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Weekly Photo Challenge:Love

 

             In a new post specifically created for this challenge, share a picture which means LOVE to you!!

Love is an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment.

Love is also said to be a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection.

Love may describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one’s self or animals.

Dark red rose

After reading this I immediately thought of my husband and how his picture means Love to me.

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Here’s what makes him so special,  My older children were  raised by their step dad, and it’s he who they consider as their real father.

Their real father doesn’t have that much to do with them, he never really has, my daughter was almost 6 and my son 3 when their step dad became a permanent part in their lives.

 I cannot recall a time either one of my children referred to him as “step dad” from the beginning he has always been their Daddy.

He’s their Dad in every way except biologically.

He has always shown them respect, and treated them like his own flesh. He never raised a hand, except for the occasional threat of a spanking, which he rarely had to deliver.

He did discipline them on occasion when they were growing up, but only when deserved, and on those few occasions, they did deserve it. Not often, they were good kids mostly, but they had a few moments.

He is their dad, he’s not by blood, but that doesn’t matter. Both of our older children couldn’t be more grateful to have someone like him who helped them both with homework, took care of them when they were sick, took them both to every school event, took them fishing, taught them to drive,who was there for them, loved them etc. And to this day, even though they are both adults he is still there for them.

Virginia Beach

Brian‘s the world’s most laid back, gentle guy. I’ve only seen him get really angry once or twice and it was always more than justified.

He’s a quiet guy, but he’s always taught our children by example how to sacrifice your own needs for the good of those around you.

Each of my children adore him, several times they’ve expressed their gratitude for all he has done for them, stepping in when he didn’t have to do so.

God sometimes calls upon men to be fathers or dads who do not have to be fathers or dads.

I’m blessed and incredibly thankful mine answered the call choosing to love another’s children as his own.

Kindness, compassion, Love and affection was unselfishly shared with them from the very beginning, continuing his selfless acts for ailing

family members along with everyone else he encounters.

Brian is the essence of Love

Brian & Erika

Brian & Young One

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Picking up the pieces from my past…

At one time or another over the years, every one of my family members more often than not fantasized and daydreamed of having young one and baby permanently in our home.

After 4 years I had enough courage to leave, not knowing everything I knew and loved would be stripped from me, how my children would be used against me, and life as I knew it would never be the same. (Everyone involved has been given a new identity: my ex is Mr. his wife is Mrs. And so on, with the exception of my husband whom I’ve always called ‘B’ and me.)

I went through a divorce, (although I was never legally married to this man, but a divorce none the less) and at one time had protective custody on my youngest children. Trying to be civil and kind is one of my downfalls, it is hard for me to say no and because of this I have paid a great price…

In the beginning Mr. was both hesitant and tolerable. While in the Navy, B and I always made sure he had advanced notice on the time frame, including total days in which B wanted for leave. Phone calls were always made 2 weeks prior to confirm us making the Kansas trip; reluctantly he let young one & baby stay with me for most of B’s leave.

When I was able to build a small relationship with my children, when they began asking for me, showing excitement when they see me or when I called, that’s when I noticed the change. Soon home on leave meant bitter fighting with Mr., later I had to answer to Mrs. I rebelled several times explaining I never slept with or got pregnant by her so therefore she has no say on any aspects of my visitation. It only fueled them both and made it worse.

I quickly realized my children would only get to know me if Mr. allowed it.

Often Mrs. was the deciding factor on whether or not the overnight visits I longed for would instead be for a few hours. That left me feeling both Mr. and Mrs. received gratification by controlling how often I seen or heard from my children. I had been left begging to see or talk to young one & baby. Only a handful of precious memories were able to be made. Mr. had to have total control.

Many times after that Excuses as to why I couldn’t see or talk to young one & baby ranged from young one & baby needed to spend time with family out of town, or made plans with friends. It’s Mrs. Birthday and they needed to be there to celebrate it. They couldn’t talk on the phone because they were either grounded, sleeping, at a friend’s, to hyper last time to be allowed to talk to me this time, or my personal favorite, my phone number has been blocked and they no longer answer the phone. I left messages, wrote letters, certified mail etc.

