Parenting in Fear
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The most important job that I have been given is parenthood. Fear has played a huge part in some of the decisions that I have made as a parent. I know what it’s like to watch my children suffer at the hands of another, directly and indirectly. I have never felt so powerless in my life as I do as a parent. Knowing that this world is set up systematically to ensure their failure has made me hypervigilant and it causes me to be in constant conflict with school officials, children services and everyone else who poses a threat to my children. It is not a task that I take lightly. I’ve made mistakes and I won’t ignore them.
Decisions that I have made are still impacting my children’s lives. Being responsible for another human being engulfs my every waking moment. All of the love that I have in my heart did not stop me from being foolish at times, selfish at times and just plain stupid sometimes. I brought children into a world full of hatred, pain and suffering, and I can’t protect them all of the time. Raising AJ was difficult for me and her.
I don’t know any mother who chose to be a single parent. I know I didn’t choose to raise a child without a father. I met the man of my dreams, we fell in love and we were going to live happily ever after. That was the story my seventeen-year-old self concocted. The truth was that I was in pain. I hated being at home. I felt lonely and alone. I craved love. My dad was miles away, and not even his love or wisdom comforted me during this time in my life.
I believed my boyfriend when he said that he couldn’t have kids, and it would be okay. I didn’t mind if I did get pregnant, this was the love of my life. Unfortunately, the news of a pregnancy was not in his top ten life goals and he let that be known. He was going to play in the NBA, like his cousin, and he did not want any part of this situation. I did not pursue him at that time, I just wanted my baby. I was young and dumb, but I knew that I couldn’t make anyone love me or their child. I learned that from experience. With Mikey, I knew in my heart that Mitch was not the one for me, but it was the closest thing to a family of my own that I had ever experienced.
I was getting older, and having a baby at twenty-eight should have been easier. I was in a different place in my life. I had a great career. I was financially stable and I was married. It should have been a cinch. The thought of raising a baby with my husband was special to me. I loved his daughter like she was my own and with her and AJ being so close in age, it seemed like the right place to be. Still, I wondered if Mitch and I would grow old together. He did the best that he could with the girls. He didn’t have the best example growing up and we both were winging it. With all of the cheating and the lying, a divorce was inevitable. I lost more than a husband, I lost a father for my three-year-old son, a step-dad for my daughter and I lost my step-daughter. If someone had told me that I would have another child after I had Mikey, I would have rebuked them. After Mitch and I divorced, I didn’t plan on having any more children. I knew I would eventually remarry, it was in my heart, but having another child wasn’t in my plans.
I am so glad God does not listen to my plans. My third child, Jackson, was quite the surprise. Who knew that the doctors were wrong when they said that I couldn’t have any more children. I explained that I had heard this before seven years prior and yet I was still unable to get the tubal that I requested. He made his appearance shortly after I had lost about one hundred pounds. My husband, Quan, was happy about raising Jackson with his new wife. I was not looking forward to the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum that plagued my first two pregnancies. The end result was a healthy baby boy and I couldn’t be happier with my little cuddle buddy. Jack was born when Mikey was seven years old and AJ was seventeen. I started all the way over.
I didn’t know that I needed my little boy, Jack, until he was here. Jack is eight years old now. Raising my son Jack, with my husband of ten years, Quan, is a totally different experience for me. I am privy to seeing the development of a child who loves and adores his father.
Blending our families wasn’t easy. I've had the privilege of meeting three of his four children, they are all adorable and sweet. His oldest lives here and she is a blessing. She’s beautiful and smart as ever. She is in college pursuing her dream career and I look forward to seeing the woman she becomes. She’s always been respectful and loving.
Mikey and Quan’s relationship didn’t develop the way I thought it would, but it’s not because Quan didn’t try. When he and I married, Mikey was four years old and in the beginning he accepted and respected Quan. AJ was in Connecticut, so she didn’t have an opinion one way or another. When Mikey was young, Quan would get up in the middle of the night and give him breathing treatments, his asthma would flare up sometimes and Quan would get to him before I would wake up. Quan went to visit him at school and ate lunch with him. He took him to doctor’s appointments and to get haircuts. He taught him how to ride his bike and how to handle bullies. He did everything I had hoped he would as a father to Mikey.
When Jack was born, Mikey was not having it and things changed drastically with him. He started wanting his “own dad” and when I couldn’t make that happen, things took a turn for the worse. Once he got older, he started to rebel and he made it known that he did not respect him as a father. Quan always introduced Mikey as his son, but Mikey corrected him and made it known that there was no relation between them. I pray that God will heal us all.
The circumstances surrounding my children are all different. I wish I had done things differently to make their lives easier now, but most of my life I have been barely hanging on. Hindsight is indeed 20/20. I pray daily that my kids make better decisions than I did. I know that GOD is the only One that can create life and I know that each child that grew in my womb was placed there and given life by the Creator and Architect of life itself. I hate to use the word regret, knowing that this may all work for His glory, so I won’t.
His Promise: Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from Him. - Psalms 127:3
My Promise: I promise to love my children, without placing an expectation on their personal journey and growth.
From the book: Picking Up the Pieces to 100 Broken Promises
Available at all major bookstores.
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