremy ate his nachos and finished watching “the greatest show on earth.”

It seemed like the show ended not long after we returned to our seats. Jeremy again applauded the performers. When we first arrived at the circus a dragon sword caught Jeremy’s eye. He’d asked me then if he could have the sword and I told him he could, but that he had to wait until the show was over.

Jeremy was so polite, as he usually is. He waited without out one word to get the coveted sword. I know it wasn’t easy for him, because he really wanted it the moment he laid eyes on it. We made our way to the souvenir stand and purchased the special sword.

Jeremy was the happiest kid on earth at that moment and I wouldn’t trade that experience with him for all the money in the world.  I haven’t been able to take him to do a lot of things like that recently, because work had been a bit slow. In the past, I always made it a priority to go do fun things with my precious child.

Our circus experience ignited a spark in me. It made me realize how important it is to build these special memories. Jeremy won’t be excited about going to the circus pretty soon, at least for a while, when he becomes more concerned with what his friends are doing than spending time with me.

I have to treasure every amazing moment with him. It doesn’t matter how much money I have. I can engage in fun activities and share special memories with Jeremy for free and that is what I intend to do. Everything else will be okay as long as I am rich in love and life experiences.

My Fantastic Father Forgot Father’s Day

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This is a really fine example of the fine characters I reside with. They are selfish, self-serving jerks to put it lightly. My step-mother is the definition of evil and my father is too stupid to notice or too selfish to care.

Yesterday, was Father’s Day.  A day for all to acknowledge and thank their fathers for what they have done for them. My father has never been what a father should be.  He has never been there for me when I needed him. He always did the bare minimum.

When he was there or when I lived with him he was very verbally abusive. He didn’t protect me like a father should. I lived with him for my last two years of high school and those were some of the worst years of my life. He was rarely there and I basically had to raise myself, while literally being treated like Cinderella by my step-mother and two step-sisters.

Despite all of that, I still remember him every year, which is not an easy task. Even finding a card that is not completely bs is difficult. As I stood on the card isle reading through card after card that would not work for me I realized that those cards are what a father is supposed to be. I had to fight the tears back as I read each one and imagined what it would be like to have one of those dads. I wondered if the people on either side of me had a dad like that or if they too had a dad like mine.

So, yesterday I finally found a card that was honest and still kind. It simply said, “In my heart there will always be a place where I’m your little girl.” Inside, I wrote a heartfelt message. I told my father that I appreciated him and the fact that he taught me to be a strong independent person. I always give him credit for the things that he has taught me, even if they were through a lack of caring. I also bought a card from my son and I both wishing him a stress free Father’s Day.

I came home and gave him the cards and coffee I had for him. He told me that he needed to brush his teeth and shave before he could read them. I thought that was a little strange but didn’t put too much thought into it.

Then I went outside to fill the water bowl, as he had instructed me to fill it with new water every time I let my dogs out. While I was outside my step-mom came opened the door. Very clearly to see if the bowl was filled so that she could tell my dad I hadn’t done it so he would yell at me. When she opened the door I noticed she was dressed like she was going somewhere. I asked her if she was going somewhere and she responded with a hurried, “yes”. I then asked her where she was going. She completely ignored me closing the door.

As I sat outside for a minute, I thought to myself that she must be going somewhere. I wondered where she was going. I thought that it would be nice for me to be able to take my dad somewhere for Father’s Day.

Then, I heard her inside talking to my dad. I heard her ask for his car keys. I went inside to see him sitting on the couch putting his shoes on. He opened the first card, the one from Jeremy and I, and said “thank you”. He then opened the second and said, “oh this is too long I’ll have to read this later.” I asked him where he was going and he informed me that he was going to Galveston with my step-mom and her mother. They were going to eat and to the beach.

I was shocked. I couldn’t say anything but, “have a good time.”  Nothing else would come out.

So, once again, when my Dad was supposed to be with me he was with my step-mom and her family. For years, he lived with her and her daughters and missed every holiday with me. I remember so few times that he even came to see me or called to see how I was doing.

I blame them both for this. He is my father and it is his responsibility to say, “Today is Father’s Day,  I am sure that Amy probably wants to do something with me.” I blame her because what women asks her husband to go on Father’s Day to the beach with her mother and doesn’t invite his daughter or grandson?

