Being a Mother after Active Addiction

I love Anne Lamott but have never read this passage before. I needed to read it today because there have been many days in the past and now where I’ve felt the inadequacy of being a shitty mother. Of never being good enough because of years of active addiction where I not only aliented myself but also my children, husband, family and friends.

Through years of cumulative sobriety, an awesome sponsor/sponsee, active recovery work with a terrific support system, an outstanding therapist that I actually don’t lie to, I’ve learned to love myself again. I’m empathetic not only to those I’ve hurt, but to the fact that I was hurt child trying to cover up pain from a past that could no longer hurt me,but I still hadn’t dealt with.

Children and parents estranged from one another need to remember, we were individuals before we had titles, and even with those titles, we’re still individuals. We feel pain, we hurt others. We feel elation, and we allow others to shine. We grow and change, but some of us remain stagnant and fear the future. Some of us get lucky and start to move forward again.

We’ll never be perfect, nor would we want to be. Yet we are good people and hopefully, when the sun sets upon our lives those we’ve hurt will come back to us again.

Who am I?

While I was in treatment I was given Recovery Workbook by my one on one therapist. There were many sheets on which to detail the progression of my disease. When I was in active addiction I would try to write, … Continue reading

He Didn’t Ask to be Born


From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.-Jacques Yves Cousteau

At the age of 20, my Adam Boy told me he didn’t ask to be born. I looked at him and was kind of shocked by what he said. If I’d said such a thing to my mother, I would have been slapped in the mouth. I’m not her, so I simply shook my head in agreement. Adam spoke matter of fact, and wasn’t being malicious or nasty. He hardly ever is. His wasn’t a planned pregnancy, but was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know if I wanted him or not. Roger and I were still newlyweds, and Meg was only five months old. She was a wild and spirited child that robbed me of sleep, and my smile. How the hell was I going to have two children under the age of two? I was all of 23 when he was born.

The first six months after Adam’s birth were harrowing, in the postpartum depression coupled with exhaustion kind of way.  In my wildest dreams I never would have thought he would question his birth. But then I think back to how both he and Meggie were raised, and now I’m not surprised in the least bit. He’s a brilliant young man that studies philosophy, so of course he’d say what he did. I’m not shocked or hurt by it. I’m in awe of  him. I look at him with wide wonder, and ask myself how’d my boy get to be so smart?

I know my birth parents didn’t ask for me to be born. I was an unwanted pregnancy. If abortion had been legal, I might have become a wistful memory to my birth mother. Instead of a constant reminder of a life she couldn’t have, back in April of 1968. I was born to a single mother and my biological father was married to someone else. If you’ve spent any time reading my posts, you already know my story. No sense in boring you with the details, again.

What this post is about is the other children that didn’t ask to be born, but were. The friend that wonders how both of her parents could still be alive, but doesn’t feel cared for by them. And never has for that matter. No amount of love I give her will ever fill that void. It breaks my heart. I want nothing more than to blanket her in unconditional love and tell her she is my family. It doesn’t change the loneliness she feels.

What about my friend that I lost so many years ago to suicide? I’m sure he didn’t ask to be born with severe depression and no way out of it, but with a bullet to his brain.

I thought about him today on my way to work. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the weather. I remember us sitting on a concrete bench outside of our high school. He’d given me a pink carnation and a bright smile. His arms enveloped me and he kissed me. It was such a pleasant surprise. I even remember what we were wearing. He was dressed in pin striped jeans and a button up shirt. I was wearing a peasant skirt and blouse with strappy high heels. I crossed my legs and leaned into him. Put my hand on his chest and kissed his soft lips again. We giggled at each other as we walked to our bus. I’m sure we sat together, but the memory gets fuzzy and I can’t recall.

And there’s my friend that’s been a martyr all her life. Did she ask to be the one that takes care of everyone instead of herself? She’s still trying to figure out that she’s worth more. She needs to be taken care of. I hope she finds the one that will, because she’ll take care of him.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post. All I know is it feels good to be writing it. To be contemplative. Maybe even a little inspirational. Again.

