What defines me?

Cancer , A Dozen Kids , Life, Struggle

on the boat

I’m sitting in bed with my better half and we are just casually chatting. Typically there is an animal show of some kind on in background when we aren’t really paying attention. Like some animal planet or discovery show. It’s our go to for background tv really. We are sitting there together and we both pay attention to the show at the same time.

This particular episode is a water safety edition. Meaning some coast like guys are checking water laws. Like you know where a life jacket, Fish with a license, don’t speed in the boat type stuff. It instantly brings memories up for Marc and I of our time on the Lake.

Marc had rented a cabin for us and it was in the middle of this family compound. Not at all what we were expecting. Therefore we found it best to spend our days on the water. We would go to this marina show our id grab our boat and off we would go. Spending the entire day on the water.

When we got that boat. There was literally nothing to it. They copied your id, told you reverse and forward and if you came into the sea weed gun it in reverse. That was it. Our whole tutorial in a nutshell. Which we were fine with it was literally the greatest time of my life.

So now back to the North Woods Law playing on tv. So in the episode there is a boat on the water. Just cruising along. It’s making huge white waves as it goes. It all looks super familar to Marc and I as it’s a replica of the boat we went on during our trip. Now the law is after this boat.

The law comes up to the boat and just starts laying down the law. She tells him he is breaking the law. That you can’t make breaks near other vessels. She continues with more and more rules and violations he is breaking. By now Marc and I are both laughing. As we literally broke them all unknowingly on our vacation.

She continues with it being federal law as the man states I’m not from here. I gave my id and rented the boat. I had no idea there was a safety or boaters class to take. We laugh harder as we had none of the above while cruising on the boat that day. In fact Marc and I not only definitely were always speeding in that boat we also sunbathed nude for hours. Falling asleep naked as can be on that boat for hours.

Never did we even know if there were life jackets aboard. It never really even crossed our mind about a speed limit. Marc parking was honestly just a riot. We banged into the dock repeatedly and cruised passed it making circle after circle attempt just to park. We had not a clue what we were doing. North Woods Law listing every law we had broken on that boat that day had us laughing deep within our bellies together.

Memories like these will last us a lifetime. It’s one we will carry close and always speak so fondly of. Our nude speeding adventures in our boat we drove without safety course…. or instructions.. or life jackets. I truly just love life. That’s a memory I hold close.

Struggling with food insecurities and being the most fussy eater even as an adult that I know it can be difficult to eat out. You add in a couple of food allergies and things are really complicated. So I basically eat chicken. Yea, that’s pretty much the choice of anywhere I go at anytime. Unless we are eating pizza then I am pretty onboard with any meat toppings oddly.

I can’t remember really eating out much as a child or teenager. I remember taco bell with my no lettuce having butt. Begging for that on the regular I remember and mostly getting it as it was obviously a cheap meal. There are some ponderosa memories in there. An old all you can eat buffet we use to have in Saint Joe. But to be honest pretty certain I just ate the tacos there too. Maybe some mashed potatoes for a twist.

As a kid I was super picky on how things were cooked and seasoned. If you have no control where you will sleep at night, whose in your home, maybe even no control over the things happening to you that are super scary…. You will likely want to take insane control over your food. That was me in a nutshell. I truly didn’t mind starving. So sending me to bed without was fine. They did the sit at the table till you eat tacket too but not like I had any friends or anywhere to go in the first place. So I sat.

Growing up I didn’t ever really try to much outside the box. At some point I purged the mcdonalds nuggets for my own home made. It’s funny I cook lots of things for the kids. Most of my career path has been in the restaurant industry and yet never have I had much of a desire to put anything in my mouth to just taste it.

It wasn’t in fact till I meet Marc that I begun a desire to try things. He lovingly would tease me trying things all the time. No, he would absolutely never force me to try anything or even pressure. This was a tease I enjoyed playing along with.

The first leap where I tried something new was with him. He instilled this it doesn’t matter what the cost if you don’t like it we will drive and get you something else so early on that I never feared trying things. He made sure I knew that I would be embarrassed if there was nothing at all for me to eat. If I looked at the food on my plate and decided once it came I just couldn’t try he would have absolutely not gave a damn. There wouldn’t be any repercussions to it. Something in that security lead me to leap.