Many times in the past I let this bother me. It still hurts, but I will not allow this to bring down my spirit. I will not take responsibility for this in any way. My father’s inability to be there for me does make things a bit more difficult in life, but it makes success so much sweeter.

I hope that all of the good father’s out there enjoyed THEIR day. I hope that they all know what a gift it is to their children just to be there for them.

Inspiration from a Child

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I feel truly honored to be the mother of a most amazing 10 year old boy. His name is Jeremy and he is almost done with the 4th grade. During 1st and 2nd grade Jeremy was in a program at school called Reading Recovery. It gave him one on one time with a teacher to help him with reading. He was ahead of other students in his vocabulary and could spell the words out loud, but he struggled with reading.

I read with Jeremy before he started school and every night while he was in school I read to him. It was hard for him, because he would get so frustrated. Also, he felt different because he had to leave the classroom to go to his reading classes and the other kids knew he was in Reading Recovery.  I really had mixed feelings about this because I didn’t want him to feel singled out and have self esteem problems.

I made it a point to tell him that he could do anything he set his mind to and that I knew he could overcome this obstacle. I took him to the bookstore frequently and bought him books he was really interested in, to encourage him to want to read. It was hard for me to relate to him though, because reading was something I never struggled with. Actually, I always loved reading and excelled at it. I felt responsible and wanted to be able to help him.

In 3rd grade Jeremy stated to catch up to the other kids in reading. He even started to enjoy reading. He finished out the year with average reading score. Throughout the summer I took him to buy books often and had him read to me. He started 4th grade and was doing much better. He worked very hard all year in anticipation of the STAAR standardized test he would have to take at the end of the year. 

Today I got a call from his teacher. She said, “Jeremy had something to tell you”. I immediately thought he must have done something wrong,  but he told me, “Mommy I got commended on the STAAR test for reading”. My eyes teared up. I was about to walk into an appointment and here I was standing outside, overjoyed at his success. I told him I was very proud of him and his accomplishment.

He is an inspiration to me. I will not forget what he was able to do by believing in himself, sticking with it and giving it his all. You better believe I will never let him forget it either. I am sure there will be a time that he feels overcome by a challenge, as we all are at times, but I will kindly remind him of this victory. 

A Look Inside My Life and Journey

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Hello All,

I have really been wanting to share a lot with you all, but I have had a serious case of writer’s block. I sit down to write, but then nothing comes to me. Anyway, I am making a serious effort to get past it and felt like maybe sharing where I am at right now on my own road to the life that I want to live is a good place to start.

For the last year I have been living at home with my father and step-mother, who has made my life as difficult as possible for the past 15 years. I was in denial for a long time about how serious the situation was. Recently, I was able to come to grips with where I am at right now and have been able to begin putting the pieces back together. So many things have happened over the years that have knocked me down. I have always been a very strong person. I never let anything get me down and used all of the negative that came my way as motivation to be successful. Somewhere along the way though I lost my will to overcome. I felt defeated. I took a good look at my life and I realized that if I am going to be the person that I was before I needed to get away from this house that I am living in.

There is so much negativity here. I am living with a father that was never there for me and a step-mother who has literally done everything in her power to make me look like a horrible person and ruin my relationships with my father and every other one else in my family. This started when I came to live with her and my father when I was 15 years old. My father and family members were told horrible things about me. My father worked all the time and was never home and she and her two daughters treated me horribly. Leaving me out of things that they did together and making my life miserable. I was much older than her daughters, so as I have watched them grow up I saw that they were allowed to do all of the things she wouldn’t allow me to do. In addition, she told my father that she did not believe that parents should help there children financially and that I should have to work when I was in high school to buy everything for myself, all of my clothes, toiletries, school supplies, etc.

Living with them then was horrible and I couldn’t wait to leave. I ended up doing just that when I was 18. I lived a happy and fulfilling life without them for a long time. I rarely saw or spoke to them. Then I lost my boyfriend who I had lived with for several years (a story for another day). I felt like I needed them. For a year I was paying rent in my house but staying at their house almost every night, because it was really hard for me to stay at my house. Eventually, I talked to them and suggested maybe we could get a home together. I found a great house with plenty of room for all of us. The problems started as soon as we moved in though.

