In other words, twenty-five years in the past.
I flop back and forth between blaming myself for the decisions I made, perhaps these decisions are the cause of all of this turmoil, and knowing that God had a plan and it was all going to work out the same in the end.
If it’s the latter I take comfort. If so, God has always known what was coming, He stood with us through it all, and still does. He knows the outcome and is leading us through.
Twenty-five years ago I found out I was pregnant. I wasn’t trying and I certainly wasn’t ready. But I was pregnant. At the time I was on a birth control pill, I continued to have my monthly cycle, I was just having fun, living life. One morning I woke up and had the shock of a life time. My belly had “popped” overnight. I was visibly pregnant, over night. It happened while I slept.
I immediately called my OB/GYN and booked an emergency appointment. If I wasn’t pregnant I had a huge tumor. Something was going on.
I left the Doctor’s office in a daze, I was more than 5 months pregnant. I was going to be a mom in a few short months. I was in shock. So was the baby’s father.
He and I had been together for more than 3 years and we loved each other, but neither of us were ready to be parents. We had no other option but to get ready-quickly.
One of us adapted much better than the other.
Immediately I began taking care of myself, watching what I ate, taking pre-natal vitamins. The works. I worried about the things that I had done while the baby was developing for those 5 months, although I hadn’t known I was pregnant could I have unintentionally caused issues with the baby’s development?
I painted the baby’s room, nested and worried.
At first Levi’s (our unborn son) father was fine, he seemed to adapt. But over the next couple weeks and months he began to fall apart. He was stressed, worried, angry, argumentative. He stopped coming home. He lied, and not very convincingly. I loved him, and I knew that he loved us, but he was having trouble with the situation.
He moved out. We separated.
I stayed in our home with our dog Cassidy, we spent a lot of time working on the nursery and cuddling. She was a great dog and great company.
Over the next few months we saw each other, trying to find our way back, but it was never quite the same.
My mother traveled an hour each week joining me in Lamaze classes, Levi’s dad decided not to attend. My mother planned to be with me when the baby was born and thankfully Levi’s father joined us too.
When he saw Levi for the first time, he fell in love. Who wouldn’t? An 8 pound 2 oz. bouncing baby boy, who happened to look a lot like his father.
His dad immediately went shopping, purchasing and autographing a football for his son, a dozen roses for me, along with a bunch of promises.
He was going to do better, try harder, life was going to work, for the three of us. Four counting our dog, Cassidy.
Levi’s dad never moved back in with us,
But he did better. We were working our way back to each other. Dating.
One night we were out on a date when he stood in the center of the club announcing to the crowd, “This gorgeous woman is the woman I love and the woman that I’m going to spend the rest of my life with!” The crowd cheered. I cried. It’s still one of my treasured memories.
On our third anniversary he came to see Levi and I, he had to work that night, once again we argued about finances and responsibility. He couldn’t handle it anymore. I had no idea that he was feeling so much pressure, stress, depression and anxiety. He died that day.
After his death…
I found out that he had been seeking treatment for mental issues. Genetic issues that ran in his family’s history. He was gone. I was bereft and left feeling incredibly guilty. Devastated.
Shortly after the funeral Levi, Cassidy and I went to stay with my parents, to heal. Cassidy was hit by a car and she died. In just a week our family of 4 was now a family of 2.
How do you go on?
Levi was just 7 months old when this all occurred, I’m not sure if he was affected, I’m not sure if deep down he was damaged by the trauma. (We were there with his father when he chose to end his life.) Was he too young to remember? Too young to long for and miss his father and his dog? Too young to remember my screams, emergency vehicles, and the loss?
Just a few weeks later Levi contracted Rotavirus, an extremely bad case, we could have lost him. He ended up spending a week in the hospital, how heartbreaking to see your child full of needles and tubes, I couldn’t even hold him, he was so distressed, it was a horrible time.
