IT’S A BOY!!!!

 

My first born, Hunter. This picture was taken in 2009, when he was 11 or 12 (I haven’t had enough coffee to do the math right now). I don’t have too many pictures of him. He doesn’t frequent my Facebook posts. Most people don’t know that I have a 20 year old son. Not because I’m hiding him, but because I’m not going to update my Facebook status with “Going to Pleasant Valley State Prison to see the boy today!” “Got a call from prison today!” Don’t get me wrong, those who need to know, know about my son’s story but I share it cautiously. When people ask about my kids- “Oh, what school do they go to? What sports do they play?” My normal response is usually- “Well, Arvy is excelling at football. Nicky hasn’t decided between a doctor or engineer. And Hunter, he’s on his own path right now.” How can I drop the bomb on them with “My son’s in prison.” It’s like “Oh, I have cancer.” Like I’m responsible for how they will take it. Because I don’t want to shock them or make them feel bad about asking. However, lately, I just say it. “My son is in prison.” More times than not, I get to hear about one their kid that has been down the same road, a cousin, a nephew or parent. Amazing what happens when you share  your story. Usually, you’ll find when you do that, the response is “Me Too.”

Hunter has been in prison for just over a year. We were expecting him  to get out either early next year or even in the summer. But it’s official. He’s coming home the day after Christmas. I’m excited and nervous. I miss my kid. I’m eager for him to have a new chance at life. But each time he comes home, it’s like bringing a new-born home. I don’t have clothes for him. Each time he either takes off or gets arrested, he loses everything. So we start from scratch. Will he last longer than a week out of incarceration, like last time? Will my shit get stolen….again? Will I be able to trust him? Will he get a job? Will he stick around and help me? Will this time finally be the time that he’s grown up enough to have gotten past the bullshit? Will the fact that I moved to a nice neighborhood and out of the drug infested area in which we used to live, make a difference? Will my “fancy” neighbors see him walking around the neighborhood and call security (because we live in THAT kind of neighborhood, with security, we’re legit!) saying that some thug is casing their houses? Will the parole agents come to my house and cause the neighbors to talk shit? Will I be able to afford to feed another person? Will my doors actually stay on the hinges? Will that walls stay fist-sized hole free?

So many unknowns. Sadly, my life is relatively calm when he’s jail. I’m not worrying about if he’s strung out somewhere, if he’s going to rob me, again, or if I’m going to get the call that I have to identify a body. Because that shit happens.

So, I start praying. That things will go right. That I will be able to handle this, again. That he will succeed. That we will all get along in the house. That the boys relationship finally be one of love and not hate, because the younger ones have watched Hunter destroy everything in his wake for the last 7+ years.

That I will finally be able to breathe again.

 

 

 

How I met your father

I have been very fortunate to have people in my life to help me when I needed it the most. Most of them came from my church, not my family. Strange isn’t it? I think mostly it was because my foster mom believes in tough love and letting me figure it out on my own and my bio family was in no position to help me either. So there I was, 18, homeless with no idea where to go, what to do and no life skills to even know where to start.

However, my friend Kim and her mom, from church, stepped in and let me move in with them. Kim’s mom, Donna ran an in-home daycare, so during the day I helped in the daycare. I love kids so this was no problem for me, except for the bratty ones, but I even loved them too.

Kim and I had been friends for a while, but living together did test our friendship. She was on the straight and narrow and I was the wild one. I’m not sure how either her or her mom put up with me for so long, but they did and I am grateful for that. I finally got a job at Taco Bell and soon found a one bedroom apartment. Neither lasted long. My apartment was the go-to party pad and I barely had the job at Taco Bell before I walked out on my ten minute break. Somehow I managed to keep the apartment for the next month. During that time, it was one big drunken, pot filled party. I can’t even give a clear timeline of all this. I just remember that it was May or June of 1996, because that is when I met my soon-to-be baby daddy.

