I suppose I should start at the beginning. I was 17 years old, a senior in high school when I got pregnant. I was a cheerleader, basketball player, I loved running on the Varsity track team and in 4H. I don’t think I was considered popular, then again, looking back there were 31 people in my graduating class, I guess we were all popular lol.
I was the oldest of 4 and I was somewhat of a tomboy. I never really did much for “girly stuff”, and most of my best friends were boys. I loved sports, 4 wheeling, cars, snowmobiling, motorcycles, & getting greasy. I didn’t have a great relationship with my mom and I never really knew why. I look around now, and it seems to me that young moms and their daughters are either close like sisters, or NOT CLOSE like the other sisters. Almost like a competition for the mother, rather than being the mother. However I dont have any girls, so I most definitely am no expert there. Fast forward to 3 months after high school graduation. I gave birth to this little human. My entire pregnancy I had gone to counseling and did all of the ground work for adoption. I had plans to go to school, I even had track scholarship opportunities. But when he was born, and I looked into those beautiful eyes, I knew at that moment all I wanted to be was a mom.
Let me stop a moment to say I admire young women who pick adoption as their choice, it just wasn’t going to be mine. I took that little boy home with me, not knowing what our future would bring, but no matter what it was we would face it together. I remember rocking him, snuggling with him, telling him one day we would rule the world, and we would be the greatest mother son team there ever was.
As you can imagine, my self esteem was in the toilet. All of my classmates left for college and there I was, living the “adult life”. A guy that I had been friends with all through highschool, wanted to date. I was never interested before, but I guess since I figured no one else would want me, I hooked up with him. Fast forward 18 months, I’m alone and pregnant again. I gave birth to another boy. Scary…yes. My aunt, friend, sister, mentor if you will, told me that there is only so much time in a day. If I had 2 children I could still do anything I could do with 1, the only difference would be that they would share the time rather than just the 1 having all of the time. And so our “trio” was born and now there was 3 of us to rule the world together. My boys and I moved to another town. There I went to school, graduated, got a job and we were on our way. I met a guy, we dated, got engaged, moved to another town and got married. He ended up being a cheating, abusive puke and I left him the first year. I had some good friends that helped us out. My boys went to stay with my mom and dad for several weeks while I slept on the floor at a friends house and continued to work and save money. My self worth was pretty much in the toilet and wasn’t going to get any better for many years.
Fast forward…..gave birth to my third son, got remarried, bought a house, my husband adopted son 1 & son 2 and we were a family, life was good. We were pretty broke, but we had a lot of friends and supportive families. I wanted to give my boys all I could. They started soccer when they were 4, played many years until they “graduated” to football. Son 1 and Son 2 took after their mom and loved sports. If we didn’t have the money for them to go to camps, or to have the best shoes or gloves or what have you, we would go without something else, put it on a credit card, apply for grants, whatever we could do to be sure they got to play. Son 3 had extreme allergies and asthma, so sports weren’t in the cards for him, at least not at a young age. As the boys got older, it became obvious that they were going to continue to be in sports for as long as the sports would allow them. We continued to bust our butts to be sure they had the best of things, or at least better than what we could really afford, but we did it anyway.
I remember making this comment referring to son 1 & 2 a lot, “it’s my fault they had such a crappy young childhood, they deserve this.” I always felt like I was such a failure. Watched my younger siblings do big things with their lives. That drove me even more to try to make sure my children loved me so that at least I could say I was a good mom. Yes, that is some rediculous thinking, but at the time…it made perfect sense.
In 2002 we had our youngest son. Now we were a family of 6. We were a good family. I was always embarrassed of how broke we were. I would try to hide it from the older boys by always making sure they had nice things. No, maybe not as good as the “rich kids”, but definitely better than we could afford. Life was pretty good for us. We bought a different house, son 1 and son 2 graduated high school both with football scholarships. Son 3 was our brain, our analytical one, the super smart kid. Son 4 was growing up, he loved animals, fishing, hunting, and helping his dad. About this time, things had slowly been going downhill with their dad and I. We went to marriage counseling for a LONG time. Without details (because I want to keep some things private for our family and don’t want to publicly air any of that laundry) the boys’ dad and I divorced.
Fast forward to my 2 oldest are both established at college, son 3 is in middle school, and son 4 is in grade school. Everyone is good, myself, son 3 and son 4 went to counseling for a while to help manage our feelings and to be sure our heads were in a healthy place.
Yes, I gave you the VERY SHORT VERY FAST story of my first 24 years as a mother. The most important part I feel is that you know that my boys and I had good relationships. Son 2 had a few outbursts as a teenager, but I don’t believe they were focused against me solely, he just had some typical teenager “I need to take control of my life” moments. However in a nutshell, we were tight.
The time came and we found out that son 1 was using and/or involved in drugs. Son 2 quit college after only a year and was AWAL for quite a while. Neither son 1 nor son 2 graduated college. Son 1 did go for the 4 years of his scholarship and played ball. We went to almost every game and gave him money when he asked because I thought if I made it easy (granted I couldn’t do a lot, but it was a lot for what I could do) he would graduate with a degree and have a better life. Both boys went through a time where they didn’t come home. Son 1 was too busy worrying about drugs, and son 2 was hiding from us all. I remember sitting home one Christmas and the following Easter crying, waiting for them to come home to see us. I remember son 3 and son 4 with teary eyes not understanding why their big brothers didn’t come home to visit and all of their friends’ older sibling did. Son 4 asked me at one point, are they mad at us? The time came where son 2 finally just showed up on our doorstep and apologized. Son 1 was rarely reachable as soon as football was over his fourth year. I ended up having a parent come to my work and tell me that my son hadn’t been to class in weeks and was ready to get kicked out. My boyfriend and I left our jobs midday, drove to the town he was at, found him, took him to see his advisors, teachers, tried to help him get on track. A few weeks later we ended up going to pick him up and brought him home. He lost his car and most of his other posessions. My now fiance’ got him a job at his work and we told him he needed to buckle down. I look back now, and see how many excuses I made for both of them. I refused to see it all for what it was. I suppose you call it, ENTITLEMENT and a bad case of a mother’s “love is blind” complex.