Coaches Bar and Grille some mac and cheese dish was what I got. There wasn’t anything at all on the menu I ate. It wasn’t like I didn’t like cheese and pasta so I thought this would be fine. It wasn’t, one bite in and I was just not feeling it. Casually into my napkin I spit feeling completely ashamed. Then I looked up to see him scoop me in his under arm and tell me that we would stop anywhere else on the way home. Or have a pizza delivered. Anything at all I wanted. His approval of my disapproval just one time was all I needed.

From there I was trying things I had never even heard of. Like the queso fondue at our favorite mexican restaurant. I didn’t even know what Chorizo would taste like. It came out piping hot and I just dove in. I’ve never had something so delicious in my life before. The salsa, I mean seriously that is like veggies in a bowl. I don’t even eat veggies but I kill through that stuff.

Last Night we went to Cheddars. This from scratch made dinner place. We have had a stack of gift cards since Christmas we have been using up and this was one. I had never been and normally before Marc this meant I never would really. Things are different with him at my side though. In I went with confidence. Ordering a meal that when it come out I about peed myself. That thing was piled high like a mountain.

It’s refreshing to have confidence walking into Cheddars even though I’ve never been there. I know my worth to Marc and that he doesn’t care how much or little I eat. He only cares about the smile on my face while I’m in his company. He enjoys providing for me just as I do him. Dinner was amazing. Those crescents that they bake fresh with that honey butter is a must! My love he changed my life and I’ll never forget it.

Here we are half a year into my first born daughter’s college education. I wish I was here to scream of the joy it’s brought her. However I’m certain there has been far more tears than smiles. She hasn’t found her place or that best friend yet. There isn’t much love interest and she is often feeling utterly alone.

She comes home often and you’ll find her at the edge of my bed cuddled to the dog face buried into the laptop and handing frantically taking notes beside it. Her time at home is so cherished by me but it’s hard to enjoy knowing she is here because she is so sad in the place that was meant to be her home.

So desperately I want to snap my fingers. Finding her the perfect bestie. The confidence to know that she doesn’t need anyone approval to be her perfect self. Yet, all I can do is sit back and pray the pieces fall together for her sooner rather than later.

The thing I will say she found confidence in is her grades. They continue to soar and she beams with pride over them. She loves to share what she has learned. Telling me all of how she has homework done ahead and her plans to practice this speech or that. I try to remember that this is really the point of school after all and if the rest doesn’t fall into place she is absolutely rocking the education she needs.

She wants so badly to make me proud of her. To do all the things I envisioned for her and her future. She has not a clue that I’m already bursting with more pride than I can contain for her. That there is simply no way for her to ever fail or let me down. She is the epitome of perfection in my eyes.

It’s super apparent that I hate driving. There is not a part of my being that finds anything enjoyable about being behind the wheel of any vehicle. It’s just not my cup of tea. So when driving I tend to take the same repeated routes and limit where I even travel to.

For many years my biological father has resided in the same home. Four the last four years the path to my own home is the same that I took to go to my dad’s. Being just 16 and memorizing that way to his home. At 17 myself and my husband borrowed a beater truck from him and got lost on the two turns it took to get there. Just not driving down far enough to find the turn. Thinking it was closer than it was. I remember having to call my dad in the middle of the night to tell him I was lost on the road I was so certain was correct.

His anger that day for us borrowing the truck. Returning it with less gas than when we took it. Returning it late into the night. It’s a memory that I think of almost every single time I drive to pay my mortgage. The bank a direct route to my father’s house. My first car accident was on the way to him as well. So that drive often will lead to the memory of the crash. Flying over the trunk of my car to get to the babies that were smashed in my backseat.

This same path I use now for my daily needs is a floodgate of emotions. I’ve thought just drive another street it really can’t be that difficult to break this habit. One street over will certainly get me to the same places. Yet, still I drive and remember.