After all of this,
I was never quite the same. I loved my son, but I was afraid to love him too deeply. In such a short time we had lost so much. I was a good mom, but not the greatest. I had lots of help, family and friends. They got us through.
Levi, my beloved son, is the only reason I am here today, without him I am not sure I would have been able to go on. He was my lifeline. He still is.
As he grew Levi was really close to my family and his father’s. There was lots of love. His father’s best friend spent as much time with us as he could and friends became family. Levi played with their children, spending the night, growing, laughing, loving.
It was the two of us, we were very close, we spent a lot of time together. I didn’t really date, for years, and if I did I rarely brought anyone to meet him. I didn’t want him to lose anyone else.
I had to rely on babysitters to watch Levi while I worked. He became close, bonding to the sitters and their families, sometimes spending years in their care. Along the way we had some great care-givers but there were a few that crossed the lines, sometimes creating mentally. physical or emotional stress for us, especially for Levi.
Here are a few examples:
- One sitter told him, at 3 years of age, that his father killed himself. This is a horrid piece of information to carry around for your entire life. From this day on Levi was aware that his father could not bare the responsibility of being a father, that he chose to remove himself from the situation. Imagine having this in your mind as a child?He was really close to this family, I had no choice but to find a new arrangement.
- I became aware, via an anonymous phone call, another sitter was putting my son to bed at 6 pm, instead of 8 pm, locking him in so I wouldn’t find out she allowed her abusive husband to move back into the home. Levi was locked in the bedroom alone while her children, who were the same age, hung out with the family.
- While changing his diaper I found a humongous black/purple bruise in the shape of a spoon that wrapped around his hip and bottom, he was only 2 years old. New sitter.
As a single mother I had to work, I needed someone to watch him, I have empathy for all parents who have to trust their children to the care of others. All of these situations broke my heart and Levi lost connection with people he cared for.
Levi did all the normal kid things, daycare, preschool, t-ball, soccer, karate. We watched a lot of movies, went out to eat with friends, hosted cookouts and went to visit family.
When it came time for him to go to Kindergarten I chose an all day school for him, the school bussed him to an after school program, it all seemed to be coming together.
Levi was 5 years old when I met Bruce.
Bruce was a Godsend, I just know it. We spent all our time together, the three of us. When I was at work Bruce stayed with Levi. When we began dating I warned him that I never intended to marry again or have more children. Bruce stayed, he took care of us. We married less than 2 years later.
I was really fearful of Levi becoming resentful of Bruce. To feel like he was being usurped. Bruce was very conscious of making sure Levi felt loved and cared for. We even took Levi on our honeymoon, making it a family-moon and we all had a great time.
In the second grade there was an issue at school, I reported it to the Principal, the next thing I knew Levi was being bullied by his teacher-who then informed the entire class that I had a problem with the way certain things were being done. This led to Levi being bullied by his class, as well as the teacher. We went and talked with the Principal and he seemed to not understand why I was troubled, why I had an issue in the first place. Bruce and I decided it was best to pull him out of this school and move him to one closer to our home.
A few years later, at his new school, Levi’s teacher told the entire class some of our personal information. Which once again led to him being bullied. Badly. He used to run home from the bus stop, he was being chased by kids who were threatening to beat him up. He lived in fear, at home and at school.
Bruce and I contacted a lawyer, we had a case, we could sue the school system for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The money was not our goal, we were angry and didn’t want any other children to be treated the way Levi had been-by a teacher, and a school system. But if we continued the lawsuit our son would have been labeled. For his benefit we decided to drop it and pull him out of the school.
He had to start all over again.
Was starting over, again and again, damaging him and his ability to form relationships, friendships? I wish I knew the answers, where we went wrong. Did our decisions hurt him?
Are there answers, or is this the path we were meant to walk?
Were we persevering or was I totally screwing things up? Did my decisions cause the trauma and make his mental and emotional situation worse?
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