This was all originally written around January, 2014.
Mr. Sexy is the cliche that married for the wrong reasons at the ripe age of 19. The red flags that only he ignored could no longer be avoided a few months into that abusive relationship. A year went by and this couple became pregnant. She wanted an abortion but he fought like for his daughter.
And he won.
(I will not be referring to Mr. Sexy as B.)
This was a loveless marriage full of anger and selfishness which resulted in many arguments – two of which landed B in the hospital. Neither wife nor husband knew how to love each other and neither were able to effectively reach out for help. In a last ditch effort to provide for his family, B joined the Navy. It was during this time that he was able to step away from his volatile marriage and find some perspective. Painfully and slowly he came to the conclusion that divorce was his best and only option.
(From this point on I will refer to Marie’s biological mother as V.)
B entered into the Naval Officer Candidate Program at the University of Idaho in order to provide for Marie. At this point V wanted zero contact with either of them. So, Marie, who was five years old
and had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth, went with her dad into an empty u-haul truck a few states away. (Although V was not interested in either relationship she refused to allow B to pack any of Marie’s belongings.) Father and daughter landed in a simple, non-furnished apartment where he worked full time, went to school full time, participated in the Officer-Candidate Program full-time, home schooled his kindergartener and slept a handful of hours per week.
B pushed Marie to be at her best all the time. She wore weights around her ankles to aid in her muscle development and when given a choice between elevator or stairs, they took stairs. Given the choice between stairs and a hill, they took the hill. Another major achievement was that Marie stopped wetting her bed every night. These two were each other’s worlds.
About 10 months later V decided she wanted to be a mother again so she abandoned her apartment and set off for B and Marie with no thoughts as to her living situation. B felt had had an obligation to provide for V since she was still his wife. So he invited V to stay with them. It only took a few hours of V’s visit for things to once again turn volatile. In order to protect his child’s innocence and to put a happy face on everything, B essentially moved into his jeep and visited his apartment in the mornings and evenings to care for Marie. During this time Marie began wetting her bed again. (This did not overcome this obstacle until she was almost 13 years old.)
This is a good point to pause and discuss V a little more. She is delusional, a liar and a master manipulator (personal opinion of course although it matches professional opinion.) She accumulated a massive amount of debt under their name because she did a lot of shopping but not enough paying. Some bills – such as rent – simply went unpaid until she got herself evicted – multiple times. These debts follow Mr. Sexy to this day.
Earlier I mentioned there was abuse in their marriage. V, who had an active substance abuse problem, used her words as daggers every chance she got. Every name under the sun was thrown toward her husband. She knew which words, which phrases, which comments would really get underneath his skin. However words could only take her so far. She used things to hurt him as well. Right in front of his eyes she destroyed precious gifts that held sentimental significance for him. If she saw that valued something she managed to destroy it. But even that wasn’t enough. She ultimately resorted to physical weapons. A knife and her fists.
Marie was one month old when B drove himself to the emergency room for the first time.
It was another fiery argument that most likely revolved around B’s multiple jobs not providing enough income. B found himself engulfed in flames of anger, wondering what he was going to do next now that he had V pinned against the wall, screaming insults in B’s face. Instead of acting on those overpowering emotions B put V in their bedroom and locked the door. This gave them both time to calm down. V’s screams eventually subsided while B’s pulse normalized and breathing became easier. He opened their bedroom door and without a word V walked past him into the kitchen. He followed, wondering what was to be said next. V’s back was turned so he didn’t notice the steak knife she pulled out of their knife block. As he slowly walked up behind her she whirled around and stabbed him in the chest.
B wears that scar today. It barely missed his heart.
The police did get involved once that little family arrived at the hospital. One of the reports describes Marie,, at one month old, crying uncontrollably while V shook her in an attempt to get Marie to calm down. B did not want to press charges when asked. As V’s husband he felt his responsibility was to protect her instead of punish her. However this kind of abuse was out of his hands and the state prepared to press charges of their own. However the family moved out of state and out of reach so charges were dropped. B was not running away. Things just happened to work out that way.
Three years later B was once again sitting in the emergency room but this time he sat alone with a broken nose.
B was not completely innocent in all of this chaos not was he a complete pushover. He had physical power over her which he at times desired to use. But this scared him to the core of who he was. He had his own vices on dealing with the strife. e drank. He smoked. He ran. He punched through walls and shattered a car window. He struggled to keep control of himself on numerous occasions. The man he was designed to be fought constantly against the small man he actually was.
So after he had invited V back into their lives he found himself living in his jeep in an effort to avoid episodes mirroring the previous years. His jeep wasn’t the warmest home for the winter season. He had hit bottom. He was so far down I’m sure he couldn’t see even the possibility of hope.
However many of us know there is always hope. There is always help. B made a friend in class who offered him a place to stay while he got things figured out. V eventually got an apartment of her own and they fought through a long divorce and custody case.
Okay. Need a break? I totally understand. Get a fresh cup of coffee or iced tea. But make sure you come back to finish the story.
From this point on I will be referring to B as Mr. Sexy.
I met Marie for the first time when she was seven. I can remember that meeting clearly. It’s a sweet little story that I will share in the blog in entries to come.
I became an integral part of her life about a year later when Mr. Sexy and I began dating. During our dating and engagement period I witnessed a plethora of heartbreak. When Mr. Sexy picked up Marie from V’s house, V would hide behind her door – if she showed herself at all. Sometimes she peeked at us through the blinds – we don’t know why.