I met Tim at a “party” at his house or his friends house, I’m not sure on the details. Now, just to be clear, I think you all have gathered that my decision making skills really sucked at this time (sometimes they still do). I never really thought too far ahead about the consequences of my actions, who I might hurt, or how I might even hurt myself. I also never really thought about the consequences of having sex. I had a skewed sense of love for a long time, having no real role models to teach me how to have a proper relationship. I think in my teenage mind, I thought by having sex with someone, I might get them to love me. We all know that is not how it works. Anyhow, so I slept with Tim that night and a couple times after.

I knew before I even took a pregnancy test that I was pregnant. I knew that Tim was the father, though there was a chance he wasn’t (again, I was not the best at making good choices). Let me just stop for a moment to give you girls and boys some words of wisdom that I have acquired over the years of mistakes I have made. Be picky about who you sleep with. Be careful who you make babies with. You have to deal with them forever, and so does your child. I didn’t know Tim at all. We hadn’t even developed a friendship. I know that he had a girlfriend who was on vacation at the time. Other than that, I didn’t know much.

Again, my church family stepped up to help. Not Kim and Donna this time, but Kim’s sister Tara. She moved me in, helped get me set up with insurance and welfare. Her rule was that I had to go to college and pass my classes. So I did. I took a full load of classes and passed them all, all while my baby was getting bigger and bigger inside of me. I had no idea how I was going to raise this kid by myself. I was only 19. I remember crying and crying about it to myself. I had no help from Tim. When his girlfriend came home from her trip, she of course found out what happened and that I was pregnant. She was still in high school. A month after I found out I was pregnant, she found out she was pregnant too. I wasn’t the only one who didn’t make good choices. Never the less, there we were. Somehow, she and I became friends. Though there have been times when our friendship was strained, for obvious reasons.

On February 18, 1997, the first love of my life was born. Hunter was 8 pounds 12 ounces and 21 inches long. He was absolutely perfect. I swore to him that it would be me and him against the world and he didn’t need a dad because I would be enough.  Looking back, I wish I had let Tim be more active in his life. But I think that we do the best we can with what we have at the time.

Summer of 1995

high school

So how much trouble can one girl get into in just three months? How much can she set her life off course in that short amount of time? I mean look at her!! She’s so sweet, innocent and naïve.

I left my  home on my 18th birthday. I moved in with my best friend. She was quite the partier and troublemaker. She was the one who had the experience with boys and drugs. One would think that she’d be the one who’d find herself in a pickle. Not me. Ironically enough, she grew up to be a hippie dippie yoga instructor that has lived in Hawaii, backpacked through Guatemala and Mexico, married an Australian and lived in Costa Rica. I would take her life in a heart beat. But my life took a different turn.

Of course, I tried alcohol that summer. I don’t recall drinking a lot but I’m sure that’s because I spent a lot of time blacked out. Through my friend, I met more people. People who were a lot more knowledgeable in worldly things. Remember, I was a square Christian girl. The first time I smoked pot was on her roof top. I don’t think I got high that night though. Must have been bunk!

I lost my precious virginity in the backseat of a Honda Civic to my high school boyfriend.I never saw him again after that. I hear through the grapevine that he lives on the coast and spends his days surfing. Again, I’d take his life too!

Somehow my friend and I got mixed up with a group of “taggers.” For those who don’t know, taggers are the people who graffiti our buildings. And they usually come in gangs. So with that lifestyle is the usual gang activity. There were fights, guns and of course a lot of weed. A lot. So much weed. It was huge. The biggest weed ever. Sorry. That was my Trump impersonation.

There were other things too. Like meth. My other high school friend, we’ll call her “Barbra,” gave me my first taste of meth. And that was the end of the story. I was hooked. Though I still smoked weed, meth became my drug of choice. I was already skinny, but I lost even more weight. I got down to a size zero. It was a constant party. Hotels. Meth. up all night. Meth. Called my mom, she asked why I was talking so funny. I said I’ve been hanging out with a Texan, must’ve picked up their accent. Meth.

