I remember there were quite a few kids in the house I was in. Some were adopted and some were foster kids (temporary). We had the older crew…. the girls were Carla, Kim and Jill. Then there was the middle crew….Jake, myself, Bryan and Carol and then there were the youngest three. Laura, Rupert and baby in the belly that Margaret was carrying. Carla was my dads daughter from a previous marriage, Kim was a foster girl in our home during this time. Jake, myself and Jill were all siblings adopted together. Bryan and Laura were from my adopted parents together and the baby was on the way. Carol and Rupert were siblings who were adopted as well together. Our mom Margaret was getting closer to having the baby and it was an exciting time for me.
September 5th was such a BIG DAY. My baby sister was born!!!!! Her name is Jasmine. She was so beautiful and full of spunk! Her cute curly hair and the way her baby belly stuck out when she walked in her diaper was absolutely adorable. I pretty much claimed her as mine since the minute she came home. I would feed her, help bathe her, rock her and put her to sleep so…. she was my new best friend. She knew nothing about me yet she loved me any ways. I loved her like she was my own child. I vowed to myself to always take care of her and protect her. I would kiss her boo boos, and teach her the A-B-C’s and her 1-2-3’s. She was my new pride and joy. Even though I didn’t birth her, she was mine.
When I was in fourth grade, I found out that I was not very good at reading and math. I couldn’t do times tables very well at all and the “mad math minutes” were always brutal for me. Some of us kids were in the Catholic school at this time. One day in the middle of class, the principal (Sister Anita) came in and called my name to the door. She and my teacher (Mrs. Charles) talked to me in the hall, and told me some news. It was like a dream, very blurry but felt so real. She told me that I would be going to a new class today and that it would be better for me and my learning. I thought for sure that they couldn’t handle me with my brothers Jake and Bryan all in one classroom. I had to walk back into the classroom and gather my stuff in front of everyone and go to another classroom across the hall. Back to third grade I went and boy was it embarrassing. I had to be brought up to the front of the classroom as a “new student”. I sat down and settled in my new desk and choked back my tears, but it didn’t work. Down they came, as I sat trying to pay attention through the blurriness and controlled breathing I had to do, so I wasn’t making a sound. It was very upsetting and I felt stupid, alone, less than and not good enough. This was my first time I had to mentally tell myself to be tough and strong, so I never mentioned it and threw it over my shoulder in my invisible “bag of shit that bothered me, but couldn’t talk about” while I was a kid. Never talked about it again until now.
My first (and still to this day) best friend and I met when we were neighbors. We were 7 or so. Her name is Kara. We would hang out every day either at her house or mine or up at camp with her family there. She went to the public school and I was at the catholic school so we didn’t see each other during school until we were transferred to the public school. We would have sleep overs and bond-fires, bike rides, playground fun and so much more!
I used to get my butt beat as a child (CPS whistle blowers need to shut up). Because I was doing something wrong obviously. Of course this makes any kid super mad when you get in trouble. So I would rebel. I would do dumb things, I’d take my adopted moms glasses and hide them. I’d fight with her about going to school, I’d cry if I didn’t get my way and Lord knows that didn’t help. My parents were strict. Very strict. I mean they had kids running around our house constantly,wouldn’t you be strict too? We learned really quickly what happens when you misbehave. And when dad says “it’s quiet time or bed time,” you shut your mouth and watched T.V. or you went to bed. Dad’s one liners are our favorites because we still use them to this day. 😊 I have a healthy fear of my parents from their discipline and morals growing up.
There was a few dumb things you do as kids in a small group. Obviously I wasn’t perfect. So, ah, just for your future reference for your children. Rocks and cars with windows do shatter. Enough said. My brother Jake and Bryan know what incident this is. Seemed fun at the time and looking back we can laugh. But man was I scared shitless of the punishment to follow these types of incidents. Ya live and ya learn right?
Another memory that rolls into my mind from time to time…When I was in middle school, my parents were starting to separate. They’d argue and she’d always leave or be drunk. It was not easy to know these things and not talk about them out loud. But, I was old enough to know what was going on and smart enough to not ask questions. I even ran away at one point to my friends house to get away from the chaos (don’t worry it wasn’t far). Thank God Mrs. G answered her door that night. Their was also other traumatic events in our family that happened that I won’t discuss. Some things are private to me and my family. We all have wounds that aren’t meant to be re-opened. My once home that I longed to be a part of was now becoming torn apart. And I had to be strong.
Soon enough I came to know some new people in my life…
This is where Trina and her husband Gus come into my memories. I became closer when I was dating her nephew during this time, and ended up watching their two girls (Marie and Mindy) on a steady basis. They were only babies at the time, maybe 2-3 years old. I became so close to them, hence why this is why they’re like my second family to me. They took me on family vacations, Thursdays were our girls day, while Gus went golfing we would go have girls’ time! Weekends were going here and there and having a blast! We went up to camp, we went to the pool, baseball, football and basketball games, wrestling tournaments and all of it. Like a family! I felt very connected and Loved. This was my home away from home. This was my safe place. I felt completely connected and comfortable being there. It felt good to be loved, again.