This went on for years, telling me I could see them getting me all excited and after I made the 23+ hour drive home to see our family and my young ones, he changes his mind. I called numerous times, on the rare occasion the adults answered the phone my kids were told “Carrie” is on the phone. When I expressed my love to them both, their response would be “I know” Mr. was slowly turning my kids against me. Young one told me later that both Mrs.  & Mr. would tell her and baby I didn’t love them or I don’t call because I forgot about them. Later on young one and baby heard me leaving a message for them and were able to witness it being erased by Mrs. Several times myself and other family members, including state officials and therapists, made complaints and called the 1-800-ABUSE hotline. Each and every time we were told there was never enough evidence to remove young one and baby from the home.  All her life young one was lied to; now because of this I am left picking up pieces to what should be happy times…

April 11 2011 is the day my life changed; little did I know my family unit was getting more than just a 15 year old girl. I never dreamt it would be like this or that our safety & patience would be tested to the limits. December 13th 2011 was the 1st and 2nd altercation with young one also big sis’s 20th Birthday. Actually it was her 3rd and 4th. Before when she was explosive B was able to restrain her and get control of the situation. This was the first time police needed to be called; young one had lost all control.  Informing me I’m nothing but a worthless bitch that likes to sleep around, I do not deserve to be her mother I’m a filthy whore etc. I couldn’t believe the words coming from young one’s mouth, nor did I have any idea as to why.

Big sis was in Blackwell helping take care of her great grandfather and B was at work. Other than my Labrador and my son MJ I was alone with this explosive child. I asked where all this was coming from and that was a mistake. She started screaming how much she hates me, herself everyone. Spit was hitting my face, fists were pounding my body. I was repeatedly told how much she wanted to fuck me up. My brain was telling me to knock the piss out of her instead I tried to calmly ask again what was wrong.

My questioning didn’t help and she was getting more abusive so I decided to call the police. By this point MJ came into the living room asked me if I was alright and continued to stand next to me. Mind you I’m short I stand 5’5 or 5’6 while young one comes up a bit past my chin. MJ towers over me with ease standing just above 6’3 or 6’4. I don’t know if she was intimidated by him ‘hovering’ or not, she retaliated with “you have to get your baby boy to fight your battles” I said nothing, MJ told her if she hit me one more time he was going to nail her. She started screaming again police arrive and ask what’s going on. I explained I had no idea what set her off, she was fine earlier but became snippy after having a conversation with her father. I also informed them she has a history of explosive behavior. Young one told them she wasn’t happy and she didn’t care what the hell happened. Within 30 minutes she was settled down, the police told her to go to bed and not speak to anyone for the rest of the night. They took my statement and left. MJ had called big sis while the police were at the house, not fully aware of the time I was shocked to see B walking into the house, he wasn’t happy but I calmly explained to him the events from earlier, now big sis is also home so again I find myself explaining what happened.

Within minutes young one attempt to come at me. B grabs her and tries to restrain her, struggling she rolls over on her gut so B swats her bottom a couple times, in return she laughs and does the same thing to him. She is becoming more physical now, B’s glasses are knocked off his face as I was reaching down to retrieve them she pulled her left leg all the way to her chest and flung it forward, she kicked my jaw with such force B thought she had broken it, hearing me wince in pain pleased her to the point of laughter. Again the police were called, different officers this time. The whites of B’s eye is beat red, his glasses are broke my jaw is swollen and I have scratches on my face. Young one is arrested for assault and battery; within 30 minutes the police station is calling us to pick her up.

Since the first set of officers didn’t file the report correctly there was only one battery charge. As soon as we got home she started in on big sis pulling her hair and swearing at her. Seeing her sister disrespect and abuse her parents in the past big sis wasn’t keen on hearing her mouth. She told young one she was selfish and ungrateful, tried to explain to her that I had borrowed money and gone through hell just to get custody switched which is what she wanted. Reminded her how many times I had her back when crap with Mr. would surface, young one responded with she only wanted to live with me to get back at Mr. and with that she lunged at big sis.

Being older big sis was afraid to fight back for fear she would be charged with something, B had to pull young one off of big sis, and police had been to the house twice within an hour and a half. Suspecting nothing would get done, seeing our marks from her past altercations we took young one to the Oklahoma Youth Shelter so everyone could be safe for the night. The following morning we were told to take her to Oklahoma City/Tulsa area she was checked into the 2nd placement of the 6 she has been in since September of 2011.

Called Mr. and explained the goings on, no surprise when he didn’t offer help.

While at this placement we were required to travel 2 hours one way multiple times each month. You were not allowed to question her perception of things however it was quite alright for young one and staff to question ours. After being confronted about her ill behavior she started acting out there. Violence got the better of her again when she assaulted the staff. Received a court date, ticket and a $400 fine and since she’s a minor that leaves us financially responsible.

Between the court dates & weekly therapy sessions, it didn’t allow for a lot of understanding from B’s boss. In turn he lost a damn good job. Having no job meant no money to pay rent & bills, In March we lost our house and had to move in with B’s parents. Borrowing from family was the only way to get to court dates and therapy sessions.

