in the eyes of a child.

So there’s this old picture frame that I hung on the wall in my oldest niece’s nursery when she was a baby that displays the timeless quote of “A Child Is God’s Way Of Saying That Life Should Go On”. While you’ve probably surmised from many of my numerous posts in the past that I’m not the biggest religion/God fanatic, I’ve always loved that quote. Although the existence of a God has been and most likely always will be a debatable subject on my end, I still think babies are amazing. And that they’re a sign of hope–maybe not from God, but from something. The universe maybe. I don’t know, but from something. They really are. The evidence is right there in the fact that these tiny, little human beings can change your entire world and outlook on life simply just by being. It’s incredible, really.

People have always said that you never really know true love until you look in your baby’s eyes, and they’re right. It’s so true. It doesn’t just apply to your own children though, I’ve learned. I’ve always said that it was love at first sight when I met my oldest niece, Lena, for the first time. And it was. I fell in love with that little girl the moment I laid my eyes on and held her in my arms…all brand-new, two-hours old, baby soft skin and big brown eyes…of her. I was unabashedly smitten with her and she had me wrapped around her little finger from the start. In the 11 since years, that hasn’t changed much. I still love her death–bad attitude included. It blows my mind just how quickly those 11 years have gone by. It really does. She’s growing up so fast and all I can think is damn, if I could just freeze time. If only. She’s still my little Angelbug…for now, at least. She still likes hugs and cuddling up watching “our shows” together….and making “pinky promises with a kiss.” She still lets me call her “Bug” and “Bean” and let’s me say “I Love you” in public. Heck, I can still pick her “light as a feather” self up and carry her around on my back. For now. It scares and saddens me at the same time that in just a couple short years, all of that will be a thing of the past. Scares me because she’s so independent and so much like me that it’s not even funny…and saddens me because she’s so impressionable and naive and innocent–completely unaware of the evil that exists in this godforsaken world. I hate knowing that she’ll one day know pain and heartache and sorrow. I know it’s inevitable and that it’s just a fact of life, but still. I’d give anything to spare her every ounce, I really would.

Sometimes I look around and for the life of me, I honestly can’t understand how or why we could ever want to bring a child into this world. I mean, hell, it’s a freaking horror show out here. We’ve got murderers and rapists and sociopath running around free, wrecking lives and wreaking havoc at every turn. We’ve got parents abusing, neglecting and killing their own children. We’ve got people living on the streets and hard-working people going without and just scraping to get by, while the government gets fat with tax money and is allocates funds to undeserving big businesses. We’re got psychopaths buying guns and shooting up classrooms of 1st graders. We’ve got terrorists making bombs and driving planes into skyscrapers. We’ve got rebels shooting down planes, taking hundreds of innocent lives in the name of separatism and some supposed holy jihad. Society  is going to hell in a hand basket and people are more concerned with pointing fingers and casting blame than doing anything productive at all to try to fix things. We’re a mess. A disaster. And from the look of things–an almost certain lost cause.

But I see hope in the eyes of my nieces and nephews. In their smiles and carefree ways. In their innocence. They make it better…they give you a purpose…another reason to hope. Another reason to care, one way or another. They make you want to believe in a better world. They convince you to take a leap of faith and trust that everything happens for a reason. They light up an otherwise dark and dreary world. They make you believe in magic again.

Despite some of the crappy cards I’ve been dealt,  I’ve been blessed. I get to be here and watch some of the most amazing little human beings on their journey of growing up. I get to be a part of their moments and memories. I get to help mold their dreams and futures and cheer them on from the front line. Just as I was for my nieces, I get to be here for the Twinnies and this amazing, huge capacity. There’s nothing more wonderful than seeing the smiles and toothless-grins on their sleepy faces when they first wake up for the day. Or hearing their little laughs and joyous high-pitched giggles. There’s nothing more soul-warming than to see them raise their tiny little arms up, silently asking to be picked up and held.

The world may be a mess, but they’re perfection. In all its truest, purist, most wonderful glory. Yep.




the road not taken.

Do you ever go back and think about that one moment–that one, single moment where everything changed completely? That one decision that changed the entire course of your life? Do you? Or am I the only one?

