Ok y'all, I know I'm normally a smartass in my blogs. So, I thought it only right to give you fair warning that this won't be one of those kind of posts. Feel free to stop reading now. Really, I won't mind. This is something I need to get off my chest.
This mommy has been married before, as you all know. What you may not know is that 10 years ago, my first husband took off to parts unknown with my oldest two children. Wait, I don't think that's even where this needs to start....
20 years ago, I started dating the "new guy". He had long hair, and had no preconceived, small town notions about me. I thought I was in love. When he hit me, I excused it, thought it was my fault. When he hit me again, I said it was because of the way he was raised. When friends tried to get me to open my eyes, I swore I could change him with enough time.
By the time I was 17, I was full in the trap of: he loves me, and I'm the one at fault for the the abuse. I didn't love him enough, I didn't "respect" his wishes when it came to me not having friends, etc, etc, etc. I thought I could change him. Those who have been there themselves will understand.
I fell for the whole, "if you really loved me, you wouldn't need birth control" and, "if you're still using BC, then it must be because your cheating on me". I was wrong, and was being manipulated/brainwashed. And I feel for it all. When I got pregnant at 17, by this man, he told me it wasn't his. His mother told us I needed to get an abortion. When my daughter was born, his mother tried to convince me to let her adopt my daughter, and that she would never know that I was her mother. (How does a woman in her right mind even suggest that?)
I ended up marrying him, as I was tired of listening to his (only when it suited her) Catholic mother, give me guilt trips about the whole out of wedlock thing.
Marriage did not help the situation, but I hid what was going on. (Ok, so, I didn't hide it very well. Some bruises you just can't explain away, and be believed.) When I had finally reached a point where I was either going to end up dead, or leave him, I decided it was time to leave. I contacted an attorney, and had decided that I would take my little girl and leave in February.
In January, on our anniversary, he found the papers from the attorney I'd contacted. It got really bad that night, but I stayed. He had threatened my little girl if I tried to leave.
The next day, I got up, took my daughter to the babysitter, and went to work. I looked like death warmed over, so my boss sent me home. I laid down on the couch, and fell asleep. When husband got home for lunch, he found out that I hadn't been at work, but had left our daughter at the babysitter. He went ballistic. Accused me of "sneaking off from work" to "meet" another man and cheat on him. (Heaven forbid he realize I was hurting so bad from the beating the night before, that I couldn't even hardly move, let alone even think about having sex!)
He choked me out, threw me around, held me against the wall by my throat, and more. Then he told me he was taking my baby. I chased him out in the street in my torn dress. (Is it weird that I can remember exactly what I was wearing? It was a button up brown velvet dress, one of my favorites.)I called the sitter, and told her not to allow anyone to pick her up. To which she told me that his mother had already came and got her 30 minutes before. I spent the next 16 hours in hell. He had taken my baby girl, and I didn't know where she was. I think I finally fell asleep around 6 a.m. I called an attorney at 8:30 a.m., and was told he was already representing my husband.
I was served with divorce papers 2 hours later. I had 10 days to vacate the house, and was not allowed to take my daughter with me. In those 10 days, he begged me to stay, said he would change, that he only filed to wake me up to what I would lose. For the first time in years, I stood my ground. I moved out. I hired an attorney, and we had complete joint custody of our daughter.
I didn't know it, but I was pregnant at the time. Our divorce was final on May 6th, 1998. We shared custody based on each of our work schedules. Then I had the second child, a boy, on August 9th. I lied when everyone asked who the dad was. My ex-husband had half the town convinced I was a druggie (that's why I always looked like hell at work when I was with him...at least that's what he claimed)and had repeatedly cheated on him. I went with it. I told everyone the baby belonged to some random guy.
9 months later, my ex's lovely, controlling mother convinced him he should do a DNA test. So, the truth came out. I had never cheated, and the boy was his. Another round of court came and went. I had full custody, he had visitation. I hated it, but what could I do?
By this time, the ex had married the teenage girl he'd gotten pregnant, but it didn't stop his harassment of me. I would be sitting in my living room, and suddenly find a laser sight from a rifle pinpointed on my forehead. I had phone calls all hours of the night from him or his friend. I got 44 phone calls in one hour at my job, each of them with a new threat. I woke up to the ex coming through my bedroom window. He slammed a pick-up door so hard on my ankle that he cracked a bone in it. He planted listening devices in my house, and would call and play back the recordings for me. He would catch me downtown to tell me how much I had missed by leaving him, that if he couldn't have me, no one would.
If I thought being married to him had been hell, I had no clue how bad it could get. At least when I was still in the same house, I knew it would be a beating for not cleaning right, not having supper cooked on time, or if I took "too long" at the store. I knew that sex would be rough, and that I didn't always have a choice in the matter. Now that I was out, he took the sadistic torturing to a whole new level. I considered suicide just to escape it.
His mother helped him do a lot of it. We actually would "get along" here and there, then she would step in. In fact, she called the police on me so many times claiming drug use, it became a running joke with them when they showed up -"Hey, we're just here to check out your new imaginary stash of heroine and needles", or "We just thought you might need some bacon in the house". She called child protection services so often, that I knew all the investigators on a first name basis. They had me fill out paper work to be able to charge her with false accusations and harassment. She convinced the County Attorney to drop all the assault charges on her baby boy. She would drive by my house, taking pictures several times a week. (Later, when I would move to get away from it, she would show up in Texas, taking pictures, questioning people I knew.)
