Dear Absent Father,

I’m not sure if it is because I’m pregnant which has made me think about people in my past, but I’ve been thinking about an individual some would label as my “biological father”.  This is an individual who was in prison for some time while I was a child, did not raise me, stepped into my life for a minute later on, and after unveiling his character I decided it was safer to keep my children away from him.

I decided to write an unsent letter to him: 

Dear Absent Father,

As a young child I made up fairytales of where you were, who you would be, and how you would return.  Wishing on every dandelion I picked…

Years went by…

I created more fairytales of where you were, who you would be, and how you would return.

I knew I resembled you from what I had been told, so every male I saw with blonde hair and blue eyes I would think to myself, “could this be you”.  For years I did this…even as a teenager as a cashier at the local grocery store…imagine a young teenager wondering if each and every one of the blonde hair, blue eyed, males who walked through her line could be her father.

I continued to create more fairytales.  Send more dandelion wishes…

You decided to make that step and introduce yourself…it was nothing close to that fairytale I created, what I wanted, or what I expected, but I opened my heart.  I opened it because I had yearned for so long.  I just wanted to be wanted.

I’m an observant woman, and hearing about your upbringing and where you came from I understood you didn’t know how to be a father.  You didn’t know how to raise a child.  I gave you the benefit of the doubt.  I accepted you for you, left the past behind us, and began to build a relationship.  It wasn’t perfect.  I couldn’t call you “dad”.  I had a dad who raised me, one who earned that title, one who also didn’t know how to raise a child, but he did it without batting an eyelash and Lord knows that man shed some tears dealing with me as an ungrateful, hateful, teenager.  It also hurt him when we began to build a relationship, but he knew I needed to find me.

I needed to find me…

Did I find me?  I thought I did.  For years I had to build me.  Encourage me.  Support me.  Protect me.  Provide for me.  I had to because you were not there like you should have been.  Maybe in a way you are a part of my success because I don’t need a man to do those things for me.  Now I just don’t know how to allow one to when he wants to.

Every now and then I wonder…how can you sleep at night?  How many children have you denied (or have you lost count)?  How many raised in poverty?  How many have seen those bars like you?  Taken the path like you?  Do you feel any sort of guilt?  Remorse?  Regret?  Shame?  Do you feel sorry for yourself?  Angry?  Does it even weigh on your soul?

I try not to judge…I really do…even as I type this I try to understand, but I just can’t…

For years I asked myself, “why don’t you want me?”

Sadly, I’ll also admit that every time I hear your favorite song, “Simple Man” by Lynard Skynard you come to mind.  A person’s favorite song usually says a lot about who they are, so I have thought many times why you feel such a strong connection to it.  After listing to it a few more times I ask this…

Do you think your mom would be proud? God?

Are you proud?

Crystal

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A Sombre Week…Still I Shine!

We had a cold, lightless, fog filled weekend where I ventured out, alone, to capture its beauty in hopes of stimulating some positivity to come my way, but a somberness  sauntered throughout the week.  Lately, it seems as if trials continue to be tossed my way, and nothing is quite going the way I plan…maybe that is my problem…I need to let go and allow God to handle it.

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Divorce:  I’ve been attempting to obtain a non-contested divorce from one of the most evil men I have ever met.  I submitted all of the paperwork to the court in November and was told I needed to make several corrections which I did and resubmitted them again in hopes that I can soon wake from this nightmare.  The paperwork was rejected again requesting additional corrections.  Frustrating on many levels, but I continue to do what is asked.  At every point I question if God is here.  Is he seeing this?  Does he care?  Why am I put through all of the pain while he has any control?  At one point in the process he sent his mother the divorce paperwork and she felt compelled to write her initials at the bottom of each page along with the page number.  Well, I needed to make a correction on one of the pages and now am required to have her same initial on the bottom of the corrected page in order to move forward—or I need to start the process all over again.  She claims to be a Godly woman, but has done nothing except to cause additional pain.  I sent her the original paper to sign and return and a month later have not received it back.  Why on earth is a man who committed such a heinous crime allowed to have any control or say?  I continue to be hopeful, try to understand the lesson God is wanting me to gain from all of this, and know that there is a reason—one I may never know or understand, but He has a plan.

Read more about my divorce Odyssey here: Blood, sweat, and tears… and Rebuild: Divorcing a Pedophile

Love:  I am lucky to have such an amazing boyfriend who encourages me even when I allow the stress to build up and unexpectedly flow his way.  I have been on edge with him this week as we would like to plan for our future together, but must wait until my past is settled.  All in due time…

Family: Many of you know that I reactivated my Facebook account this month, and that ignited some conflict between my dear prodigal daughter and me when she misunderstood a comment I left on a photo she posted.  Our relationship has had ongoing strain, but I finally decided that I will love from afar.  I will no longer be a puppet she pulls out, manipulating, when she needs to be bailed out…literally and figuratively.  I look back to think where I went wrong as a parent…what I could have done better…why is it that my pig-tailed, little girl who once ran to me with open arms, beaming as she clung to my legs thinks it acceptable and appropriate to repeatedly cause such devastation with her words and actions?!?!  Does she even realize she is?  This is not how I envisioned our mother-daughter relationship.  I struggled with this quite a bit this week, but I guess now I know how God must feel with how I’ve been treating Him.