For the longest time, I was convinced that moment–for me–was the night I went with He-Who-Doesn’t-Deserve-To-Be-Named, or furthermore, the night I first met him. Certainly, that was a pivotal moment in regards to my recent past and near present, but I’ve come to the conclusion that there was a moment long before then that was “the” moment. It happened nearly 7 years ago,  I when I made the decision to leave school. I guess you could say it was one of those “if I’d known then what I know now” kind of decisions. At the time, I didn’t know the ramifications I would face or all the mistakes I would make. I had no idea what was going to happen. Really, the only one true thing that I did know was that I needed to get away from there. It didn’t matter how I did it, I just needed to do it. It wasn’t just about getting myself out of and away from the abusive relationship I was in with a guy I had met and was seeing there. Granted, that played a major role in my decision, but it wasn’t the only factor. There were others. If I’m being completely honest, I’d say that I was a little overwhelmed by it all. Okay…maybe more than a little, but yeah. It wasn’t the school itself or the classes or even the work–I could handle all of that in my sleep. It was the rest of it that I didn’t feel prepared for. Like trying to figure out where I belonged in a swarm of people who were nothing at all alike myself. I’m not kidding when I say that a good 90-95% of the kids that went there were stuck-up, private school rich kids. As such, it’s  more than a little difficult trying to relate to people who are pretty much your polar opposites. The only real way to get around that is to essentially re-invent yourself. So that’s what I did. That’s what I thought I was supposed to do, you know? I mean, isn’t that what college is all about? Making friends was the easy part. It was finding true friends that proved difficult. It’s hard to open up and put yourself out there to people you barely know, so you hold back the big parts of yourself and yearn even more for the close friends you left behind–the people who really know you and who’ve been there through the ups and downs. Maybe I would have found a better or easier way to get out of that relationship sooner than I did if I’d had someone to trust and confide in. Maybe. I don’t know.

I’m sure being homesick didn’t help any. Yes, I was homesick–as embarrassing as that is for me to admit. I miss my friends. I missed my family. I missed the town I grew up in–the place that held all my memories, good and bad. I missed all of it. Being away–even though it was just an hour’s distance apart–was hard. I felt so removed from everything. Like I was no longer a part of that world anymore. Even being surrounded by people, I’d never felt so alone.

I think another big part of it all was that I simply wasn’t ready to grow up. Or to be an adult. As much as I’d craved my independence over the years while I was still in high school–once it came, I wasn’t prepared. I felt like I had just dived into water that was way over my head. If I’d had my way, I’d have taken a year off after high school–taken the time to figure out who I was and what I wanted out of life. But of course, that would have gone completely against everything that was expected of me. The family wouldn’t even consider the idea. And at the time, I didn’t have the nerve to go against or question their wishes. They were convinced that it was for the best, assuming that I’d be another statistic and end up not going after the year was up like I said I would. Sure, there’s a possibility that might have happened…but there’s just as much a possibility that I would have kept my word. I’ll never know now, and that sucks.

Even so, I wish I’d stayed. I think about it all the time. Where I’d be now if only I’d stuck it out and done things right. I’d have graduated and earned my degree by now. And with the school’s impeccable reputation lining my resume, my career would have been set. I’d probably have had a great life by now. Who knows, I might even have been married and started a family by now…like everyone else my age is doing. I’d never have gone down that path of no return/ aka drugs and alcohol like I did. It’s a good guarantee that I never would have met the jerk…and everything else that happened after that–all that hell and drama. I’d have saved myself a hell of a lot of heartache, that’s for sure.

A lot wouldn’t have happened if I’d stayed. Chances are, I wouldn’t be this jaded or cynical. I have to believe that I’d be happy. Or happier than I am, at least. I know I can’t go back, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing I could. They say that everything happens for a reason and I’d like to believe that…but it’s hard. Maybe I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Maybe all of this happened for reason–that it was supposed to make me into the person I am today. Maybe there’s a bigger purpose in all of this that I just haven’t discovered yet. I don’t know.

I have to believe it gets better. That it gets easier. I have to.


Options Not Feasible…

You know the old adage “you can’t have your cake and eat it, too”? Well, I’m starting to think it applies to happiness as well, mine specifically, at least.

