I went to bed last night (well, more like 6 a.m. this morning) and as usual my mind went in circles for a bit until I could finally curtail it and head it down one path. I finally did fall asleep but before I did I decided that I'm going to try several things to see if I can't get rid of some of the "junk" inside me. Maybe if I can get rid of some of this garbage I can put it behind me and I'll start feeling better. I know I need to see if I can get some professional help but until that happens, this is going to be my sounding board. For any of you who may read this, please be prepared for a bumpy ride, because this is the real stuff for me.
At the end of 2000 I moved two daughters and son from Florida to Kentucky. We had lived in Florida for about 11 years and had our own home, I had a good job that I loved and had been in for 8 years, my kids were able to stay in the same school system from pre-k right on up....our lives were pretty good. Perfect - no, but I've never expected perfection. Financially we were ok, once in awhile had a little extra to play with, once in awhile had to scrape -- such is life. Physically we were all healthy, and emotionally we were all pretty happy. So, why did we move? I've asked myself a million times why.
To make a long story very short, I was adopted when I was about 3 yrs old and in 1994 I decided to find out if I could get medical records, not just for myself but to give my children some type of medical background. While I was doing that I found my birth father. He and his family welcomed us with open arms and we started communicating and visiting each other on a regular basis. You guessed it - they lived in Kentucky. As my children got older, particularly my son, we started having problems in our neighborhood with break-ins, kids and drugs, things I did not want my kids into and my son was being pulled into it very quickly. He was just about ready to go into his teen years and my youngest daughter was only 2 years behind him. I was afraid that with the way the neighborhood was changing I would have my hands full. We had no other family in Florida so raising teens as a single parent in a neighborhood that was quickly turning very bad was NOT what I wanted to do. On a visit to Kentucky I mentioned that I was getting concerned about the way things were changing and my father and step-mother suggested we move up here. Well, it took a couple of years of convincing, but when I woke up in the middle of the night and found the neighborhood kids building a a fire in the middle of the road in front of my house (which was only one of MANY things that happened) I decided that maybe a move would be for the best. We discussed it as a family and the kids were all excited about it. They had spent enough time in Kentucky by then that they loved it...and of course they would have grandparents here, aunts, uncles, counsins...everythings we DIDN'T have in Florida....and I would have a support system with raising my children. After about another 6 months of deliberating I sold my home, left my job, and moved us to Kentucky. At my one brothers insistance, as well as my parents, the kids and I moved in with my brother. It had been all planned for us - or so it seemed. My parents had 5 acres of land and if I waited until spring I could purchase a modular home and have it put on a piece of land and be close to not only my parents but 2 of my 4 brothers. To good to be true? Oh yes! Within a week my oldest daughter, Amanda, and I both had jobs, my younger two were in school all day, and I thought all would be well...maybe a little more hectic than we were used to with so many people around all the time, but it would work on a temporary basis. My brother and his wife had a new baby so I was able to help her with the baby in the evening, etc.,. Since we were on 5 acres of land that was basically open we were told to go ahead and bring our dogs, but when we got here all of a sudden they had to be penned 24/7. The kids were not allowed to take them out of the pen, even if I was home, unless one of their grandparents were outside too. Mind you, we are now talking about December and January, snow, low teens,etc., and my kids being used to Florida weather! We were literally told that we needed to be up by 5a.m. every day, the kids needed to take care of their dogs before they did anything, then they could come in and have breakfast and get ready for their bus, which arrived at 7 a.m. Then they got home at 4:30 p.m., I got home at 5:30, and then we had dinner, homework, take care of the animals, baths, and bed by 7:30 or 8 at the latest. If they were up past that one of my parents would come over and tell me to get them in bed. I was doing the cooking (my brothers wife didn't know how), cleaning (she was to busy with the baby), and then, when I wanted to get a 2nd vehicle for my 22 yr old so she could work better hours instead of the ones I did, I was told that there were already enough vehicles to worry about, they didn't need any more there. I paid off an old phone bill for my brother so a phone could be hooked up so I'd have a way to communicate with my kids if there were an emergency, I ended up buying all the groceries, paying the electric and water bill, loaning them money for a car payment, and buying diapers, wipes, formula, etc., for the baby. Plus I paid them weekly rent on top of that. If I wanted quiet time with my kids, just to talk or find out how things were going with them, I often called them into the bedroom and we'd pile on the bed and talk. I was told not to do that anymore, it didn't look right and everyone was wondering what we were hiding. My son got in trouble for being mouthy on the bus one day (hmmm, typical 12 year old) and when I got home there was a family "conference" telling me how they planned on "nipping that problem in the bud" and had already doled out his punishment. My step-mother had grounded him for 2 weeks and I was told I had no say in it. By February I was frazzled. Then the icing was put on the cake. I got a call at work from my brothers wife informing me that my daughters dog had gotten out of the pen and they couldn't catch him so my brother took out his shotgun and shot him. Within an hour I received another phone call from my other brother saying that I needed to get home and get the dogs out of here or they would all be shot. I told him I couldn't just leave work, I would come home straight after work and take care of them. Well, needless to say, I got home and the other two dogs had been shot and killed as well. They waited until my youngest two were home from school and told them that they did not need animals, they didn't take care of them, they didn't spend time with them, and that if that was the way they were going to treat and animal they didn't deserve them, they'd be better of dead. They shot the dogs in front of my kids. I came home and they were devasted. I was too but I had to hold it together for them. I started looking for a place immediately. By then my resources were getting low. The profit from my house had been ok but with the moving expenses and taking care of their household and mine, I had very little left, but we managed to find a place that I could move us into the beginning of March. Two weeks before that I came home and my brother and his wife had been fighting and she had taken the baby and left. He and my step-mother met me at the door and told me that it was our fault, we had put to much strain on them, and we had one week to find a place. Of course the security deposit on the one place was non-refundable so I lost that and had to find a place within a week. I finally did - a little two bedroom trailer that was pretty much falling apart....but it was a roof over our heads and we were together...just the 4 of us. Yeah, you pretty much guessed it. My brother and his wife got back together, had another baby, split up again, got back together, split up again, got back together, and now, 7 years later, they have a third child and are divorced. And I was left with two kids heading towards their teens who had just gone through the more trauma in 10 weeks than they had their entire lives. My 22 year old helped a lot, but she was angry and hurt as well, so we were a great bunch to be around.