My name is Juli and I am the mother of four children. No bid deal, right? There are plenty of mother’s of four out there who don’t take the time to right it down. But I’m a special snowflake today so I get to write a blog on how I’m the mother of four.
Why? Because for over 33 years, I’ve been conditioned to not talk about my oldest daughter. See, I was a…wait for it…a teenage mom (long before it was a cool TV show on MTv.) The worst of the worst. There’s like, me and then murderers. At least that was the perception in Pastor John’s house. It didn’t matter that my brother was a child molester, other people can’t see that and as long as we just put a big smile on our faces and pretend everything is fine, we be good. But I was a teenage mom and that was bad. Bad enough that my dad felt he had to tender his resignation and then tell me repeatedly that my parents were so very thankful to the good people of Church of the Master for forgiving me for being so bad and allowing my dad to keep his job. Thanks so much Christians for forgiving me. Hopefully you’d forgive my brother for being a child molestor too…had you known.
It seemed like a big load for a 15 year old but hey, I can take it. I stopped being a kid long ago and I stepped up to the responsibility of carrying a little one. But in reality, I was in over my head. Treading water. Barely making it along with whatever glib meme type saying we can add to the mix to explain that I was in deep shit.
My ‘Abortion Clinic Protesting’ parents quickly said I would get an abortion. Ummm, no. That’s off the table. (And I was the Pro-choice one of the family.) I choose. My choice. I think my mother’s direct words were, “Why do you have to make everything so hard?” Those words stayed with me for a long, long time. Honestly? I don’t know. I don’t know why I make things so hard. I don’t mean to. I don’t mean to be me and not tow the line. I used to wish I knew how. But I don’t. So I’m me and said I’ll have the baby and place ‘it’ for adoption.
But I couldn’t do that at home so I was whisked away to a home for other offenders like me and, after the baby was born and adopted away, I magically reappeared into my daily life as if I’d never been away. OH! Also, I was not allowed to tell anyone or talk about it. To be safe ya know. Imagine my surprise; however; when I brought my baby girl home for a weekend visit before the adoption went through and there were a string of visitors to meet her. Because we weren’t allowed to talk about it. Which, I later learned, meant me but no one else. So I had to share precious moments with others. Others got to hold my baby girl as I was ticking off the seconds where I would never hold her again.
Those were dark days. The darkest actually. And lonely. So very lonely. I ache for 16 year old me. Who had to go through so much so alone. I want to give her a hug and tell her that had I the ability, I would have had her back. But I don’t. So I can’t.
After the adoption was final and I said my final goodbye, I was plopped back into High School life and was told to move on. Don’t talk about it. Just move on. Jesus, we could have our own Lifetime Movie Network movie on how fucked up and dysfunctional our home was. But actually, no thanks. Living through it once has been quite enough thank you very much. About a month afterwards, my mom and I were at Denny’s or somewhere gross like that when she told me that as much as she could appreciate that I was hurting, she was hurting too and resented the fact that I was only thinking about my pain. I didn’t know where to go with that. Still don’t actually. That level of crazy is out of my wheelhouse. Thank goodness.
So I grew up, continued to make life hard on myself (I guess, that’s what my parents would say.) While I didn’t run a fortune 500 company or anything like that, I have had some very nice stints at success in various levels of professional gigs that I’m quite proud of. I went on to have three more beautiful children that I’m so incredibly proud of and a very clean divorce that, believe it or not, am honestly proud of how we handled that one too. My ex and I have co-parented better than anyone I know and I am very happy for him as he has found love again to a wonderful, kick ass lady.
I have two very fluffy dogs that allow me to vacuum each day that surround me in safety and muddy floors and holes in the backyard worthy of childhood attempts to dig to China. And, of course, I have my husband. He is the absolute best. It is a shame my family doesn’t know him and know how wonderful he is. Quite honestly, it’s a shame HIS family doesn’t know how wonderful he is but that topic would be a whole ‘nother blog post of people who don’t appreciate how awesome my husband is and then I would get very elevated and cuss even more than I already do.
Basically, in other words, life’s good. Very good. I stopped looking for fulfillment from the Peterson’s long ago and have learned some tough lessons that even though I do share DNA with others, we do not share ideals on how to go about life and my distance from them is necessary to continue enjoying the life I lead. Sorry not sorry. If you love drama and inserting yourself into other people’s shit, I will ensure you have nothing to do with me.
**SIDEBAR: In 2002 I was reunited with most of my birth family. It was highly emotional and absolutely exhausting. It probably took me over a year to recover from two years worth of reunions and I swore that if I were going through something like that again, I’d do it differently. More balanced. More “one day at a time”, less “emotional roller coaster.” Slow and steady wins this race and I wanted future reunions to be more lasting. I believed setting the tone from the get go would be helpful. In theory. Who knew if we would ever find our older sister and while a day didn’t go by where I didn’t think of my fourth child (first actually, heh) and was always open to a reunion, my hope was that she lived a happy and fulfilled life and thought of me with kindness.**
Then April happened.