None of asked to be born. Some of us probably wish we hadn’t been. What would be the fun in that though? Think of all the books we wouldn’t have read. The art we wouldn’t have seen. The music that we wouldn’t have listened to. The people we wouldn’t have met. The love we wouldn’t have experienced. The hurt. The anger. The elation. The bravery. The failures. The hate. The tears. The dread. The fear. The happiness. The strength. The weakness. The sex. The want. The need. The life!

Life! We would have missed out on life. That my dears, is why were born!

Two Years and I Still Miss Her


“The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained …

I remember how warm it was on March 26, two years ago. I stood in the yard of Linda’s parents house. I was anxious to see her, but not her mom, dad and siblings. The final year of her life had not been easy on her. Or any of us for that matter. She had cancer, and had left all of us to live with her parents. Her daughter Claire, and my son Adam, met me in the front yard. We shared hugs and a few words. I hugged Linda’s daughter Ally Girl too. David, Linda’s husband, met me at the door. We chatted as I walked through the foyer  into the living room. Then I saw her, surrounded by her sister and mother. My dear friend was lying in a hospital bed in the living room, dying. We hadn’t spoken to each other in months. Now all I could do was hold her hand and weep.

Tears streamed down my face, and I could barely speak for the lump in my throat. I kept talking to her all the same. Kept crying. The funny thing was, not one of her siblings or parents offered a word of comfort to me. Her children, Ally and Clair did, and no one else. They stood idly by and let me bawl. That proved what kind of people they were-cold. I laid my head next to hers and let the tears dampen her pillow. I listened to her labored breathing and knew it was only a matter of time before she expired. I leaned up on my elbow and stroked her blonde hair. We were sisters once. BFFs. Swim Mommas. I was hoping some day we’d be connected when and if our children got married.

I watched Ally administer medicine and speak to Linda like she wasn’t dying. She carried on the one-sided conversation and stated that she was learning to be a caregiver.  Adam and Claire played cards on the couch. All they wanted was to be normal. Adam Boy had lost his grandmother, my mother-in-law to cancer a few years earlier. He knew the importance of chilling out and letting nature take it’s course. We were met with opposition to our loud voices, and boisterous laughter. We tuned it out though.

I know it’s been two years since Linda died, and the hole in my heart doesn’t ache nearly as bad as it did. I find I’m filling it with more love for the friends that are still with me. Claire and Adam are still together. Ally and Alex are getting married this summer. She and my Meggie are still the best of friends. David found a new love and married her. It just goes to show you, time marches on. Whether we want it to or not. I do miss Linda though, and whenever spring rolls around my thoughts always turn to her.

My Destiny was to be Their Mother


“No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body.” Margaret Sanger

Dr. P. placed the Doppler on my lower abdomen. She moved it slowly. Deliberately. She was looking for the sound I would grow to love more throughout the coming months. Within moments I heard it. Like the flutter of a hummingbird’s wings. It was my Meggie’s heartbeat. Fast, strong, and determined. I didn’t know it at the time, but those words would be used to describe her many times as she was growing up.

The doctor let the Doppler rest on my belly. It was still flat. It wouldn’t be for much longer though. I listened to my little nudger. The whump, whump, whump was soothing, but I was terrified too. My mind wandered. To four years earlier…

I was 17 years old and a senior in high school. I had a steady boyfriend. I was scared. Anxious. Pregnant. I was holding in my hand a positive pregnancy test. I hid in my bathroom and waited till the middle of the night to take it. I held the test tube up to the light. I sobbed silently. Wondering what the fuck I was going to do.

The sad thing is, three months prior, I had called Planned Parenthood. I’d made my appointment to get my first pelvic exam and procure a scrip for the “Pill”. I didn’t go. I never rescheduled. And then after a night of unprotected sex, I got pregnant.