The day after my wild night in the back seat of the Honda Civic, I found myself traveling to Las Vegas with some of these people I barely knew. The date was June 24, 1995. Just 21 days after I turned 18. That should give a clue as to just how quickly I found myself in trouble. I traveled with these people my age that I barely knew. I had no idea why we were going. I was just a long for the ride. As we entered the Vegas area, one of the other cars in our group stopped to pick up a hitch hiker. An older man. Finally we got to Vegas. One of the guys I was with and I got dropped off outside a hotel. The driver of the car had to go to her dads and we couldn’t come. So there he and I were. Alone. No money. No idea when they were coming back. We went to the Excalibur. They have a buffet there. We snuck in, telling the attendants that our parents were in there. Quickly grabbing some frozen yogurt to eat, we barely had time to sit down and eat it before they caught on to our game. So we moved on. We found ourselves in front of the Luxor. It’s lawn is a nice place to nap.

Eventually, I began to panic. I thought I was stuck there forever. I began trying to call people collect. But to no avail. I imagined having to prostitute myself out to get home. I had a wild imagination. Luckily, somehow our group found us. And we all met up behind the Stardust. Cops had our other friends back there. The hitchhiker was in cuffs. Apparently, he was a wanted felon. The cops made us hold hands and swear not to pick up hitchhikers. And that was my wild trip to Vegas.

Pot. Meth. Partying. Repeat. That was my summer of 1995, before I was supposed to go to boot camp. Flash forward to a week before I was to be sent off. My best friend and I go to a party on a river bed. I barely knew anyone there. I probably shouldn’t have gone, but then I would have missed out on one of  the most pivotal moments of my life. Who would have known that one night would change my life forever?

We weren’t there long. Something hit my friends hand. Like a bee sting. Something hit my neck. Like a bee sting but worse. Come to find out, some asshole had an air pump rifle style pellet gun. The kind that shoots metal arrow shaped pellets. Not the round plastic pellets. No. The kind that get in and stay. So to the hospital we went. Actually just me. She was able to dig the pellet out of her hand. The doctors kept me over night trying to evaluate how they would remove it. They came to the conclusion, that they would have to cut my neck open and dig it out or they could leave it in. It wouldn’t move around, it wasn’t going to harm me. So there it stayed.

The following week, I went up to Fresno to MEPS. I got sworn in. I was ready to go. But me, being honest, opened my big mouth and told the lady “Hey, I have a pellet in my neck.” For those of you that don’t know- it’s cool to tell your recruiter stuff, but once you get in, you gotta keep your mouth shut. She sent me home. So that one week, and the previous events leading up to it, set my ship on a different course.

Imagine one event being a rock thrown into a pond. The resulting ripples go out for quite a while. That’s what I learned that summer. One event, one decision can effect your life for quite sometime.

*side note- I am still friends with a lot of those people from that summer. It’s amazing we survived.

 

 

Sadie’s Folly

On June 3, 1995 a cute little foal was born. It also was my 18th birthday. The owner of the foal named it after me (Sadie) and thought folly would also be appropriate due to the fact that folly basically means fuck up. Sadie’s fuck up.

My whole time in foster care, my mom told me if I screwed up she always had the option to send me back to the Jamison Center. I, of course, never wanted to go back, so I was a fairly well behaved kid. However, on my 18th birthday I had plans to be wild. I had a date and then wanted to go to a party my friend was having for me. My mom told me no, I needed to be home after my date. If I didn’t want to do that, I could give my grandma my house key. So guess what I did? Turned in my key. I can still remember my grandmas face when I handed it over. It was sad.

So I went on the date. I guess. I don’t remember all that, this is what my mom told me a few weeks ago. Looking back, I do remember the guy, I have no idea who he is now, a friend from school. Afterwards we went to Cecily’sbhouse and partied. I never really drank except a sip here  and there. But that night I seem to recall drinking 8 budweisers. And then…there was the goldschalger. To my recollection I drank the whole neck of the bottle. I could be exaggerating. Nevertheless, I ended up with alcohol poisoning. I was sick for a week. Living with my friend. Finishing the last week of school. Doing graduation rehearsals outside, in over 100 degree weather, in black jeans. It was miserable. But not miserable enough for me to go home.

You see. I had it all planned out. I was enlisted in the Air Force. I was due to be shipped to boot camp in August. That was only two months. Two months isn’t enough time to get into trouble and make life changing decisions that would have a lasting impact on my life, right? Ha. Right.

