Last we left off, my hubby had gone to jail for a bit. Please don't judge me, I was not a part of him going to jail.
We had a trip planned to visit his parents Florida at the end of September, and had paid for the airfare already, with the help of his parents. So his cousin paid the difference to change the name and accompanied me to visit his folks in hi place. We flew 3 weeks after the tragedy of September 11, and let me tell you it was scary. However, we prevailed. It was a much needed vacation. We brought his son and had a great time. “B” celebrated her 3rd birthday at Disney World. I didn’t want to go home to the reality of my life. His parents were behind me in any decisions I made, they were always very supportive of me.
On the beach in Florida.
I brought “B” to see her daddy several times in several different prisons. Thank God for family and friends, as I have no clue what I would’ve done without either. I remember one day we were in line at Walgreens and she turned to a customer and said “my daddy’s in jail”. I was mortified. After that, the visits slowed down. I got a job the summer of 2002 and our own apartment that fall. “B” celebrated her 4th birthday at our new apartment. I was on Cloud 9, almost a new beginning for us. Except the fact that Daddy was still in prison.
“B”s questions about daddy wained, and I was glad. In 2004, I was laid off from my job. Yes, again. “B” had started kindergarten and I was receiving help from the county with daycare before school and after school, and electric bill payments. Corporate America is not what it used to be. First time EVER I had received help from the government. I am NOT one to sit on my ass all day and collect a check. No way. No how. But I had to do what I had to do to put food on the table. I received unemployment and cut back on a lot of monthly costs. I was out of a job for almost 10 months. I had to take the first thing that came to me. And that happened in late summer 2005. Finally, I fell into a job I liked and was qualified for. I think I weighed about 197 at that time. We rarely visited daddy anymore. In fact it had been over a year. I received regular “collect” phone calls from him that were stilted and full of love words from him but I never returned them. I received anniversary, valentine’s cards, etc. But never sent them. People told me all the time that I was better off without him and look at me now, without him. It was in the back of my mind. I knew what needed to be done. I didn’t love him anymore. And wasn’t sure I ever did. Still not sure of that one.
In the fall of 2005, tragedy struck my family. My brother, who was 14 years older than me, passed away from a stroke. He was only 52 years old. He had a troubled life on earth, mixed up with drugs. He suffered a stroke, and was brain dead. My family made the decision that we didn't want to make. We had to take him off life support. I was the one who sat in the room with him and held his hand as he left this world. And he didn't even know it. My mother was devastated, and my sister and I had to be strong for my parents. After that I took a good long hard look at myself in the mirror and realized that I was a very strong woman. and I knew what I had to do.
In early January 2006, it hit me. Daddy was due to get out of prison in July. And I didn’t want him coming home to us. I had established a life without him. We were doing well. Without him. I had barely anything left of “us”. It was all “B” and I. Not to mention my apartment did not allow convicted felons. I wasn’t moving for him. I was happy. For the first time in a long time. Being a single mom struggling was far better than being married, suffering a controlling, stifling life, barely making ends meet. My sister and her family, and the rest of my family and friends were so happy that I finally made the decision I should’ve made a long time ago.
In February, I told him I wanted a divorce, and filed in March. At first he agreed, then was defensive, then cried wolf with suicide again. But by then, I was indifferent to that. Nothing phased me about him anymore. I was so over him at that point didn’t care what he did. He could’ve fell off the face of the earth and I wouldn’t have cared. He apparently was put on suicide watch, blah blah blah. I did the divorce all on my own. Downloaded the papers off the internet, got everything put together, paid the $50 court fee and done. By May it was final and I had sole custody of “B”. And eventually daddy came around to my way of thinking. I even won $1,300 on “Divorce day” on a very rare celebratory visit to the casino with my sister.
After that, I lost another 20 pounds in preparation for our “Mommy and Me” Disney cruise that I had been saving and scrimping for over “B”’s 8th birthday in October. I saved my ample tax rebate that year and put my winnings toward our trip. I was trying to eat healthy and joined Curves. We were so excited. We were even going to visit daddy’s parents in Florida for a day on our way. They had always been supportive of me, and knew what their son was like. They moved to Florida when “B” was 10 months old, so we did not see them often at all. By that time, she had no recollection of daddy ever living with us. But he was still daddy and I didn’t want to keep him from her. There was no child support because of course he wasn’t working.
He got out of prison in July and went to a half-way house. I helped him financially for a little while. He lost 80 pounds in prison. I can’t imagine. LOL. So I bought him a few things to wear. He was only allowed out of the half-way house on certain days so we had supervised visits at my place. “B” and I went on our cruise in October over her 8th birthday and had the time of our lives. I was feeling good about myself again, I weighed 174 at that time. It was a long time coming. We stopped in Florida to visit Gma and Gpa and daddy’s sister. Had a great visit with them, and they dropped us off at the ship. “B” still remembers what an awesome time we had. It was a trip of a lifetime and I’m so glad that I was able to do it for her. We still talk about that trip and dream of some day taking another cruise vacation.
At that time I had no interest in men, dating, nothing. It was just her and I and I wanted it to stay that way.
Shortly after we returned from our trip, daddy ended up getting in a big fight with one of the guys in the half-way house and went back to jail for a couple months. Over Christmas. As usual, I was left to pick up the pieces with “B”. By that time she was getting older and “figuring out” what daddy was all about. It was always about him. From day one. That spring, he was released and stayed in a different half-way house with some pretty nice people. His restrictions were lifted and came by for visits on Sundays. He got a job and when he could move out of the halfway house, moved in with a “co-worker”. This friend turned out to be a woman. At that point, I could care less what he did. But I did care about “B” and her visits with him. Turns out the girl wasn’t all he made her out to be and I wouldn’t allow “B” to go over there alone. Then of course he would get mad at me. Blah blah blah. We hardly talked for a couple months after that. Which was no skin off my nose. I had sole custody and what I said went. He was paying a meager child support at that time. Only because he didn’t have a very good job, and I had agreed in court. It was enough to basically pay for my gas to get to work and back. Which was better than a sharp stick in the eye. My friends told me I was nuts, but I just wanted him out of my hair.
Whew....I promise I will get to the point soon....It i feeling really good to get it off my chest.