GOOD LORD I have made mistakes. I am the one responsible. No one else is. There, I said it.
Now let’s get on with it-I want each and every one of you who has lost a child to know that you CAN rise above, live through it. I only want to inspire YOU, The Underdog-to let you know that you are not alone as a mother or father, that is, for whatever reason, without your child. The great tides of life pull us out to many riptides, and the only option, for the time being, is to swim parallel to the shore, never losing sight of it. That is exactly what I did.
Last night, I watched the documentary about Kurt Russell’s father, Bing Russell, and his Mavericks, entitled The Battered Bastards of Baseball. It moved me, got me thinking, and inspired me to write. It is about believing in people and making choices that buck the establishment. Most importantly, it is about intrinsically winning.
Bing was passionate about baseball. He was also passionate about The Underdog. In nothing short of a SAINT-like miracle, he created and funded a team of talented castaway athletes who wanted nothing more than to play baseball and WIN. Hopefully all of us have had at least one Bing in their life. Thankfully, I have met people like Bing along the way, people who believed in me, The Underdog.
I have lived with and through losing my children-not to death, but to manipulation. If you have children, you know that losing your children to anything is a loss of the worst kind, exactly like death, a loss of the worst kind.
When I was really broke and really young, I did a really stupid thing. I trusted some people in my life who I reallllllyyyyy shouldn’t have. At the age of 23ish, as a result of an excess of naiveté, nothing more, nothing less, I signed away almost all of my rights as a mother to my 2 children. Sans lawyer, and with less than 2 pennies to rub together, their father, his morally void representation, and his invisibly present pregnant girlfriend, assured me that we didn’t need to specify any visitation (save 2 weeks a year), that we were all in a partnership (a family) from which I would never be excluded. You see, I had lived with the father’s family for years. My own “family” support was virtually non existent. I kinda trusted them still. I would enjoy MORE visitation, they told me! it was best because of my constantly changing (albeit “normal” flux for anyone in the early 20s) circumstances. So under great duress, a sweaty, shaky, emotionally drained version of myself, signed and drastically changed the course of our three lives.
I had made a highly controversial decision. I had made a highly stupid decision. Sadly, I hurt my children more than I could ever, ever hurt myself. If you were born with a good soul, you feel your children’s pain deeper than your own. For their pain I am deeply, deeply sorry. So, instead of telling this awful tragedy pain by pain, I choose to retell it as an inspirational story. Living through it can be done. With faith and belief in yourself, losing your children is something you can live through. I am here to tell you.
Now, my children’s stories are important–much more important than mine. Perhaps someday they will be secure in their lives enough to tell their parallel struggles. They are in their pivotal 20s now, with flux circumstances too. I am waiting it out, waiting to feel that innocence and unconditional love we felt for each other once again. God willing, it will happen. That is the one piece I cannot predict. I just pray a lot.
My blogs will be peppered with anecdotes from the past that will break your heart and weave the fabric of this ever-evolving story, but I am determined to always land on the other side, the side of the bittersweet lessons of it all. Not the hate and regret and revenge side. I promise to try hard with that, because I know those emotions are extremely destructive. Listen, I have always believed in myself, and although we 3 are still losing in many ways as fallout from that fateful signing, I can’t help but think that sharing may someday help bridge the gaps between us. But that is not my true purpose. My purpose is to show alienated parents that you can rise above it all. It is a tremendous battle. I never, for one minute, lost sight of trying to make something of my life so that I could revisit the custody agreement. I had to build an unquestionably healthy life. I also needed money so I could fight what looked like, on paper, a clear and simple case of a mother abandoning her children. I struggled, but managed to keep my head held high.
After a long road of unbelievable, systematic alienation, I handed them the perfect abandonment scenario by applying for financial aid a college on the West Coast, a place that looked like Heaven to me after being demoralized and stripped of my rights as a mother, and as a parent. I’m pretty sure I got in mostly because I had written the entrance essay about being a non-traditonal student. What an understatement, right? Oh, and I had attended 2 quarters of community college (straight As) followed by a brief stint at Ohio Wesleyan where I had bailed out because of emotional trauma stemming from my sister’s dramatic wedding-but that is a whole other unbelievable story…
Well, I got in. So there I was, 24 years old, with two suitcases , a bunch of scholarships and federal aid, and 200 bucks to my name. I was, at least physically, leaving behind the methodical demoralizing, gut-wrenching situation which they felt they were winning. Now, they had proof! Not just made up, exaggerated stuff, now I had REALLY left my children. Yay. But, they underestimated me. I was on my own mission. To succeed personally, and then go back to court to show them that when I could afford it, I would fight. Even if it was, i many ways, too late.
And that is exactly what I did. I can’t wait to tell you how my story mirrors the Bing story. In the meantime, watch it, I highly rec!
Stay tuned in Blog Land!