Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What a Life!

So here's the scoop! I am a 36 year-old mother of two healthy teenage boys. When they're with me, we try to stay busy. I have learned that keeping them busy not only keeps me busy, but also keeps those two out of trouble. But, for now they aren't with me very often. Let me give you some background info about my situation....

I married their father in 1991 when I was 18 (he was 25). Of course (in my little teenie-bopper mind) I swore I would NEVER divorce. EVER! I recall telling EVERYONE that there's only one reason for divorce (HIM cheating on me), and if that ever happened, I'd just take care of him myself. Boy, was I wrong!

The day we married, we moved in with his parents. Of course, being the naive little girl that I was, I thought this was a short step to marital bliss. Well, that little tidbit of bliss lasted 8 LONG YEARS. Not that I didn't and don't still love his parents, but it was a nightmare!

Being a new wife, I felt I should "help" him with the bills by getting a job. I did - at the local McDonald's. Now, for most folks this would be the worst job. But for me, I loved it. I made minimum wage, worked the "early" shift (6am - 2pm), but in my mind I was on my way up. In his mind, I should have stayed at home (mind you, in his parents' home) so he could earn the living. Well, he had a problem with keeping jobs. So, I stayed at McDonald's for a few months, until I found out I was pregnant with our first bundle of joy. We had been married only 7 months when we found out I was 6 weeks pregnant.

I was elated! EXCEPT that the proud father once again had no job, and no willingness to get out of bed to look for one. But just the thought of feeling that baby grow inside me gave me cause to stop and think about the situation. Okay, I'm nearly 19 at this point, married, living with my in-laws....it could be worse!

I left McDonald's for a "better" paying job. I went to work for a local dry cleaner. I waddled around there until a week before the baby came. But, at least I was earning an honest paycheck. That's what has always mattered to me.

Through the years, the 8 LONG years, we had our ups and downs. Our second child came and I felt antsy....wanted a place of "our" own so we could make OUR memories. We finally bought a house and moved after I threatened to leave with the kids.

Things went well for about a year. He was once again out of work, and I had found a much better paying job. Actually, it was my dream job (I still have it). Not many folks can say that they achieved their "dream job", but I did. And much earlier in life than I ever thought I would. By this time, I was 27 with 2 small children and a husband that decided he liked surfing the web for well, let's just say, risque content. He thought it would "help us improve our sex life". Spoken like a true man, huh?

This went on for months. He would draw unemployment until the state cut him off, then find another little job until he could do it again. He never understood why I did and do whatever to keep my job.

In 2003 after a separation, then reuniting, it REALLY got ugly. And I admit that I have had my share of problems. I actually tried to kill myself (Fall 2001) when our problems got bad before the separation. The kids weren't home, just he and I. And I had listened to him tell me over & over again - at this point, for over 10 years - how I was simply lucky that this job came along. How I wasn't worth anything, how I was too opinionated and should keep my mouth shut, how I wasn't the cute thing I "used to be", and the list goes on....But this is the one thing that stood out in my mind: "If you ever try leave with the kids, I'll shoot you walking out the door".

One night in 2003, he pulled out his gun - supposedly showing the kids what it looked like. BUT it was loaded. After the police arrived, he was sent to his parents'. The next day, I ran like hell with the kids. We went to court for a temporary hearing, and I was awarded temporary custody. When we went back to court a few months later, the judge asked if I would move back to the same county so the kids could go back to their old school. I told him that I wouldn't because I was still scared of their father. The judge awarded custody to HIM. I was heartbroken!

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