"Life always offers you a second chance, it's called tomorrow...the past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited, or can only be accepted."

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Two years ago

My post two years ago included "Just found this quote from one of my old blogs...and it came at a really good time...things to always have:

"Patience for the grieving process,
loyalty to those who are there for me,
hope for the future,
faith in the bigger picture,
trust in myself to make the right decisions,
and most importantly…
love for myself regardless of the outcome."

I felt I needed to follow up.

I had patience...and I found peace.
I was loyal to those there for me at the time...and now I have a network there for me when I need it.
I had hope...and life is so much better than I imagined it could be.
I had faith...and I provided with my own family.
I trusted in myself...and ended up with a degree and a career.

But the loving myself? Still working on it.

Guess don't have to be perfect. I'm still accepting that fact.

I love my life...but it takes some time to accept that loving life can stop equal working on yourself.

It doesn't mean you have it all together <3

Friday, July 29, 2016

Concrete Angel

Had Pandora running today and heard the song "Concrete Angel." For anyone that hasn't heard it...don't listen to it in public. I've heard it many times...but every time it brings tears to my eyes. Truly makes my heart hurt.

But today it was quiet and I was focused on something else and I really HEARD the lyrics. It hurt me even more.

The song talks about a little girl hiding her bruises when she goes to school. Being quiet and pulling away but despite questioning the one says anything. It talks about a child crying in the middle of the night...but the neighbors ignoring the noise and going to bed.

I want to say this once. Very clearly and loudly. 

Don't be that person. 

A lot of you are reading that and going "oh of course I would say something," "no one would ignore that," "that's what teachers/doctors/etc are for."

You are the problem.

If you see something, hear something, realize something is is YOUR JOB to do something.

I was that child. I went to school praying to God someone would notice that things weren't quite right. Every time my father screamed at me in front of my friends' parents, or his friends...I would PRAY that one of them would do something. Silently I would beg them to call the police, step SOMETHING. 

My mother fought for me for years. Countless custody battles, lawyers, court dates. But it was her word against his. The court doesn't listen to children...and I sure as hell wasn't going to keep fighting a losing battle. It would have made life so much more dangerous behind closed doors.

I wasn't stupid...and I was terrified. 
I was in survival mode.

So let me say this again...

Fucking say something. If you're offended by that language please know I don't give a damn.

I am SO sick of people leaving these kids to fend for themselves. I glared at a man and made a small scene in Walmart just two weeks ago because I watched him smack his small child in the back of the head. Earlier this week we were at the fair, and watched parents pull their little girl out of the car as pot smoke billowed out of the doors. I took their license plate number and reported them to that county's CPS.

Teachers- if a kid pulls away, seems scared, gets into trouble for strange reasons, seems overly attached to you, etc...PAY ATTENTION. The child might not have marks...doesn't mean they aren't living in hell at home.

Parents- watch your children's friends. Watch their interactions with their parents. Look for strange fears, or children that have strange reactions.

And if you see something...DO something. 
There is no excuse.

You are an adult. You are capable of helping that child. 

And no excuse that you make up in your own mind makes you any less responsible. It won't make you feel any better when something bad happens to that child.

I still remember days in school that I wish someone had questioned me
I wanted to tell.
I wanted someone to trust
But I was too afraid to do it myself. 

I remember specific incidents...looking at adults with wide eyes while my father stood there...PRAYING that one of them would see the terror in my eyes and would pull me aside.

They never did. But you can be damn sure I remember every moment.

I also remember the one teacher that did ask questions. She was willing to report what she saw...and she was willing to put her own comfort on the line for my safety.

Be that teacher. 
Be that parent. 
Be that PERSON.

You have choices. That sweet child doesn't.

Friday, June 17, 2016

To my kids

Listen you little the time you read this (if I let you)...there will be a few of you (if I have anything to say about it at least).