Before we signed the lease my dad told me that I would needed to pay $500 rent a month. Right after we moved in my dad told me that I would need to pay $1000 of the $1750 a month rent. I had two rooms in the home that I was allowed to use and had to store the rest of my furniture. My step-mom and step-sister made my life a living hell while we were there. I once moved my desk out of my room and into the office that no one else ever used and she lost her mind. Her and her daughter then made it a point to be as ugly to me as they could. Making me feel uncomfortable in the home that I had just as much right to as they did, so when the lease was up I moved out into my own apartment with my son.

Things were great and then my business got slow and I was forced to move back in with them. This time because I could not afford to rent my own place. This was a horrible experience for me. I was very hard on myself about this. I had never been in a position where I needed to live with them. Before it was my choice to live with them. I have always paid rent, bought groceries and often given them more money than what was agreed upon. I am told that what I do does not help them at all and that they are doing me a favor, which is their justification to be mean to me. My dad always asks me to do things for him and if I can’t because it interferes with my work he tells me to get out of his house. Sometimes the stress of the situation that I am in is so bad that it feels that I have a ton of bricks on my chest and I can not breath. My step-mom eggs my dad on by asking him, “has Amy finished what you asked her to do”? He then begins to bash me and tell me and everyone else in the house what and incompetent lazy person I am. He talks to no one else this way so they all think that they can treat me however they want. My step-mom being ugly to me and my step-sister using my things without asking.

I was so depressed for months. I did little to change my situation, because honestly I couldn’t push myself to do it. Finally, I filled out some vendor packages to get more business and took the time to get them sent in to new companies. I got an account with a great company two months ago and now I am beginning to build my business again to get myself out of this situation and away from these people. I am starting to feel much better and I am finding myself again. I am finding joy in life again and I am getting out and doing things with my friends. I did not do anything with my friends for a long time, because I think that I was punishing myself.

Through this experience I have learned a lot. I am not out of the water yet, but I am getting close to being able to get away. I realize that just because these people are my family does not mean that I have to allow them to use or hurt me. I do not have to listen to all of the horrible things that my father says to me on a daily basis and I do not have to bite my tongue and not stick up for myself when I am treated badly by my step-mother. I can have a voice. I do contribute to this house. I pay rent and do more than I am asked and my step-sister is not asked to pay or do anything. So, for the rest of the time that I am in this house I will speak my mind. I will not be ugly or rude, but I will not be a door mat either. I am a strong person. This is not the first challenge that I have faced and I will overcome this. I just needed to remember who I am.

Thank you for reading. I am glad that I could share this experience with you and I hope that maybe it will be an inspiration to others that have been hurt by their family to stand up for themselves.

 

Lots of Love,

 

Amy

 

The Golden Rule of Step-Parenting

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We all know the golden rule…”do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Well, I think there needs to be a golden rule to step parenting…”do unto your step children as you would have others do unto you and your kids.”

I have had two profound experiences with step parents that are sub-par. One with my own step mother and one with my son’s step mother. Both made a huge impact on my life. Coincidentally, the experience with my step-mother gave me the insight and wisdom to talk to my son’s step mother, and help her to see that she needed to change.

My situation with my step mother has turned out very different than that. She is bitter, mean and extremely hurtful. Everything is a competition between her daughters and myself. She has pitted her children against me and has caused major damage in my relationship with my father. Only after years of hard work on my part was I able to forge a relationship with one of my step-sisters and repair the extensive damage with my father.

My step sister and I are very close now. Sadly, my step mom caused major damage to her relationship with her own daughter. My step sister saw that the what her mother put me through was not fair. She learned who I was and the fact that her mother tried so hard to make her hate me discussed her. She lost respect for her mother, but our relationship has flourished.

I used this experience when I saw that the same thing happening with my son and his step mother. After our talk she was able to put herself in my son’s position and things have completely turned around. She now has a great relationship with my son, her son’s half-brother, and we have become friends. We compare parenting notes. We talk about life and truly do share a friendship. Our children will be better off because of it.

I beg you, please if you have step children treat them with respect. It is a horrible feeling to grow up in a home where you are not wanted. Children are innocent and even if they have behavior problems they still do not deserve to be treated badly. There is a good chance that they are dealing with a lot emotionally and being unkind to them will only make things worse.

If you are not able to do this please do not choose to be in a relationship with a parent. There are plenty of fish in the sea. Choose the one without children.

If you are interested in reading more about my experience growing up with a step parent I will be posting that story soon. I hope that my experience will help others, because I do not want anyone else to go through what I went through.