Never of course has it even crossed my mind to drive to his house. I mourned my family and let go so many years ago to me in my mind and for my sanity they are gone. Gone from the life I have now. Mental health depending on carefully keeping all those memories at a distance. I see Marc from time to time catching me getting lost in the memories on the path we drive often.

He simply grabs my hand and I seek to find his heartbeat and focus. Letting the memory fade till the next drive on that path. I gave some thought recently to opening the door to find understanding again. Maybe rebuild on the broken relationships that I no longer maintain with the family I share blood. However then I would go through mourning twice.

I have rebuilt life and let go except those times I drive the path. Even then it’s just this brief flutter before I am able to regain reality and let go. Yesterday, driving to the bank seemed like such a feat like I was paralyzed in those emotions of the past. The memories literally took over my entire mind. The good, the bad, and the ugly all resting in the forefront of my mind.

Pulling over the car, I couldn’t even breathe. Only a drive to the bank. A path I drive often and yet here I was consumed by memories and pain. WIll this forever be my brain stuck on these memories that I can’t escape? Will I just drive a new path next time? Let go? What will it take to just heal!?

You can’t even imagine how long I’ve procrastinated such a simple task like picking up the phone. Today my only real goals is to make three phone calls. One call to Lowe’s to find my missing toilet. One call to comcast to change my plan. Then one last call to my eye doctor for a new eye exam.

Two of those calls I’ve legit put off for months. Avoiding at any cost. Finding ways to claim to be just simply to busy to call. Pretending to forget them as if they were taunting my brain every moment.

Until the first call this morning even I didn’t realize how bad the anxiety had become. I’m on the first call. It’s just Lowe’s. I ordered a toilet that got lost in transit and need refund or a new toilet. Prepared with the order number, the shipping info and a big deep breath.

Soon as someone picks up after the endless computerized answers and pushing of the keys to match up my needs I am panicked. My breathing is so rapid it’s like I’m hyperventilating. The man on the phone doesn’t speak english well and he wants information that somehow I can’t remember any longer. Like my name spelling. Seemingly something that can’t be forgotten.

I try I genuinely try to stay on the phone but within a few more questions I am hanging up frantically. As if my life depends on me taking a breather I put the phone down. I begin to pace my room. I know exactly what I need in the moment. Trying hard to avoid picking up and texting Marc. Because lets be honest his high stress, high demand job is far more important than a text of me failing short on a phone call.

My brain is now telling me how seriously incompetent I am. This is my role in the family. As the stay at home mom these calls are my task. Marc makes far too many calls on his lunch breaks as it is. Yet it’s a monumental task and I’m not sure I’m capable.

Pacing more. Marc text me. Of his phone call to the shoe company he bought his boots from that aren’t working out for him. They are going to let him trade out the boots for the size he is needing. Now that’s my in to tell him of the horrible time I am having with my calls.

I feel like I can breath again as soon as I unload to him. The text sends and I feel relieved. Before he even responds I make the choice to go bake. Let go of some stress and breath through doing something I love. This will calm me for my second try at the calls. Of course I text Marc this wise choice too.

He responds with enjoy baking my love. Exactly as I knew he would respond. My heart smiles and I bury myself in my baking. A home made chocolate chip cookie batter and a cheesecake batter. To swirl together in some crazy conjunction I will call brownies.

During baking I think oh I can blog of this. Blogging will take more time and I can put off just a bit longer those calls. Win for me. Oh wait, here I am again stalling out these damn calls. How the hell did this become my life? How did I become afraid to speak? I must muster up all I have inside and just try again.

faceless woman walking with umbrella and suitcase

Remember the perfect vacation that I mentioned some very painful memories flooding me during? I’m finally ready to speak of it. Months later of course. At the field where Marc meet up with his buddies to fly rc planes there was a man there from my past.

At 15 years old my mom sent me to stay with my dad. To be honest it very well could have been my choice. I was already at my grandma’s and my dad was staying there as well. He was getting his own place and I happily was ready to be with him.

It was nothing like I expected it to be. Always had life been in poverty and I was accustom to that. But this was different. There was no Grandma Betty hooking me up with snacks to survive on. There was no food I could steal from babysitters. There was literally nothing to eat often!