V often dressed Marie in ripped clothing that was two sizes too small and not weather appropriate (you know, flip flops and a summer dress in 50 degree weather). When V was scheduled to pick up Marie we often had back up plans because half the time V didn’t show up or was hours late. In fact V was supposed to pick up Marie on October 31st one year and never showed. Not even a phone call. So we scrambled to find any costume that would fit Marie. Ultimately we were all happy to be together as it was our first Halloween as a family.
There was another incident when V pulled Marie out of school unexpectedly. Mr. Sexy worried that V was taking Marie out of state based on V’s previous comments. In essence, he was worried about kidnapping. Cops were called and they shared Mr. Sexy’s suspicions based on the moving boxes in the car and an interesting conversation.
In January, 2011, Mr. Sexy and V finished another ten month custody battle in court. Mr. Sexy wanted a more stable environment for Marie but V had no intentions of settling quietly. So, in the middle of a very long day at trial, it became clear that the judge was well on his way to ordering judgement in favor of Mr. Sexy. V finally settled and got a better deal than what the judge would have ruled.
About three weeks later V called to let us know she was headed out of state for two weeks to see her very sick father. That was the last conversation Mr. Sexy and V had. V called about a week later and left a voicemail saying she was going to call again so Marie could, essentially, say goodbye to a grandfather she had never known. That second phone call never came. Two weeks went by without a word. To months went by. Quite simply, V disappeared.
This left Mr. Sexy, a full-time college student, as a single dad with full parenting responsibilities once again. In turn this left me to become Marie’s live-in parent. I felt ready to become her step-mother but I didn’t have any huge aspirations to become her mother – at least not so quickly and suddenly. I knew that V was a bad mom and Mr. Sexy and I strongly suspected abuse – physical and emotional. So I vowed to learn how to connect to Marie as best I could. I vowed to be the best step-mom a girl could ask for. It was a doable goal for me.
However things had to change when V disappeared. I didn’t know what to do. All of a sudden I was a full-time parent to a nine-year old girl with a disability I understood very little about. I had a confidant who was able to guide me through a bit of this process. She helped me come to the conclusion that V left and may very well never come back. If I wanted to be Marie’s mouther, I could be. All I had to do was ask. So I did. I asked Marie if she wanted me to be her mommy. Over and over again I asked her and talked with her about it. Finally I accepted my new role and Marie began calling me Mommy. But much resentment had begun to grow. I can tell you exactly when the seeds were planted and which events watered them into the monsters they would eventually become. That story is for a different time, however.
Mr. Sexy and I were married in the midst of my many insecurities about me being a good mommy to Marie. V called and left us a voicemail in September, 2011, which was two months after our wedding. Then silence. We wondered if something terrible had happened to her. We did some checking and found that her landlord was auctioning off everything in her apartment because V quit paying rent and left with no notices and no way to be contacted. It was all very strange. We counted it as a blessing because of the hell she raised in our lives constantly.
After about a year V began calling sporadically. She asked to speak to Marie as if it was something that happened often. At that point, however, Marie seemed to have lost all memory of V. She went from having two mommies; one that went away and one that she lived with; to having one mommy. Me. This process was all Marie. We did not prod. We did not push. We let Marie come to her own emotional conclusions.
Then about a year ago V began calling more regularly and leaving voicemails much like her previous sporadic calls. She wanted to speak with Marie as if it happened all the time. We refused to put Marie in that position until V could prove – through the court system – that she was not going to be a flight risk. This stance caused V to once again raise hell in our lives. She called our local police department, asking them to check on Marie to see if she was okay. After a while that wasn’t good enough. She called the police demanding that they make Mr. Sexy and I allow a phone conversation to happen with Marie. Mr. Sexy and I were always compliant and the police quickly understood the chaos of the situation. At one point V was calling the police station every night with demands until the cops ordered her to stop harassing them.
Labor Day, 2013, V knocked on our front door unannounced. The fight came to our doorstep that day and we could no longer hide from it.
It has been about ten months now and we are still fighting.
Here is our current and most recent situation: V has said she is not able to have Marie for any overnight visitations. A few weeks alter she demanded full custody in a letter sent to both attorneys and the jduge. Does that sound absurd? Everyone else thinks so, too – including her own attorney. V finally agreed to a reintegration program through a counseling service. This is the best situation for Mare to be in. Marie has no idea that V is actually her biological mother – even after weeks of visitations. These visits lasted two months at which point the counseling service stopped them due to V’s behavior. Mr. Sexy and I have no details except that nothing negative happened during her visits with Marie in the room. However the issues the counselors faced with V were so severe that they refused to continue visitations until V goes through therapy and a psychological evaluation.
Sound harsh? Well, it’s a blessing. This outcome is the one we have been praying for. Ideally this process will force V to face her demons and the help she needs. Until that happens she will never have a normal relationship with anybody and her daughter will never be able to recognize V as her mother.
Mr. Sexy and I will admit that we have made many, many mistakes. We should have been filing paperwork with the courts at the first signs of V’s disappearance. Perhaps we should have taken action when she began calling sporadically.
Or maybe we did everything just right. There are no perfect or right answers for these things. All we can do is make the best decisions for Marie to protect her.