Career: This week marked the end of the semester, post-assessments were given, and the ELA exams were today.  I’m confident my students (some who have failed this exam two or more times prior to me) were well prepared.  All the times I heard, “Ms….you do too much” makes it all worth it!  Now, I sit and wait for the scores to come back.

A highlight of my week was yesterday when I received an email from a former student (pictured below). He wanted to touch base and let me know that he started his first day of college.  I cried as soon as I read it!  I pushed him and pushed him that he needed to continue his education and use his writing talent, and to hear that he was doing that made me incredibly proud .  It was an honor that he thought to email me his first day!

 

I leave you with a few more photos capturing the somber beauty of the fog.

 

After typing all of this I wonder if it makes sense, if I was too candid, if I wasn’t candid enough…

The week may have had a somber tone, but my soul still shines…



*hugs*

Crystal

Post was in-part inspired by The Daily Post one word prompt “devastation”

16 and Pregnant: A Journal Entry

journal-blog-1998

In 1997 I was 16 years old and pregnant. I knew my life and focus needed to change in order to provide my unborn child the life she deserved. Walking the halls of a high-school while pregnant means you are a target of much judgment and unsolicited remarks from not only classmates, but teachers, secretaries, and administrators as well. Walking those halls, sitting in the small desks, failing gym because I could not bring myself to wear a bathing suit (and teachers refusing to make an accommodation) all sharpened my inner strength and helped me build a foundation for trials later in life. I even had a teacher state that it was a shame I was pregnant because he would be supporting my child and me for the next 18 years because I would end up on welfare (which for the record I did not do). An administrator even encouraged me to have an abortion because I would not be able to attend college and raise a child. As I write this I wonder if any of those experiences subconsciously influenced my drive to become a teacher who inspires and encourages students…hmmm. I have always used writing as my therapy and kept a journal because to be honest, nobody ever understood.

Last week my daughter, who is now 19 years old sent me a text of a picture of one of the entries I made in my journal (pictured above). I forgot I copied a page and put it in a card during her senior year of high school. I immediately started to cry thinking about all the fears I went through, sacrifices I made, and recognized just how much I achieved despite the obstacles. While reading the entry I wrote from 1998 I realized how much I accomplished and continue to accomplish. It was not an easy task…I sacrificed quite a bit to be a mother at such a young age, but it also provided me with more of a drive and determination knowing I was responsible for a child.

Sacrifices/Struggles:

  • prom (although I did attend the senior ball to realize I didn’t miss much at all)
  • dating pretty much was over after becoming pregnant and having a child so young
  • any form of a social life
  • new, fancy bras (I went without to provide for my child)
  • experiencing the dorm life
  • sleep, naps, or any form of closing my eyes
  • did I mention zero social life?
  • being taken seriously at times (such as taking her to the doctor and insisting my newborn was lactose intolerant after continuous projectile vomiting only to be told I wasn’t burping her properly….eventually the doctor realized I was right though)
  • constant comments/judgment from people (this bothered me years ago, but not anymore…I might be jealous if I was them too..haha)
  • balancing work/school and quality family time which I think is a struggle for most mothers
  • “me” time

Now that she is 19 and has moved out on her own I find myself trying to cope with the change in my life yet again…all the obstacles and sacrificing was worth it all for the amazing young lady she has become!

I ask that if you see a young parent, try to catch yourself if you begin to make assumptions or judgments.  Instead share an uplifting word, reach out to help, or do a random act of kindness to make a difference in their journey.  Moments like those are not forgotten (maybe this will lead to another blog post as I have been blessed with many angels along the way who are not forgotten). 

Crystal

The Daily Post Discover Challenge “Transcript”

 

 

Autumn returns

Autumn and me April 2016
My heart, soul, and reason for being (photo taken by her, pictured right, this Friday at Cole’s Lacrosse game)

Autumn Lynn

In October of 2015 my eighteen year old daughter was eager to prove she is an independent woman, and made a hasty decision to move out. To make a long story short, she was manipulated by others, taken advantage of, and found herself in some dangerous situations. Heartbreaking for a mother to step aside and accept, but she needed the experience to gain an appreciation for what she had. This weekend she moved back in, and will be rebuilding her foundation.

A few things I rediscovered about her this weekend:

  • She has a caring nature of others in need (particularly of those who have had a difficult past)
  • She is hardworking…she came home from one job, changed, and on to the second job
  • She steals my clothes (even though she can clothe the entire state of New York with her wardrobe)
  • Fluff and spiral mac-n-cheese are still her favs
  • She loves home cooked meals…more than fluff and spiral mac-n-cheese
  • That I’m one proud mother to have her as a daughter!

I love you a little Autumn Lynn…a little more each day!

Crystal