My dad may have worked just directly accross the road from the home we were staying in but I never saw the man. He worked all day and his evenings were left to the women he dated. The one that sticks in my mind from that time hated kids. She had none of her own and no intention of ever having any. She had a convertible that I most certainly thought was the most expensive car in the world at the time. This woman spoke of cutting my neck even.

As a parent now, I can honestly say I would never in a million years be a parent dating anyone who spoke ill mannered to my kids. Threats to my kids bring out my pit bull instantly. However it was not the same for my father. In fact it was him who told me of the ill things she thought of me. She was far better at hiding her thoughts from me.

Anyhow getting off topic. Since he had little time for me. There was no cable or internet back then. The house was as country as it gets. It was miles to town and the town didn’t have much to speak of either. It was a farming community.

Not anticipating me being so lonely I ended up constantly on the house phone. Back then everything was long distance and I was racking up bills my father could never afford. If you had asked me at 15 I would have not cared. He hadn’t done anything to take care of me in my eyes what was a little phone bill?

Lonely and hungry, bored teens can certainly run up a phone bill. In fact one of the girls I meet at school quickly showed me that calling 900 numbers always give you someone to talk to. That was how we passed time. At 15 years old talking to grown elderly men on phone sex lines.

My dad found out about the bills. He busted in on me and my friends with guys in his home. It wasn’t even two months before he was fed up and giving up on me. He put $20 in my hand and that was it when he left me to fend for myself on the streets.

I couldn’t go home to my mom’s. No one wanted me. He didn’t want me. He was going to stay with the girl whom had wanted to hurt me physically. You truly don’t feel more worthless as a teen. As a female I thought nothing of myself or my body.

At a friends cousin’s. I went wherever I could lay my head for the night and I can’t even remember the cousins name anymore. I’ve strained my memory for years to remember that name. Thinking I could find her …. I could then face him and what he did….

At that cousins house the girls I were friends with drank. I didn’t. I truly was just so scared of things like drinking, smoking, and sex. I often just pretended to join and never actually partake in the festivities.

I went to bed first and in some toddler type bed. It was the cousins little siblings bed but they weren’t home that evening so they had told me I could crash in it. I was so short it was like the perfect fit for me. I remember everyone teasing me that night about it.

The cousin’s dad came home. I remember meeting him while I went to the bathroom. He was in the reserves and had just got home from that weekend away at that. I don’t remember much of the between now but he went in the room I was sleeping in when everyone was asleep. He put his hand up my leg and kept trying to pull me. I pretend to sleep so nervous and confused to what on earth could be going on.

He was persistent. Eventually pulling strong enough to pull me to the edge of the bed. He had my pants off with tears flowing my face before I even could gain my bearings. Covering my mouth and telling me shhh shhhh. Don’t wake anyone. Just be quiet. When he finished with me I cried and cried. What could I do? There was no where to go. These girls who he was family to were all I thought I had.

When I told my friend who I had been living with. That her uncle had sexually assaulted me. She was nothing but biterly angry. She believed the story I told her but only seemed angry I ever shared it with her. She didn’t want to bare the burden of knowing. Everything about the friendship changed. To her mom she went to ask her to get me out of the home.

When her mom came and said I couldn’t stay there anymore. That she had to put her own child above me even though it broke her heart to do so. I never did say why her daughter was mad at me. Why she wanted me to leave. I kept everything to myself.

At the flying field with Marc that man who did those terrible things stood right next to me. When he locked eyes with me I panicked. I had to race to the tent to cry to myself. I swear the man used his eyes to look straight through me the rest of the trip. Each time we went up to fly he would too. He would put himself right next to me over and over. Never taking his eyes off me. I felt violated all over again. Trying to bare through my pain so Marc wouldn’t know.

Painful and emotional the trip was for the next few days there. I couldn’t get the memory out of my head. I didn’t sleep for a couple days in that tent. Pretending to Marc it was the cold and noise. But it was the vivid details of my innocence being taken that kept my eyes soiled and open at night.