I called Planned Parenthood again. This time to find out more about an abortion. They were so caring, gave me guidance and information. The day of the appointment, my boyfriend took me. He was great. I’m glad he was with me. I couldn’t tell my mother. So I didn’t. I was so afraid she would be disappointed in me.

At the clinic I was given a blood test. It was positive. I knew it would be. I spoke to a counselor. She gave me three options. Adoption, abortion, or keep the baby. She did not pressure me to terminate my pregnancy. I was given a choice-I decided that I would have an abortion. They gave me expert medical care, birth control, and follow up counseling if necessary.

I never regretted what I did and it wasn’t a decision I made lightly. I’m glad that my boyfriend was there to support me. I’m happy I had a choice. A safe one.

As time went by, my relationship faltered and life moved on. A child wasn’t to be my destiny for another four years.

I came back to myself as Dr. P finished the exam. I was so excited to be pregnant. To hear my baby girl’s heartbeat. I was scared, but I wasn’t alone. I was little more grown up. Better prepared. I knew it was my destiny to be a mother.

I’m still pro-choice. Aborting my baby was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made. If I could go back in time, I’d make the same decision.

My heart aches for my first one. I often wonder what their heartbeat would have sounded like. What they would have become had they got the chance to grow up. I keep my mind on my Meggie and Adam Boy though. I know that they were my ultimate destiny. I was meant to be their mother, and that’s just fine with me.

My True Garden by Lily Miller

As I was sorting through my FB news feed yesterday, I came across this beautiful poem by Lily Miller. She is the bright young child of my friend Trista. I commented that her daughter is a writer. Even at the tender age of ten years old. I asked the proud momma if I could post this on my blog. As you can see, she obliged. I have read the verse repeatedly. I find such feeling in the simplicity of the words. How blessed Trista must feel having a child feel this way about her. Then be able to convey those feelings. I am in awe. I know that the proud momma is too. Lily has built a great memory for her mother. I hope that the lovely young writer keeps writing. She most definitely has the talent for it.

Now to finish my coffee and write another story. Happy Saturday my dear friends.

Sweet Child O’ Mine, A Meeting with an Old Friend

She was drunk. She had hoped it would help her sleep. She had hoped it would help her to be able to finally climb into the bed that she had shared with her husband of over 20 years with. She was so tired. So fucking tired. Her husband had been convicted of hurting a child. Her youngest son had run off in response, while her oldest stayed by her side. She’d been barely holding it together for too long. Living in a little cocoon. But at that moment of trying to get into bed, she finally broke down. Finally, she laid on the floor and wailed. Her oldest son, her child, her baby, had to see her in her weakest state. Drunk, and sobbing uncontrollably because she couldn’t get into the bed she had shared with a man who was now in jail, as he would be for years to come. She begged her son to call her mother. He did, while taking care of her as well. He waited for his grandma to get there and put his mother to bed, so she could get some rest after living a nightmare that actually came true.

She walks into the bar and I see her as she once was, when we were just teens. Striding towards me, she is statuesque, blonde, violet blue eyes, and wearing a huge smile. As she zips to the table, so many men turn their heads to look at her. Some of them appear to get whiplash as a result. She’s a ravishing beauty after all that she’s been through. We hug for what seems like forever. We haven’t seen each other in 26 years, but you’d never know it, by the sounds of our laughter and the constant exchanges of “I love you.” I think to myself, “Oh my God how did I ever let this light out of my life?” We were best friends at one time. But life pulls us in different directions. Even though we lived just a few towns away from each other, our lives were busy. She was married, and so was I. We’d each had two children. We were part of our community, and our kids kept us plenty busy.

I’ve already ordered her a Bud Light. I’m sipping white zinfandel and water, because I have to drive home after our meeting. We sit down and start talking. She goes first because she has a story to tell. One that is difficult to hold in. I let her have the floor. I let her go, and let go she does.