Instead, I decided I would move. I told him on a month that he was to have the kids that I was moving, and would be back to pick up the kids. I look back and realize I shouldn't have said anything at the time, but I was trying to follow the court papers, and give him prior notice. When I went to pick up my babies, he and his mother had filed in court, claiming that I had "abandoned" the kids. He was granted emergency custody. I was never notified of the hearing. I had to hire another attorney, and once more, go through all the court processes. He and his mother now claimed the kids were scared of me, so I had to go through supervised visitations, and it took them 2 months to come back with a finding of "unfounded" on those claims.
I was finally free to take my children on visits with me to Texas. (yes, visits, I was unable to get the custody changed yet, and was working on it.) A few months into this, my daughter looked at me, and said, "Daddy says we're moving clear to the other side of the state." When I dropped the kids off, I asked him about it. He told me no, he was just thinking about it.
Two weeks later, he didn't show up at the meeting place with the kids. I drove back to my hometown. His house was vacant. His phone was disconnected. He had taken my babies, and I had no clue where to.
I looked, and searched, and finally, someone was nice enough to run his name on the driver's license data base for me. I sent a card to my kids, it was their birthdays. I tried calling the phone number on record, it was disconnected. I send more letters, presents, cards - they started coming back, "addressee unknown".
I hired a private investigator, and did online data base searches on my own. I would find a record of him working in one place just long enough to start showing up, then he'd change jobs.
I can't say I learned to live with it. Even though by this time, I had another child and had remarried, I went into a major depression. I started drinking, I hid in alcohol, and to people who didn't know me, I was they happy, go lucky party girl. Those who took the time to talk to me, knew different. I was a mess. I won't lie.
I realized that I had again married for the wrong reasons, and left. We shared custody of our child, and to this day, we share custody. I won't say my 2nd husband was a bad man. We just didn't belong together. He knew it, too, but it's hard to admit that you have failed in a marriage. It's even harder to know you've failed in two.
I ended up in a relationship with my best friend, 9 years later, I'm still with him. While he couldn't fill the hole left by my children, he helped make the days easier to bear. He helped me search for the missing pieces of my heart, and has always told me that when I found them, I had all the time to try and fix things.
Two years ago, my 1st ex-husband's new ex-wife contacted me online. She said she now realized what had happened, and apologized. She also asked for my phone number to give to my then 15 year old daughter. In my head, she was still the 7 yr old that I had last seen. She called me once, but refused to talk, and hung up. We started texting. It was going really good. Then she was raped. She admitted it to me, but said she hadn't told her dad. As someone who'd been down a similar road, I knew she needed help. I tracked down the ex monster in law, told her husband what had happened. My ex was more concerned to learn that I'd been talking to her, than over the fact she'd been raped. He had her committed to a mental ward. I didn't have contact with her for almost another year. Even then, she had to hide it from her dad. Through all of this, I never learned exactly where they were.
I contacted officers in the approximate area. For over a month, they helped me search, to no avail. I still keep in contact with one of those officers to this day. He still hasn't found the address. It's believed that he may be on a Native American Reservation.
A few months ago, my daughter found me on facebook. Though I've sent her messages, I never get anything back. I get to watch her life from afar, and read her sporadic status updates.
Through those updates, I learned she was in the Job Corps. I just didn't know where. I thought maybe Kansas City. I called them. They had no record of her. Another dead end.
I saw where she'd posted her cell phone number on a comment to a friend. I saved it, then I texted her. We texted off and on. Just as in the past, she would start to make plans with me, then out of no where, she told me not to talk to her anymore. When she'd done this in the past, I'd respected her wishes. Not this time.
This time, I got mad. I got upset. I told her that my letting her work at her pace, and doing it her way wasn't working. Whatever I said, worked. She kept talking. I got her to tell me where she was. That was two days ago. I told her I would be there the next day. She told me no, she wasn't ready. I told her, well, I wasn't ready to show up and find my kids missing either. Things happen you aren't "ready" for all the time. I was coming.
And I did. I drove 8 hours straight through, only stopping once for gas. I got here late Saturday evening, and on Sunday, I got to see my 17 yr old daughter for the first time in 10 years.
Was it easy? No, it wasn't. My ex's truth management skills haven't gotten any better over the years, and now I get to deal with the fall out of all that he told her. And you know what? It's not fucking fair. I did not choose to leave their lives. That choice was made without my knowledge. I did not choose not to visit my kids. I didn't know where they were.
But now, I get to prove to this child that I did not abandon her. That I did not leave her. That she can trust me to do what I say. She told me today that she really didn't expect me to come. I was here within 24 hours of finding out where she was. But I have to prove myself, and I'm supposed to work at her pace. I''m supposed to be ok with 2 1/2 hours with my baby after 10 years. I'm supposed to be ok with the fact she thinks this needs to go slower. I'm supposed to pick up the shattered pieces of a relationship with my child, when I'm not the one who broke it.
And you know what? IT'S NOT FUCKING FAIR!!
He hurt me when we were married, he hurt me again when he took them. And now, he's this big shining knight in her eyes, and due to things he told her, I am nothing. he's hurting me again, and I know deep down that he knows it, and that he is enjoying every second of it. It has never been about the kids for him, it's been about control, and pain. And I don't know how to fix what he's done.
I can't tell her everything, I can't cause her more pain to know that "daddy" did all this. I have to prove what she was told was wrong. Well, how do you prove anything when she's already so destroyed that she won't trust you enough to let you try.........