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Honestly, I love that it’s just me the kids and Marc. The peace I have in that is unlike any other. For so long I had to fit in and had to have friends. Even though I knew that they didn’t know or even like me for who I was. Now I love the solitude of being alone and I enjoy the closeness I have with my better half and children.

Yesterday, Marc sent me to shop for myself. I truly suck at this task. So I’m deep in the boots section of Walmart snapping pictures to send to Marc. Never does it even cross my mind he’s at work without the time to help me shoe shop. Simply because I knew he would respond.

Snap snap, with a paragraph of Ebonics of how I’m struggling to decide. The pros and cons of each of the two boots I had. Instantly Marc responds with his don’t look at the price. Don’t let that play any part of the decision. He knows me so well.

So thoughtfully he tells me to get the best. The ones I like most. Don’t worry the price is said multiple times. He knows I need to hear that because it’s the only factor really in my head. Again, never do I think I wonder if his head is deep into ripping apart an engine? Or is this his morning meeting at work? I do not expect immediate answers. Knowing he is at work it’s not as though I expect those text to be quick. But I’d be lying if I said they weren’t.

It’s like he is super human and able to attain all my needs and work. From time to time my selfish ass will remember that his job is demanding and hard. It’s physically tolling to his body and mind. I’ll then try to text less trivial bullshit to him. However he is perfect and knows. He will pop up with questions of my day and sending mushy love me text that I simply adore.

He knows I need him and sincerely I think he enjoys being my everything even if it’s probably the hardest job he has. I sent text expressing my gratitude and leave notes in his lunch. Thoughtful things to let him know I see all he does for me and my mental health. No matter how much I do I can never show him how much he’s appreciated and loved. He’s saved me from the saddest life and provided for my every need. The life I have now is the one I thought was only in fairy tales.

Are we all not so excited that last year is finally gone? I don’t know about you but I am feeling a bit stronger after surviving that mess. Only can go up from here kind of attitude to take into the New Year.

New Years Eve there is no party to tell of. It’s just not really our lifestyle. We much rather enjoy snuggles and talks. Or binge watching some crappy series. When we were down with the sickness over the holiday we legit binged a series we both hated. So sick we lacked the energy to change it until we were so far in we needed to see how it ended.

We giggle of that awful series that we never turned. Snuggled to each other sick as dogs still finding a reason to giggle together. That’s our style.

I didn’t really give a resolution for the year but I am committing to paying off all the credit cards. As well as more vacations. All the time I want to vacation. Time away with the kids’ and alone both is what I long for. I enjoy exploring so much!

Twenty Twenty One was a long year the kids are often sent home from school to quarantine because they were close to someone who may have covid. Then I rush to pick them up separate them from the rest of the house and wait it out praying they don’t come down with it. So far no positives for covid. For that I am so grateful.

Seeing a new year come in brings in new hope. Things can change and we can adapt and have a better year. Looking forward to all we can achieve as a family this year. Truly the sky is the limit. Can’t wait to see the path my children take and how far they come in life. They are my reason for breathing.

Really not much of an excuse to dropping the ball in the moment like I did. She came to the house and tried so hard to patiently explain even though I was just flat out rude. You see she came with Eight hot cocoa bombs not seven and greedily with my selfish chocolate addicted I insisted the eighth was for me.

Repeatedly interrupting, it never crossed my mind she would finally refer to me as the mother of eight that I had always wanted her to. She had found the understanding in the open adoption choice I had made and I missed the moment. I missed the chance to have a connection with my mom because I literally could only think of these chocolate balls of goodness I had to have.

To my defense I made Marc spend a fortune and search high and low for those little yummy chocolatey goodness of cocoa. They are my favorite thing and even more so now. How though still does a chocolate cocoa ball blind me for such an important connection with my Mom?

I’ll probably be asking myself that for a minute. Obviously there is no going back and regaining the connection with my Mom now. However it does feel nice to sit in the emotion now. She counted your son. She gifted him and included him.

Maybe she sees now that this was the perfect adoption story and even though it wasn’t the terms or fit see seen as best. It was absolutely the best for Luke and I. Can’t imagine it any other way and it’s the most amazing story of love I’ve ever known.