But this story is not about her ex-husband. This story is not about her sons. This story is about her. A beautiful woman, that was my best friend during our teenage years. She and I fell away as high school friends often do. We find lovers that we marry and plan on staying with for the rest of our lives. We have children that mean everything to us, that make us better somehow. That we in turn make better by raising them up right. We become involved in the places that we live, in our communities, in our children’s activities, in our lives. It becomes our lives and nothing else matters. But then the unthinkable happens: your husband is accused of taking advantage of a young woman.

She told me that she knew that the light had switched in his brain somehow. They’d been married for 20 years and he started becoming abusive – mentally at first, and then physically. But she had been living with the mental abuse, or as she called it, “passive-aggressiveness” for so long she knew how to diffuse it. For some reason though, this time she no longer could. He started hitting her. Why after so long? She has no idea. But he did hit her. He made her feel small, like she was inadequate. He turned into a stranger. Someone she didn’t even know. She stayed though, for her kids, for the idea that they were “pillars” of the community. They took good care of their kids and the kids of their friends.

When her husband eventually went to prison, she hid herself away. Her youngest son started his senior year of high school shortly thereafter. He told her that he was dealing with some aggression at a home football game. That was what brought her out of her funk. She said to her self, “no one is going to make my child pay for the sins of my husband.” So the next football game, she went. She dealt with the animosity, so that her son didn’t have to. She is one tough momma bear and she loves her boy immensely. While she was there she saw a good friend of the family who, taking her hand said, “If you need anything, anything at all, call me.” She looked at him and knew that he meant every word he said.

She did eventually call him, and they became inseparable. He brought her back to life. He helped her figure out her way, helped her figure out how to continue to take care of her boys, even though she was damaged. He helped her to realize that the man she had married all those years ago was no long the same man. He helped her figure out that the men that were contacting her with offers of help, were only wanting to take advantage of her. To fuck her, own her, hurt her even more, and then disregard her like yesterday’s trash. If she didn’t have this wonderful, flawed man in his own right by her side during this time, who knows what mistakes she might have made.

She finalized her divorce as quickly as possible. She lived in utter poverty for two years. Sometimes, without even electricity, warm water, heat, or food. In short, all the damn things that we normally take for granted. She had nothing. Every time she went to an interview, they would uncover her history and the job offer would disappear. She would think to her self, “They have no reason to judge me. I am NOT the sins of my husband. I am ME!”

Taking a break, we both look at the crucifixes around our necks. As our conversations have progressed, we keep touching them throughout. This recognition turns our conversation towards the topic of faith, and therapy, but mostly faith. We realize as we hold hands across the table and cry, that our faith is what’s gets us through. I told her I haven’t taken my crucifix off for 14 years. When I had to have an MRI recently, it killed me to remove it for even that hour. She told me that her original crucifix broke, and she found herself lost without it. She then acquired the one that she wears now, and she finds herself touching it daily. It’s her center, as it is mine. She says that without her boyfriend, her faith and her therapist, she would have never made it through this part of her life.

She’s grown. She’s changed. Yet she’s still the wonderful and fun girl she always was. With a twinge of jealousy, she looks at me and says, “You are so lucky. You get to grow old with the man that loves you. My ex-husband stole that from me.” She does tell me though that she has been redeemed with her new love. The man who simply took her hand at a football game, and said if you ever need me, call. God, she is so glad that she did.

I think she’ll make it, I do. I think she has found her happiness. She’s found it in her children and in this new man that accepts her for what she is – good woman, with a tough past. But then again, who doesn’t have a tough past? Who doesn’t have a broken road? Isn’t it astonishing when that broken road leads us to the right one?

As I leave her, we hug some more. We once again exchange our “I love you’s.” We promise to not leave 26 years between us again. And we haven’t. We talk almost daily. She is of my heart and one of the strongest women I know. I love her now and forever. What her husband did, doesn’t define her, or her grown up babies. I admire her strength and the ferocity of her love. She is a good woman, a strong woman. And she always will be.