I feel like I’m standing at a crossroads, and I honestly have no idea what to do. And I don’t like this feeling…not one bit. You see, it’s like this:

So my sister landed a teaching interview last week with the elementary school here, an opportunity she’s pretty much been wishing would come since they moved here. For starters, the school is literally right across the street from their house, so location is pretty much perfect. It’s not a done deal or anything yet. She still has to get picked for the second round of interviews and then there’s a whole committee interview process she’d have to go through–if she gets picked. She’s pretty confident though in that she really impressed the principal in her interview. Not that anyone would expect any less of her. I swear, she thinks of everything. From the moment she got the call about going in for an interview, she was on the computer researching the school district and the teaching curriculum for the school, preparing herself. That’s my sister. She doesn’t do anything halfway. It’s 110% or nothing at all with her. She’s meticulous like that. Sooo not me, but to each her own, right? Yeah. Anyhow, she’d kill for this job, pretty much. Right now she’s got an hour-and-a-half commute each way every day to work, which isn’t at all conducive to motherhood considering by the time she gets home at night, she’s lucky if she has even a couple of hours to spend with the boys before they go to bed for the night. And that’s if she doesn’t have work that she brought home with her…which in her case, is a fairly often occurrence. Again, for someone who’s used to making a complete effort towards everything she does, she feels guilty that she can’t devote all the time that she wants to and should to the boys. It’s like she’s got this idea in her head that she needs to be the perfect mother…which isn’t completely logical, if you ask me. I can understand that she wants better for the boys than what we had when it comes to parenting, but trying to be the perfect mother is just unrealistic. There’s too many factors involved…life, for starters. Anyways, the advantages of her getting this job are great. Location-wise, she won’t have to commute which will save her a lot of time, not to mention a ton of in gas money and mileage. Money that could be used for daycare…because she’s going to need it.

She’s not happy about that fact, of course. She doesn’t want the boys in daycare. I get her reservations on the topic, but I think it’s going to be an unavoidable option. She doesn’t really have any other choices. She’s tried. We’ve even tried persuading my grandmother and mother into moving and getting a place out here. That way when I leave, my grams will be here to watch the boys during the day while my sister and bro-in-law are at work. The original plan was to have my grams watch them anyhow. They were all for the idea actually…until my aunt/sister decided to be a bitch and squash the idea. She refuses to move or at the very least, let my grams and mother take the girls and move out here. No one’s taking “her kids”, she said. Which, if you knew her, you’d know is just plain comical considering she does absolutely nothing with “her kids”. And I mean nothing. If she spends even 10 minutes with the girls a day, that’d be something. Hell, it’d be a damn miracle. She’s a selfish bitch. She really is. She doesn’t give a damn about the girls. She treats them both like crap. She barely has anything to do with Emma…but she has no problem spending Emma’s SSI checks like it’s no big deal. Emma’s special-needs, and she has no idea how to interact or handle Emma…so she doesn’t. Hell, she doesn’t even bother to try. She’s pretty much the same way with Avie. When Avie was a baby, she was her showpiece, a cute little accessory to cart around and show off to people who have no idea how incredibly selfish and neglectful she is a mother. Now that Avie’s almost 4, she’s lost that appeal…so she ignores her just like she ignores Emma. That said, she’s just being a plain damn bitch by refusing to let the kids come out here. And there’s no way in hell that my grams is going anywhere without the girls. Which she knows. It’s a fact she likes to use to her advantage every chance she gets. It’s pathetic really. She’s not thinking of the girls in this at all. I mean, having them move out here isn’t just about having someone close-by to watch the boys. It’d be for the sake of the girls’ as well. Emma’s special-needs situation requires her to be a controlled classroom with a one-on-one aide. For the past few years, she’s had the same teacher and been in the same class…which has worked out satisfactorily, for the most part. But this year, thanks to the stupid district merger, everything is getting changed around. Meaning Emmie will be in a different classroom–possibly a different school–with a different teacher and no aide. All those factors are a bad combination. Emmie doesn’t adapt well or quickly to change, because of her delayed developmental situation. She can be downright difficult…and that’s putting it nicely. So now–after she’s gotten used to her class and the teachers have learned how to handle her in a productive way–they’re going to uproot her and possibly undo all the progress she and the teachers have made these past few years. To me, that’s bullshit. And to make it worse, they’re taking her one-on-one aide–which is just a recipe for disaster. She needs an aide, if for no other reason than physical safety. For starters, her depth perception is completely off. So she needs someone to be there when she’s going up and down stairs, just in case. She falls a lot and is constantly covered in bruises because of it. Not only that, she has epilepsy, so god forbid if she were to have one of her seizures in school, she’d need someone there. Although the effectiveness of the aide is debatable sometimes…like the time that she’s run off while she was outside with the rest of her class. In that incident, the aide supposedly turned her back for a moment to help another student and by the time she turned back to Emma, she was gone. The kid is tiny, but damn she’s fast. She was practically on the other side of the field by the time they spotted her, having crawled through a hole in some fencing to do so. The kid isn’t stupid, believe me. She’s far from it, if you ask me. She smart and clever and she does whatever she wants…like it or not. That said, I can only imagine what might happen now that she doesn’t even have her own aide anymore. That is, I don’t want to imagine. It’s not going to be a good thing, that’s for sure. She’d be so much better off here in this school district than the one she’s in. And Avie’s starting pre-school this year, so it’d be the perfect timing to move. Granted, Angelina isn’t too keen on the idea, considering she’s 11 and naturally, doesn’t want to leave her friends and the home she’s grown up in–but it’s not up to her. She’s the child. They’re the adults. Though they tend to forget that fact…a lot. They’ve let her get away with holy hell over the years, so she’s gotten to be really hard to handle. Which is a big reason why they SHOULD get away from there. It’s only going to get worse when she’s a teenager, which is only a couple of years away. She needs to be somewhere else. It’s for the best, really. I know she won’t see it that way at first–god knows I didn’t when I had to switch schools in the middle of 7th grade myself–but like I did, she’ll eventually realize that she was much better off. Or I hope she would, at least. But that’s not going to happen with my sister playing the Mommy’s Possessions card.