Fast forward…I got remarried (yes, again) all boys are doing well. The oldest 2 are working and living with friends, son 3 is doing well in high school and son 4 is doing well in middle school. Now this is where I will slow down. This is where my life started to “unravel”if you will. The Summer of 2014 is a summer I will never forget.
My husband and I ride motorcycles. Son 1 found an interest in bikes as well and I thought maybe it would be the thing to help keep him focused and work hard. I co-signed a loan for him so he could buy a motorcycle. He didn’t have a car, but he said he would pay extra every month and get it paid off quickly so he could buy a car in the winter. I was so excited that he showed interest in something I loved and I really thought this would be the thing to help.
One summer night we (husband, son 1 and I) were downtown with our bikes. We all had a couple drinks over the course of a few hours, but we were pretty strict about no drinking and riding so we we didn’t over do it. At least, we didn’t think any of us did…
Hubby and I went home about 11:30ish and went to bed. Before we left, we asked my son if he was ok. He said yes, but even though he said he wasn’t drunk, he wasn’t going to ride home. He would leave his bike parked. I’m a big person on taking the key. This night I didn’t. I felt confidant that he wasn’t going to ride. He had been making good decisions and I so I trusted him to leave it parked. A very short time after falling asleep, my cell phone rang. It was a friend of son 1. Apparantly he had not only chosen to ride, but he had a passenger, and they had been hit by a drunk driver. He didn’t know if my son was dead or alive. He only knew that it was really bad. I had to tell my sons, his little brothers, that he was in a bad motorcycle accident and they needed to stay home while we went to the hospital. I’m going to tell you, this was the most horrible night of my life hands down. I can’t tell you a lot about that first night. I only remember pieces after that call for about a week. I remember yelling at his friends asking them why he was on his bike. I remember seeing him, all bloody, his face was mangled, tubes everywhere, doctors and nurses fast and furious and so many cops. I remember seeing it on the news, my sons shoe laying in the middle of the street and his crashed bike laying there on its side. The street where it happened, was still shut down the following morning. Did I mention that seconds before he took off on his bike that night he sent me a text saying I LOVE YOU.? Surgery after surgery, my unconscious son, laid there, machines breathing for him. More bones broken than I could count. Police constantly bothing me, making it sound like my son was a damn hoolagin. For days he layed there on life support. Because of the injuries to his jaw and mouth, we didn’t know if he would be capable of breathing again on his own. He bit off almost a 1/2 inch of his tongue. The plastic surgeon said it was the worse injury of its kind he had ever seen. I left his side once while he was in that state, and that was only because people practically carried me out to take me to eat something. Dealing with the guilt of not taking his key just in case he decided to try to ride. Dealing with the guilt of not realizing he was over the legal limit. Dealing with the guilt of feeling like you left him alone and this is your fault. And then there is seeing your child lay there,while you are helpless. Seeing the look of straight fear and tears in their eyes when they are just barely conscious for a few minutes. When they try to write on paper to communicate, and you can barley read the scribble, but it says “am I dying” or “I’m sorry” or “I’m scared”. A mother fixes things for her children and kisses their owies away. This wasn’t happening this time.
I won’t go into more detail than that, just know it’s not something you ever want to see. Please, please, please, if there is even a remote possibility of a question of sobriety and driving or riding…just TAKE THE KEY.
Weeks later, my son left the hospital. his trake was removed, he passed physical therapy, jaw wired shut with physical therapy for that to come in the future. Mental injury no doubt. I was very upset to find out that the hospital doesn’t even suggest to patients that they see someone to help deal with their trauma. That should be part of the deal when releasing. Some of his injuries were life changers, but he came home. Shortly after, he was charged with DUI and something like vehicular assault or something like that. He had a passenger and she was injured also. Thankfully not nearly as bad as he was. The lady that hit them, was also charged with DUI, HER 9TH ONE. We supported him for several months, helped him to get back on his feet….again. I’m not complaining, there was never a question, we were glad to do it, because that’s what you do for your children. That’s what you do for family. I didn’t tell you about this event because I wanted you to know about his wreck, I told you because I want you to know that since this event, I haven’t been the same. I’ve always had anxiety, but nothing that was debilitating. After his accident, I was scared to drive, scared to ride, loud noises shook me, sirens put me in a panick. I started to grind my teeth, if I was lucky enough to fall asleep I had nightmares, regular panick attacks, and obsess about my children and their safety. I started therapy and slowly started to find myself again and get comfortable in my skin. I understand how lucky we are that he survived. I am ever so thankful, and I do know people who have not been so fortunate. Everyone deals with situations differently, everyones level of strength in different situations is different. This was more than I could handle, and it was definitely a life changer for me. One thing for certain, it did teach me this, NEVER TAKE LIFE FOR GRANTED. Life, people, can be lost in an instant and there is nothing you can do about it. Hell….that alone scared the shit out of me.
I will stop at this part of the story for today. What I want to leave you with today is this…if you are a parent, know that you cannot protect your children from everything, every day for the rest of your life. Know that bad things might happen, not because of how you raise your children, but despite how you raise your children. And just simply, sometimes…bad shit happens. Tell your children you love them. Tell your parents you love them. Tell the people you love, that you love them today. Never wait for tomorrow, because you never know when tomorrow won’t come.