Destinations

 

train

Clearly I am procrastinating writing about my late teens and early 20’s. Those were really horrible times in my life. I was a horrible human being who did disgusting things. I was far from the person I am now. I have forgiven myself of course, but we are our harshest critics. Tonight, I’m not quite ready to rip that scab off and discuss my shady past. So let’s talk about where I’m going.

I am on a north bound train to Sacramento to meet up with some girlfriends to run in the Folsom Blues Breakout Half Marathon on Sunday. It has become a tradition of sorts to participate in either a half marathon or full marathon with these girls once a year, no matter where we are. Last year we ran the Portland Marathon, the year before we ran the Grand Canyon Marathon. We meet up in various stages of our lives. One friend has had major life changing events over the last two years. But she still shows up, with her smile and laugh. This year, she and I  are both meeting the other friend in Sacramento where she lives (or at least in that area). Free room and food. Can’t beat that. She has also had major life changes. Life happens. Good and bad. But you either go on or quit.

About 45 minutes ago, we passed the prison my son is in. He called me last night to let me know he was going to the receiving facility at Wasco State Prison. I won’t get to talk to him or visit him for at least 90 days. No matter how bad he fucks up, he is still my baby and all I wanted to do last night was hug him. Prison is big and scary. That’s my kid in there. But what can you do? “Please, no tattoos on your head or face!!” “Don’t become someone’s bitch!” “Don’t join a prison gang.” He will be in there and I will be out here going about my life. Running half marathons. Riding a train and drinking a beer. Two years from now he will be out. Life will continue as it always does. This time will pass with a blink of our eye!

I think the two glasses of wine I had earlier and the beer I’m having now is getting to me 🙂

Three Years

A lot could happen in three years. Babies can be born. People die. My 13 year old will be 16, my 15 year old will be in college. I’ll be 42. The lease will be up on my Regal. Hopefully I’ll be done with my prerequisites for the nursing program. My boyfriend and I could break up. 

Like I said- three years is a long time. 

That’s what my oldest son will be sentenced to soon. 3 years. It’s not a life time. It’s not 10 years. He’s not getting sent to death row. 

But for a kid (he’s 19) who has spent more of his life since he was 13 IN jail than out, it seems like forever. 

As a mom I have mixed emotions. It’s my son so of course I’m sad. But I’m also relieved because I know he’ll be safe (which is relative in prison). 

It has been an exhausting battle with him. It seems we only get along and grow closer when he is in jail, which is depressing. 

Ah. Motherhood is grand. This is just a little excerpt of what is to come in my story. I know that I broke my storyline by jumping ahead to the present but don’t worry, there’s plenty more to come. 

Good night!

Gotta Have Faith

Mmmmm George Michael. Not to be confused with Boy George…..

     When I was about 5, I was in bed, in my room that was in complete shambles. Box mattress tossed, cotton fluff torn out, clothes, paper, probably filthy clothes- who knows. But there I was looking at a calendar of cats. One particular page had a black kitten. I prayed and prayed to God for a black kitten to appear but to no avail. No black kitten came slithering into my room. So I gave God the double bird and told him “FUCK YOU GOD!!” I not kidding. Who does that shit? Certainly not 5 year olds. But I did. And that was the extent of my communication to God for a while. I visited Sunday schools here and there. A neighbor held a class out of their house one time. We made leather bracelets. 

     Some years after I was placed with Terry, maybe when I was 9 or 10, she met a church going lady in one of her college classes. They struck an agreement that Jenny (the church going lady), would take me to church every Sunday. Terry didn’t go. Church wasn’t her thing. However, it would become my life. Sunday school, Christmas shows, friendships, Hume Lake. I even made two missionary trips to Mexico. 

     I am so grateful that Terry made me go to church. I formed lifelong friendships that would eventually save my life more than once (stay tuned). My foundation in church most likely kept me from getting pregnant at 14 as well. 

     I haven’t been to church in a while. My views have changed a little. I’ve come to see that I don’t necessarily need to be engulfed in church to know God. But lately I’ve been feeling the tug….

     Did I mention that my mom Terry had a black cat? I guess He finally answered my prayer! All in Gods timing right?