In time it felt like therapy was going like it should, we did confrontation letters followed by forgiveness letters. Young one’s therapist felt Mr. was making things worse. Mr. had been contacted by young one’s therapist which is when he told the therapist he wanted nothing to do with young one, that young one had made her choice to come and live with her mom and now she needed to be responsible for her actions.

Even with all the drama and chaos that has been a constant since September of 2011 I can proudly tell you big sis and MJ have both graduated this past summer. Sadly on February 8 2012 B’s grandfather passed away. Knowing big sis and MJ were devastated, all I could think of was, baby needs the opportunity to say goodbye. With a heavy heart I called and asked to speak to my son, to my surprise he was allowed to spend the night with me the night before the funeral.

Unfortunately young one was not able to see baby nor was she able to go to her great grandfather’s funeral, at the time young one was in a residential group home.

His funeral was held February 13th; big sis was expected to check-in at Guthrie Job Corps Tuesday February 14 2012 the following day. Tuesday morning she loaded the car with her bags, even though we felt she was cheating herself the fair amount of time needed to be able to process her grief (being quite close, they shared a special bond.) Big sis managed to look past the negative and fulfill her commitment to herself she had already received her diploma a year prior to Brian completing his naval contract giving her a slight head start.

Before Guthrie big sis and MJ witnessed first-hand their sister’s abusive behavior. Twice they forgave her willing to give her another chance. Wiser now knowing it was just a matter of time before she has faked her way through yet another facility and landed back in our home. With the word discharged looming above they made the decision to have nothing to do with young one until she apologized.

Big sis worked hard, while still in Guthrie she became a dorm leader, finally obtained her learners permit. She volunteered her own time to help the Special Olympics in Stillwater Oklahoma. She graduated August 24 2012 from job corps health care, after that she moved into her first apartment in Stillwater, OK.

Siblings couldn’t check in at the same time which put MJ leaving a week after big sis. MJ checked in February 21 2012. He took a tad bit longer since he was enrolled in computer tech while also obtaining his high school diploma. MJ was struggling with computer tech completed the course but not the certification. Obtained his driver’s license and lost 50 pounds before graduating with honors. MJ graduated August 24, 2012. Shortly after leaving job corps he moved in with big sis since the job market in Stillwater is more promising than our small town of Ponca City.

Young one had been home 2 months when on September 25 she viciously assaulted me twice, the first being at B’s place of work. I ignored her behavior doing so only amplified it. Seeing B’s co-workers looking our way also amped her attention thrill.

She taunted me with how she wanted me dead and that she was going to kill me. Between the two of us, one of us was going to die and she was going to make sure it happened.

I remained silent. B heard the commotion but wasn’t able to come to where I was parked. Young one got ahold of my thumb and was attempting to break it. I was refusing to allow her any closer, swear word after swear word was spit at me. I had enough, I called the police and again we had to pick her up from the police station. Later at B’s parent’s house was when she next assaulted me, B and his Dad.

Highway trip the next morning taking her to OSU after a few short weeks we have to go back to Tulsa to pick her up since she was being discharged, she threatened me in front of everyone she was going to kill me and no way was she going home with me. Instead of the hospital transporting young one, B and I had to. That was the longest scariest 2 hour drive I had ever made, and in complete silence.

Courts are doing nothing except making us financial responsible. Because young one is put in placement shortly after the altercations her punishment is a slap on the hand. She has been arrested twice and charged with battery each time, received a ticket of $400 for another battery offence elsewhere. To make her guardians responsible financially, exactly what is that teaching her? Yes we are responsible for her, but I draw the line when it’s I or my husband who are left responsible for the fines and court costs because she allowed her behavior to get the better of her.

Finally things were calming down and starting to look up for us. October we were able to move out of his parent’s house and into our own. Young one was in treatment, big sis and MJ were in Stillwater, and it was just B and I. I can honestly tell you it felt amazing, no chaos, abuse or yelling. I had been working from 2-10 for a little over a month, a few days before Thanksgiving I ended up in the ER. All the stress from before had finally caught up to me and I could’ve swore I was dying from a heart attack.

Not having insurance has created a huge problem. I still need an Echocardiogram and a nuclear stress test. Needless to say I am not working and there is no way B and I can make it on our own. Big sis & MJ moved back home and are helping with the bills, for that I am thankful.