I read something today on Facebook about a dad that took pictures of his daughter using drugs and tried to get her arrested. There were SO many comments condemning him for what he did. Saying that he should have tried to help her, and talk to her, and blah blah blah. So much hatred for a father trying to save his daughter in the only way he knew how.

So here's the deal- I am not your friend. I'm not your pal, buddy, or girlfriend. I am your mother. I am going to piss you off more than you have any idea. And I'm going to do it because I love you, and believe it or not...I know better than you do. (Now don't'll realize that one day...probably around 25 years old). Just ask your grandmother...I thought I knew it all once too...and then my life imploded in my face.

If I have to do something like get you arrested because I think it's the only way to save you? I will do it. Because in this scary world it's likely you will be safer sitting in jail than on the streets making bad decisions. I hope we raise you better than that of course...but I'm no stranger to what addiction can do to a person.

I just want you to remember...even when you hate my guts...I love you. So does your dad. We would quite literally take any pain away from you if we could. We would jump in front of a car for you, wrestle a bear, take on anyone that tried to harm you.

But we aren't too naive to think that some demons will still get to you. Despite our best efforts, it's a terrible statistic that at least one of our beautiful babies will eventually get in over their heads. And when it happens, we will still be here trying to help you.

You aren't going to like it. You are going to hate us some days. You will do things intentionally to make us mad. But we will never stop loving you, or fighting for you to get back on the right road.

As I read that article about the father my heart broke a little bit. Emmalynne is 5 months old right now next to my desk asleep. The thought of losing her, or any of our beyond devastating. It's something I can't (and won't) try to wrap my mind around. So you can be damn sure that the day we think you are a danger to yourself...we will do what we have to to keep you safe. Because our lives are about you...and our lives are contingent on you being healthy and safe.

That man lost his daughter despite his best efforts. And although I'm sure it is no consolation to least he did all that he could. He made her mad...he refused to be her friend...and he tried his damndest to keep her safe.

This world is scary. I'm afraid to see what it will look like when you all grow up. But know that your safety will always be right at home with parents that would do anything to ensure your future success and happiness.

Especially when it translates to being strict and "mean." 
Tough love baby. You'll like us again one day. 
Probably when you have your own kids. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Piece by piece

Before you start reading...listen to this song:

Every single time I hear it I think of the last time I saw my father...when I met him in the airport in Tampa. I remember walking away from him that day to go to my flight and I refused to cry in front of him. He yelled "I love you" right as I approached a corner, and I fell to the ground the second I was out of his sight. I cried harder in that moment than I had in years.

I had no idea it would be the last time I ever saw him. I had no idea just how bad things were going to get. But I did know that he hadn't changed. I knew for sure that the love he preached was conditional. It had to be earned, not freely given as a parent's love is supposed to be. That day I realized he would never be the dad I wanted him to be...and that to heal myself I had to cut ties. I had to walk away for good.

Shortly after that visit, he really lost it. His drug use got worse. His actions turned more violent. His tendencies to stalk girlfriends escalated. His legal struggles took a turn for the more dangerous. He became a true monster, not the man that made swings for me in the backyard.

But something beautiful came from that visit. A new me was born that day. The "recovering" part of the skeptic came through. That day I stopped trying to be who he wanted me to be...and started being the person that I wanted to be.

I am so blessed that my daughter will never know that pain. She will never have to pick herself up from that kind of hurt. Because her daddy loves her...unconditionally. 

Oh and I should add...he loves me too. 

The recovering skeptic took a leap guys...we are officially one family that will never show our children anything but support and love. Because they deserve nothing less. 

Recovery never "ends" but piece by piece it gets a lot easier.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

My husband

I got married this weekend. It was perfect...and every second was more than I could have hoped for.

However I got a lot of questions about my dad. A lot of questions I wasn't prepared to answer.

And after all of the nonsense over 98% of his family not showing up...I lost patience.

So here are the answers:

Yes, it sucked to not have my father at my wedding.