***Edited by t from Read him. The man rocks my world, and makes my pretty words more beautiful with his touch. This may be my last post for awhile. I promise to come back. Just not sure when. Take care my dear readers and followers.***

There She Stood, A Vision in White

“No one is as beautiful as a daughter talking about the man she’s going to marry.”

Author: American, Somerset, Pennsylvania (Newspaper)

I corseted Meggie into her wedding dress a couple of days ago. We laughed so hard during the process. It seemed to take forever. We began lacing it upside down.

I screamed, “FUCK!”

Meg laughed and we pulled the silk ribbon out and started over. I almost had to put my foot in her back to draw it tight enough to keep her boobs in the dress. After it was tied, she turned around. I lost my breath. There she stood, my beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed daughter in her wedding dress.  She looked exquisite. I think my heart skipped a beat or two.

She smiled when she looked at me, and said, “Mom, it’s okay, don’t cry.”

How could I not? Here was a beautiful woman standing in front of me. I bore this child 22 years ago. And she’s wearing her wedding dress! She’s going to get married in less than three months to the love of her life.

Meggie had on not one stitch of make up, no shoes, and her hair was straight. But to me she was the most beautiful that I had ever seen her. Her smile alone cinched my awe of her.

When she started flitting around looking for the full length mirror, she reminded me so much of myself at her age. I had to step back, and take in the sight of her. She was wandering all over the bedroom trying to get her boobs to stay put, all the while talking too damn loud about the fact that her boobs were all over the place.

I asked, “May I take your picture?

She said, “Of course, but no posting it!”

I told her, “No way would I do that! I share a lot, but your wedding dress is sacred.”

She stood in front of me, then turned on a slight angle. She looked up and smiled at me. Perfectly content.  I took the picture, looked at the result and sighed. My baby girl is getting married, and I couldn’t be happier and more scared for her. What will the future bring? There’s no way of knowing until we’re in it. I pray that it’s good for Chris and her. I really do.

Going Home

Home should be an oratorio of the memory, singing to all our after life melodies and harmonies of old remembered joy.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

She and Baby Girl sit side by side on the plane. Baby by the window, Momma in the aisle seat. She looks out the window while holding her young one. Baby Girl is sleeping and cuddled in close. She looks at her baby. She’s seven, but she acts like she’s 20. She’s beautiful, like her Daddy. Brown hair, hazel eyes, her hair is long with curly ringlets. Her baby is seven, but looking at her still takes her breath away. Why is that? Why do Mommas feel that way about their children? She turns her attention out the plane window. She gazes at the beautiful clouds; she daydreams of home. Remembers what it was like when she was young. She looks down at her young one, and wants for her what she once had. The fun and sad experiences. Playing with neighborhood children and growing up right.

She closes her eyes. Sees home in her mind. What it once was, when she was young. Green everywhere. Trees. A garden lane leading to an enormous wrap around porch. The house is more like a plantation home. It should have been built in the South, in all of it’s Antebellum splendor. It’s not just a house. It’s a home. She’s still daydreaming and holding her young one close, as she feels the plane begin it’s descent. She knows that they’ll be home soon. The taxi will drive up that tree lined garden lane. She’ll see Momma and Daddy standing on the porch of a house that should have been built in the South. They’ll run to each other, hug, laugh and cry tears of joy. She’ll look at her young daughter hugging her grandma and grandpa. She’ll know that after searching for so long, that she and Baby Girl are finally, finally home.

Thanks to Meredie for this Sparkly Reminder!

Been having a rough couple of days. There’s been tears and sadness. Been trying to learn how to swim. Been trying to be happy and not anxious. Then I got this from my sweet friend, Meredie. She reminded me that I’m shiny. That I need to stay that way. For if I shine, then those around me do too. So today, even with a broken heart, and worries on my mind I will sparkle. I will shine. I will gleam.

I’ll write more later. Got a funny post about the sleeping situation with the Wonder Schnauzers. Have a wonderful, sparkly, happy day. And if you can’t, then do your best to fake it. Your smile may be the smile that lights up the darkness in someone else. Cheers!