Young one has been home now over 2 weeks. She was discharged from her latest placement on January 7 2013 after being admitted October 18 2012. This time I admit to not feeling comfortable or safe with her in my home. I have again opened my home to young one, making it quite clear there is zero tolerance and no room for abusive behavior. Young one is my daughter and always will be, my relationship with young one can in fact be repaired with time, but there comes a time when one can no longer deal with the abuse and explosive behavior. Abuse is why I left my past relationships; I never dreamed I would be abused by my own child, I pray we never have to live it again and that this time will be different.

Family is Family

I live in a small two bedroom one bath home, it could actually be a three bedroom if I wanted to take the ginormous desk out of the smallest room and trade it for a twin size bed, but then where would I put the desk? This question has been floating in my head for a few weeks; lately I’ve been stressing on it more frequently than I should.

Allow me to rewind a bit…

CNA (certified nursing assistant) is my profession, grueling at times but also rewarding. Breathing like I was trying to get my last breath, pulse racing at 159+, seconds away from passing out and hitting the floor left me sporting a heart monitor for Thanksgiving dinner. No thanks to my ticker, now lacking the ability to perform any activity the way a ‘normal’ 39 year old should, I was grounded so to speak from working, only allowed to do whatever didn’t get my ticker racing. I always have to be doing something, keeping busy somehow. Going from always busy to making me comfy on the couch is absolute torture!!  Coming around to tell my children about my health wasn’t easy;  I didn’t want them to worry, or to see myself as I did, weak, broken  and incapable of doing everything I once loved, more importantly, being me.  

With tears in her eyes my oldest said

“I know you need my help, you’ve always helped us and everything, it only seems right that we are able to help you both now,  we will get a job and help as much as we can”

Without hesitation they both stepped up and made myself and my husband very proud. So in December, the month in which most people go overboard spending countless hours searching for that perfect gift, spends the extra minutes to make certain it is wrapped in the perfect paper with the perfect bow. Yes Dreaded December, as I like to call it, this is when my oldest children came home…

January is when my 15-year-old abusive daughter was discharged and placed back into our home for the 6th time since September of 2011. (Eventually will share those events)

My once quiet, calm, cozy 2 bedroom fit perfectly just for me home has been transformed. Housing me, my husband, 3 children (even though ages say otherwise to me they are still my children) and our Labrador Libby. Once my tranquil retreat, now chaotic and hectic, filled with Dubstep, skrillex, Hip-hop, endless piles of laundry, dishes, petty arguments, silent treatments and long lines outside the bathroom door. Living room by day transforms to my son’s sleeping quarters at night. He doesn’t worry about having his own room, he is content with having the couch as his bed, so why do I stress on where to put the desk? Why not leave it where it sits? Even if I moved the desk and transformed the room into a bedroom there would still be chaos, my house would still be full.

At the end of the day when all the chaos has subsided, I look around my overflowing home and realize I wouldn’t trade this for anything. No family is perfect, we argue we fight, we even stop talking to each other at times, but in the end, family is family. So don’t sweat the small stuff, the love for one another will always be there.

 

“Here’s to a new beginning”

CVN 65       The USS Enterprise, “Big E”

USS-Enterprise

the wonderful ship that my husband had been on. I was completely jealous of her because she had the man I would die for.

Each time the ship pulled out my heart sank, I felt lost and incomplete. Knowing he worked on the flight deck made me a basket case the first time they pulled out, “river city” (all communications down)you learned to adapt, learned to not watch CNN or world news, learned to ignore “know it all’s” from social sites, most importantly you learned to pull up your “big girl panties”. When love and marriage is strong enough you overcome many obstacles. Before being stationed on the ship and even afterwards, every aspect of our lives was each other, there was never a day we were ever apart with the exception of work. Learning to live without the other, was very hard to say the least. For days I couldn’t sleep or eat, slowly we were able to adjust. I’d had never been more excited to see a person in my whole life than when the ship pulled back in. As soon as our eye’s met I felt the warmth of my cheeks as they turned another shade of pink, butterflies were dancing with my insides and the raised chill spots I get were very clear. When he reached out to pull me into his embrace I fell in love with him all over again. He’s my best friend & my missing link. I love him with every fiber of my being. Even though he is here with me I’m still sad to leave the Military life behind, yet grateful to Big E for taking care of my husband. Our lifestyle for 10 years, a routine we were proud of and loved even with the deployments… I have memories that will last my lifetime, friendships that feel like extended families.

The last chapter of the first nuclear-powered carrier is now written…

Finale to sea duty means our adventures will be elsewhere. My husband has been speaking to a recruiter for the Navy Reserves, although I hate the thought of being away from him I support his decision to enlist again.

Time Capsule for the USS  Enterprise

Time Capsule for the USS Enterprise

Such a big hunk of history rests with the Enterprise.

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25 deployments since her commissioning in 1961.