I have struggled to write this post. Starting, stopping, deleting, and walking away. I have words I want to say but I just don’t know how to say them or where to start. With Rebecca I have never known where to start. She is my own messy story and for those who don’t know how the story goes, well, they ask a lot of questions and I don’t always want the questions or the judgement. I just don’t have anything left in me for the judgment.
I want to write though because I find myself, once again, going through something in my life at a time when no one else is. I was very young when I started raising Rebecca. None of my friends had a baby yet. I married when my friends didn’t, divorced and remarried when none of them did, went through infertility and was pregnant at a time when they all had grown kids. I was always going through a major milestone when they were at a different point in their lives and I have really struggled with that. It has left me struggling with who to lean on, who to turn to, talk to, and find common ground with. Perhaps some of that is for a different post though.
I have realized in the past year that as I struggle with a 14 year old, none of my friends have that issue. Their kids are all in the 5ish-10ish year old range for the most part. In a way, an easy age. They forget the sleepless nights of teething, the need for an early bedtime and they don’t quite have the worry of a full blown teenager on their hands. They think they have time yet. Time to not worry about the sex talk, drugs, rebellion and the other things that will haunt our dreams as our kids start turning into mini adults. It just so happens my household holds one extreme to the next. A teething baby and a 14 year old girl.
Last Memorial Day weekend Rebecca was with us. We sat down and we planned out her schedule for the Summer. When she would be with us and then with my ex. The other time spent with her biological Mom, who still does not retain guardianship over her. Yet, the person who does and has held that guardianship has lacked in the parenting department. That in itself is a long story but not part of this post either. We dropped her off with not a care in the world. I literally remember thinking to myself we might be okay. We might just make it with her. We might have just been doing this right the whole time. We might just get her to 18 and to her high school graduation. The next weekend we ran into her and my ex at the town carnival. We all chatted and she cooed at Cora in the front pack. Big hugs all the way around as we walked to our car and she went to enjoy some rides with the only person she has known as a father.
If I knew right in that moment that that would be the last hug. That would be the last good moment. If I knew that life would never be the same for us…..well…I’m sure many people have moments like that ingrained in their head and wished they didn’t. Instead we walked away thinking everything was okay, normal and we would see her in two weeks. Only, we didn’t.
The excuses came over the summer. The flu. Wanting to hang out with friends. Just plain not showing up. She missed family vacations, trips and simple summer weekends. My ex received the same treatment. Her texting to us slowed. She started ignoring us. The person who carries guardianship over her (We shall call him Bruce) told us she was acting out. He didn’t want to push her. Then again he never pushed her for much because he has been too busy with his life. He has lacked in a lot of areas with her. Once again, a post for another time.
Some nights she would text my ex or I. Never a phone call though. Long conversations would start and we would just soak up what we could. Figure out what was going on in that head of hers. We knew she had slipped through our fingers and we were back to the beginning. We were back in a place of no control. For the first time since we went through court, when she was three years old, her room sat empty, collecting dust. A bag still packed in her closet for a trip that came and went that she never showed up for. Those emotions from 11 years ago were starting to boil up.
We eventually received a few updates from Bruce here and there. I knew he was hiding the truth from us. School had started She is now an eighth grade and they had to pull her out of her private Catholic school. She has been acting out, refusing to go to school, and is sneaking out of her bio mom’s house in the middle of the night. She is moved to an alternative school. She is going through therapists like toilet paper. She refuses to talk to anyone. Her bio Mom has never been any help (obviously why she doesn’t have guardianship) and is letting her run rampant. Bruce won’t move her back in his house because that would ruin his own life.
She missed family pictures. She missed the festival. She missed Cora turning one. She missed putting up the Christmas tree. She missed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Things she has always been there for.
The New Year started and I was driving home from the city with Cora sleeping soundly in the back seat. My cell phone rang. I just knew, looking at the caller ID, that I didn’t want to answer it. That life was going to change. We all know that feeling.
It was Bruce. The News- As an eighth grader and at 14 years old, Rebecca is pregnant. I pulled over before I drove off the road, tears welling in my eyes. How could this happen? How could he let this happen? It is his fault. But I scream none of it and I listen to him lie to me, give me pieces of information. I can tell that because we have been at this for years and I’m not stupid. He says she will give the baby up for adoption and move her to a school that has a high pregnancy rate so she won’t be the only pregnant girl. She has been dabbling in drugs. They want to hold her back in school again but they won’t. Oh and the father. The father is someone he has been telling her for a year, A YEAR, to stay away from. I know his tactics though. He told her in some passing conversation and never brought it up again. The father is her cousin. OH, but not a cousin by blood but by marriage. So apparently that makes it okay.
I hang up and drive through tears. The hysteria starting to boil up. Years of everything flashing through my brain. This is one of those top five things we really never wanted to hear. We talked with her about sex. She just watched both me and my ex’s wife have a baby. We did not make it out to be glamorous. She knew. Fuck, she knew.
I call my ex. A phone call I never wanted to make. I can’t breathe. I can’t answer. I can’t tell him. He runs through the list of the top five things we worry about and it comes out of his own mouth. He chokes back tears because he is at work. He tries to compose himself. The rug has been pulled out from under us. We are the only two in the world who understand this feeling right now. The hell we currently feel. The gut punch.
And in the days that followed, we realize Rebecca damn well did know. We find out this was her third “pregnancy scare” even though she was taking birth control. I don’t know what that means exactly. Who I have thought about, multiple times, since hearing this, is everyone I follow in the blog world and real world that can’t conceive. They have tried, they have battled, they have loss, they mourn and they try again. Yet a 14 year old girl with no care in the world of consequences, on birth control, can get knocked up. By her cousin. That isn’t technically a blood relative.
I drank a lot.
I cried a lot.
I yelled a lot.
For multiple reasons I did all of those things a lot.
Days later we find out she isn’t going to give the baby up for adoption. I think that was just something they told us to cushion the blow. In fact, she will keep it and the family is making it out to be great because that is how fucking white trash they are. In their trailer, living off the government, with no future. In the same cycle as her mother and grandmother. She is now a statistic. A statistic we worked so hard to make sure she wouldn’t become. She will have a reveal party on her 15th birthday. Isn’t that fucking precious.
I text her our support because that is what we do. Should do. She won’t talk to us.
We hear things that make my stomach turn.
Like how the father’s family will fight for custody because they don’t want the baby in the same house as Rebecca’s bio mom. The same people who didn’t back me years ago. The same people who haven’t spoken to me in years. Our court case will be pulled into it. Our names written on papers, probably subpoenaed. It makes me vomit.
I send out an email to close friends and family because I don’t know what else to say and I can’t repeat the words over and over to explain to each of them. Also, I’m suppose to meet one of them for dinner and can’t pull myself together for that.
Thousands of words are said. Heard.
A friend calls to tell me she is sorry to hear the news but isn’t it great that she, herself, has found out she too is “accidentally pregnant” and due a few weeks before Rebecca. Well, 33 versus 14 and pregnant. She wants sympathy because she isn’t married or living with the man. I hang up. I don’t care.
A week after hearing the news my Husband and I boarded a plane for Jamaica. If there was ever a time for a trip, it was in that moment because 2017 has not been kind to us so far.