No, I didn't think about him constantly.

Yes, there were a few moments that I got angry he wasn't there.

No, I don't regret that he wasn't there to walk me down the aisle or dance with me.

But here are the more important details of this weekend:

I got to honor the woman that took his place.

I got to celebrate with my sister, a beautiful girl that came from his existence.

And most importantly...I got to marry a man that is an amazing father to his daughters. A man that treats the mother of his children with respect. THE man that has my heart for life.

My husband.

So all of that is my focus. The positive of the amazing man I married...and my new life.

Not the life I have chosen to leave behind.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Let's celebrate

So let's start with saying...I'm getting married in about 10 days. May 28th...I will be officially married to the man of my dreams. To Superman. Life is finally turning into everything that I wanted it to be. I have been extremely calm with it all so far. I haven't been crazy, I haven't been bridezilla...I've been remarkably removed from the whole situation. Maybe that's good maybe it's bad...I don't really know.

That being said...

A different set of challenges comes to someone that has the background that I do. A set of challenges I thought I was going to be able to avoid.

The father daughter dance is it's own animal...and I have already found a way to make that a beautiful part of the night instead of a sad part. I have overcome something that has deeply hurt me in the past.

I thought I had everything under control until this past weekend...when all of the calm attitude I had went to shit.

Going into this wedding I had asked my father's mother if she wanted to be included in the guest list for the wedding. Things have been so strained after everything my father did...I was torn as to whether or not I should include that part of my life in my new life. But I reached out because I felt it was the right thing to do.

Upon returning home from a trip...she responded to me and told me she couldn't travel anymore given her age. I tried to understand. I tried very hard...despite that she had just returned from my cousin's graduation in another state. She lived in Texas...I live in Ohio. I didn't give it another thought.

Until Saturday. On Saturday I saw pictures of her at a family home...just over 2 hours from where I live...with my cousins and their children. 2 weeks from my wedding. Two. Weeks. Two. Hours. 

I was instantly infuriated and called my mother spouting it is very difficult for me to understand how someone could not only be so conniving...but also so cruel.

What my grandmother did hurt me. There is no questioning that...I won't pretend to hide behind some smiling face of "it's ok, I'm stronger than that." Because I am's not okay...and despite me being stronger than her's still wrong. There is NOTHING "okay" about her choices right now.

On the same note...essentially my father's entire family has chosen to miss our wedding. Minus one aunt that has also made an effort to be in our lives as long as I can remember. And for the record...I use the word "chose" very intentionally. There have been excuses as to why they can't attend...but at a certain point those excuses stop becoming logical reasons...and start to be just what they are...excuses. This wedding has been planned for a year and a half. The date was known...if it truly mattered to anyone...they would have been here.

And quite frankly...many of them haven't shown any interest in our daughter up until this point. They haven't shown much of an interest in general when it comes to our life together. The only person from my father's family to see our new home is the aunt I previously mentioned. The same one who stood by my mother 24 years ago...and fought for my best interest.

Back to the point...

I was angry. I was hurt. I was straight pissed the hell off when I saw the pictures of my grandmother obviously caring a hell of a lot more about my cousins and their children...than me and my girls.

I called my mom furious. Angry that I was missing out on the unconditional love a family should have for everyone involved. I was upset that yet again that family had basically told me they don't give a damn about anything I do now that my father is officially gone. I was mad that my choices to cut a toxic person out of my life had not only affected my relationships with multiple people...but had also taken my childrens' chances away at knowing their grandparents. 

She helped me realize something though.

This is not my loss.

(Read that again.)

This is. NOT MY. Loss.

I didn't make this choice. They did.

If we don't mean enough for you to be around...we don't want you here. 

I have a BEAUTIFUL family on my mother's side. A family that I'm afraid I sometimes take for granted.

In a matter of days they will be gathering from ALL OVER THE COUNTRY to be with us for our special time. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, parents, children (adopted, fostered, loved) will be here with us.