I received a text one Sunday afternoon that said, “Hi Juli, this is Becky. Your sister.” Uhhhhhh, what? Our long lost sister? That Becky? Yup! I called right back and instantly was given peace knowing she was okay. And she is. She’s strong, so much stronger than she thinks she is. And one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. She has an amazing family and I am so thankful that it worked out for me to run down to East Texas and get to know her face to face even a little bit before a busy summer travel schedule.
It seems my birth brother, whom I haven’t talked to in over 10 years (truth be told, I just don’t like him. He likes drama and jacking people up and I just don’t need any more of that in my life) did a DNA search through Ancestry.com and found Becky. Now, they had been talking for a couple of weeks already and she had even made contact with my adopted brother and his wife. It seems they had even made plans to get together for Christmas next year. All before I even knew she was found.
Okay. Weird. But whatev. Jerry’s wife, Kathy, is notorious for inserting herself in other’s business so I wasn’t surprised she’d already been talking to my sister before I even knew she was there. Standard operating procedure ’round these parts.
On Tuesday of that same week, my brother Jerry called me. Now, he doesn’t call often which is fine. Whenever I’m in the cities, I’ll holla if I have time for a meet up and we’ll share a meal if we can. Just last summer we all had breakfast after a Games and it was enjoyable. It’s all very comfortable and while I don’t feel obligated to talk to him often, it’s always comfortable when I do. Also, he and my birth brother (Jim) have struck up a close relationship and get together fishing each year down in Texas. I always thought that was kind of cool. And proof to my saying that we all have the ability to have different relationships with the same people. Some connections come where others don’t. No biggie. Part of life.
Jerry called and I assumed it was because of my reunion with Becky. But it wasn’t. After about 30 minutes of small talk, he finally told me that my brother Jim had made contact with my daughter Kristina and was forming a relationship with her. Uhhhhhhh, what?
Yes. And though Jerry had known for a few weeks now that Jim had found her and sought her out, Jerry was finally uncomfortable enough with the fact that this was all happening without me even knowing she had been found to get around to telling me about it.
So a brother that I have no connection to other than shared DNA; have not had a conversation with in over 10 years and really knows nothing about me, is now forming a relationship with my daughter.
What the everlasting fuck?!
The last month has been filled with ups and downs. My FOURTH child is strong and beautiful. She has a wonderful husband and a lovely daughter and I’m incredibly proud of all of them. I am equally as proud of Zac, Zandra, and Oscar for taking her in as one of their own and opening themselves up to her. But it’s been tough.
For one, it has brought back to the surface a lot of pain. Dark days revisited. Standing up for what I believed in. Standing alone. Saying goodbye. Dark days. I’ve been conditioned for over 30 years to not talk about this. Keep it closed. But then I remember I’m 50 and fuck that, I’ll talk all I want about it (which actually I don’t very much. It’s a lot to take and I don’t always form my words well which makes me feel bad and goddamn if I am just tired of feeling bad about shit.)
For another, I am doing my best to be conscientious of everyone else’s feelings and how they’re doing with all of this. It’s exhausting. It’s fucking exhausting. I know I am not being everything everyone needs me to be and it hurts. And then there are the distractions. Other people who want to be a part of this reunion who have nothing to do with my life or the lives of my children. Stupid people with stupid distractions who have their own agenda and barrel through while trampling all over any pain or time we need to just simply get to know each other.
Selfish people. I call them pieces of shit but I can be harsh, so I’ll just say selfish people. Those who post all over the Facebook how excited they are that Kristina is found but don’t reach out to me or my other children. Those who invite Kristina to family parties knowing that the rest of us are not invited. (That started over 10 years ago. I would get an e-mail saying Oscar is invited to a family function but no one else from the house can come. Uhhhhh, no bitch, that’s not how this works.)
I have asked repeatedly for space and time. Let us get to know each other. Form relationships. Heal hurts. But that doesn’t fit their agenda so they keep pushing and while I am trying to be respectful of my daughter’s newly formed relationships with them, it fucking infuriates me.
Absolutely infuriates me. It’s a distraction we don’t need. This all takes time. Let things settle and allow us to just breath and get to know each other. Balance. This may not happen in their time, but I don’t care. It needs to happen in ours. Good lord, let us be.
I am a mother of four children. I get to say that now. My oldest daughter is Kristina and she is just as brilliant and beautiful as her siblings. Pain is there, my hope is that it can be lessened in years to come as we get to know each other. But I know this, as long as others want to cause drama and prevent us from getting to deal with each other fairly and reasonably, shit gets muddy. Convoluted.
Time will tell how well we do. I hope for our sake that we are successful. We’ve taken a hit the last 24 hours due to others’ interference. And I can’t stab the stupid people because I don’t have time to go to jail. Fok!
You are either on my side, by my side or in my fucking way.