So daycare is looking to be the only option. I’m not staying. I’ve thought about it and thought about it and well, I’m not doing it. I won’t. I need to leave and do myself for once. I need to have my own life and my own space. It’s time. Still, it sucks that I can’t help out my sister. I don’t want to be, but I still kind of feel guilty for leaving. I wish I could help her, I really do. But it’s just not possible. I need to do this. I need to go. This is my shot. I’d be a fool not to take it. I just wish I could feel happier about it…instead of feeling miserable and guilty. I wonder if that’ll go away. Hopefully it does before it’s time for me to leave, or this move is going to S-U-C-K. Big time. Oh well, I guess  we’ll see.

XOXO Messie


Is there life out there?

So much she hasn’t done.

Is there life beyond her family and her home?

She’s done what she should.

Should she do what she dares?

She doesn’t wanna leave.

She’s just wonderin’–is there life out there?

So for those of you who aren’t big country fans (1.) you’re totally missing out. And (2.) those are some of the lyrics from an old Reba McEntire song called “Is There Life Out There.” Anyhow, I was listening to one of my playlists earlier and wouldn’t you know, that song started playing … and all I could think was God, this is it. This is me. This is exactly what I’m thinking right now. So cliché, but …so true. Well, minus the married at 20 part…but the rest, yeah.  Completely. Totally.

I got my orientation packet in the mail the other day and gosh, I was excited…for about a whole minute, until my sister asked me what I was grinning like a fool for, looked at the papers in my hands, and got that “oh, that again” look on her face. That’s when the excitement ended and the all-too-familiar guilt crept in. A feeling I am so damn tired of feeling, I might add. Sooo damn tired. I swear, were it not for the fact that I’m about 20 something years too old to have an all out tantrum, I probably would have right then, right there. I wanted to. God, I wanted to. I wanted to scream and yell out all the frustration that’s been building all these months. But mostly, I just felt like crying because it’s so damn unfair. I mean, I know she doesn’t do it to deliberately hurt me–she wouldn’t do that–but it does hurt. A lot. Mostly because she’s my sister and we’re close and she doesn’t see it–what she’s doing to me when she makes her little comments that end up being subtle pushes of guilt. She doesn’t get it and therein, doesn’t get me. She just doesn’t understand. And that, yeah…that hurts.