The definition of family will be displayed in less than two weeks. 

Family that loves regardless the situation. Family that will be embracing all of us. Me, Superman, Munchkin, and our tiniest addition.

In this family there is no "exception." There are no qualifications to be included. 

In this family...we are just 
We love regardless.
We are there no matter what.
We celebrate the best parts of "us."

In a few days I not only get to see the people that I love no matter what...

I also get to celebrate the family I am creating. The family that will officially be "one" in 10 days.

I'm not losing out here.
My children aren't losing out here.

Everyone that chose to separate themselves and not make FAMILY a priority...
they are losing out...
and that's not my problem.

Let's celebrate!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The good stuff

Just realized it was 1 am and I was up...for a happy reason.

Emma is sleeping in her crib (for the first time) and I am stuffing wedding invites.

I'm tired, I'm a bit stressed...

But I'm happy.

I want to make sure that these days I truly say that things are happy. So unbelievably happy...that sometimes I feel silly for feeling down. I have a hard time accepting "depression" because I'm so content and glad about where my life is now.

20 years ago I had no idea what was about to hit me. I had separate parents that loved me...I thought. I hadn't learned to say "no" yet.

15 years ago I was in a terrible situation. I lived every day with a drug dealer that couldn't care for himself...let alone me. I lived in fear...I lived in anger...I lived in a situation that no child should ever face.

10 years ago I had just gotten away from that man who destroyed me. I didn't know which way was up...because I had spent most of my existence listening to how terrible I was and how I didn't get to have my own voice.

5 years ago I was married to someone that didn't care about me, and someone that didn't value what "marriage" stood for. I still didn't understand what a "healthy" relationship was.

Today... my daughter is asleep upstairs. I am about to marry a man that I want our girls to look up to. A man that treats the mother of his children with not only respect...but love. A man that works his ass of to provide for his kids and family. A man that isn't perfect...but that believes in giving the best of himself to his family.

15 years ago my life was a disaster. I remember not wanting to live on this planet because I truly couldn't imagine a life without anger and pain. At 10-11 years old I had accepted that life was always going to be hard. One person had fought for me my entire life...but even she couldn't protect me from the hell that was in my father's home.

I understood suicide. It seemed safer in a way...he couldn't hurt me if I wasn't here. He couldn't get to me...and he couldn't scare me anymore.

But guys...I'm still standing.

Just over 3 years ago my father died. People wonder why I say that I was happy when it happened. It sounds completely neurotic right? My dad died and I am happy about it. But there's a lot you don't understand.

No longer do I have to question the black Mitsubishi Galant at the stoplight.

No longer do I have to wonder if the man staring at me at the grocery store is someone ready to hurt me or follow me.

No longer do I have to wonder if the local police officer is going to pull me over because of my last name.

No longer do I have to carry a copy of a restraining order in my car visor.

No longer do I have to keep pepper spray on me 24/7.

No longer do I have to ask the local PD to watch my house on certain nights.

The name Paul Bowers doesn't have to send a chill up my spine anymore.

For so many years I was scared that I would never have the life that I longed for. I worried that I was "damaged" and that my father had screwed me up mentally. I jumped at the first chance of "love" that I had. Yet all it did was leave me in even more of a "funk." I thought I would never be worthy of a good man to love me the way I should be. I assumed I would never have children of my own...and would never have a happy household.

And then when I least expected it (and quite frankly didn't want it...) God dropped this amazing man in front of my face. I fought it...and he fought back.

So there's something to be said for heartache. There's something to be said for living in hell. There's something to be said for being completely screwed up...and fighting your way back from it.

Call it abused, call it "damaged," call it whatever the hell you want. Going through shit makes you a better person, a better friend, and a better parent.

It just means you're a badass. And it means one day you will find something that makes you happier than you realized was possible.

Plus you'll appreciate it. More than those who haven't been through all you have.