I was venting to the Bestie the other night about it and at the end of my rant, the Bestie goes all pointing-out-the-obvious on me and says, “well…have you told her all this–what you told me?” Honestly, I have…well, not in so many words, but yeah. Or I’ve tried to, I should say. It’s hard because I can’t really say what I want to say–or everything I want to say, I should say–without feeling bad or guilty for saying it…hell, for even thinking it. It’s really, really complicated. See, my sister’s done so much for me over the years. So much. She’s literally gone above and beyond in the “sister” department. I honestly can’t even count the number of times she saved my ass–literally–back in the old days when I’d get drunk off that ass and decide–usually for some dumb reason or another–to go walking off (drunk stumbling is more like it) into the middle of nowhere or down some busy highway and nearly get myself killed. Anyways, I’d typically call her crying and she’d come looking for me…whether she was 15 minutes away, or an hour or two, or that it was 3 in the morning…no questions asked. I drove her crazy with worry and I’m sure there were times she resented the hell out of me for it–but she always had my back. The night I got crazy drunk and went a little too far off the emotional deep-end with the sharp end of a razor–she was there. From what I remember, she held my hand in that emergency room and cried with me while that sadistic doctor stitched me up and stayed with me until they made her leave. She even let me move in with her for 2 months some years ago when I needed a time-out from life and never pushed me into explaining why I needed to get away. Long story short…I owe her…big time. It’s a debt that sometimes I don’t think I can ever repay. Sure, I’ve done a lot of growing up since then and those days are far, FAR behind me…but there are still times, like these, when I feel like I’m right back there again…and I hate that feeling. I loathe it. I’m grateful to my sister beyond words, but I can’t repay that debt by staying here, like she wants me to.

It started with 5 years. Just until the boys start school, she’d say. She’s been trying to bargain with me these past few months–a lot more in recent weeks–and now we’re down to “how about until the boys are 2 1/2 then?”. Time-wise, that’s asking me to stay here for another 2 years. I get it. God, I get it. It’s not that she’s being selfish for herself–she’s just being a mom. She wants what’s best for her boys–and in her eyes, that’s having someone she knows and trusts taking care of her boys–as in ME–rather than strangers in some day care. She keeps trying to ply me with these “incentives” that are honestly, more than generous–and would be tempting–if I weren’t dead-set on leaving. Which I am. Only she doesn’t get it. Or doesn’t want to accept it, I guess would be the more accurate way of putting it. Cue the subtle guilt-tripping.

I just wish I could make her understand, make her see that my wanting to leave isn’t that I’m being ungrateful or spiteful. I’m not trying to make this hard for her or them, but the truth of the matter is–my being here was never a permanent thing. She knew that from the get-go. In fact, it was never supposed to last even this long. I only stayed because I knew she needed the help and for the boys’ sake, of course. And yes, because I desperately needed to get away from a situation and place that was slowly destroying me. But I never intended to stay forever. And I know that two years might not seem like a long time, but to me, they might as well be a lifetime. They aren’t just two more years to me. Their two more years of putting off my life and what I want. Two more years of me wishing to be anywhere but here, in this place, in this state. She keeps saying that two years won’t make a difference…but she doesn’t get it. She already has her life. She has her career, her little family…she’s living her dreams. All I want is to start living mine. Finally. I don’t want to wait another two years. I don’t want to be 30 years old and just starting to live. I mean, sure I’ve done some living…but I don’t feel like I’ve really LIVED, you know? I feel like there’s so much more out there, and I want it all. I want my own life…not living on the shirt-tails of hers. Don’t get me wrong–I love her boys like they were my own, and I love my sister and my family here–but I need to make my own way–as cliché as that sounds. It’s true. I feel like I’ve gotten so used to having a safety net with them–with my sister–and now I want–no, I NEED–to try to make it without it. As crazy as that sounds. It’s not that I don’t want or need them in my life–because I do and always will–but I can’t always have them there to pick me up when I fall. I need to do this. For my sanity, if nothing else. It’s selfish, but honestly, I’ve been through so much sh** over the past few years that I think I deserve to be a little selfish with this. I’ve always done what everyone else wanted…one way or another. I’ve never really done the unexpected. It’s time that changed.

I have to leave. It’s the only way I’m ever going to be truly happy. I just wish I could make my sister and the rest of my family see that. That I could somehow make them understand and see it from my point of view. This is my life. My ONLY life. They’re living theirs, so it’s only fair that I should have the right to live mine–as I see fit–right?






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