|Momma watching Jessy at her swim meet |
and Momma was in a wheelchair watching through glass!
|My last picture of me and my 2 Daughters: Left is Jessica, Right is Amy <3|
|The 4 of us went to Disney world and the 3 of us girls were petting the pig!|
I remember it as if it was yesterday....It was 1985 and I had recently had a miscarriage and a few months earlier. Some time had gone by and now I felt "different". I took a pregnancy home test and it was "positive". I was so happy and excited!! What raced through my mind next was that my ex had quit his "sheriff deputy" job to go into business with his father; therefore we didn't have any health insurance. But I was still excited to tell him and I knew that together we could figure it all out.
I told him that I was pregnant and he was furious with me. He told me that he was taking me to "Planned Parenthood" to take a "real" pregnancy test. He took me there and they said, indeed I was pregnant. He told me that I had to get an abortion because we could have more children later and we had no medical insurance. The planned parenthood people had us watch a movie called "The Silent Scream". It was showing an abortion and I sat there in horror wondering "WHY WAS I SITTING THERE?"
I told my ex that I was "having my baby" and "we were married and I wasn't "murdering our baby". I told him that I would "have the baby on my own and figure it all out and I would just leave him. He called my father and they BOTH sat me down at our dining room table and told me that I "needed" to have an abortion because we had no medical insurance! I told him to get his old job back BEFORE I needed to go for a first OB/Gyn Dr. visit and then we'd have insurance and all would be good.
My dad wrote letters to his old boss and my ex went back and begged for his old job in the jail back. They finally relented and gave him his old job back as a Sheriff's deputy working down in the jail cell blocks. After he was there a good month, I went to the Dr. and got a positive pregnancy test and then went on from there to go through my first real pregnancy and birth. I was excited, elated and he became that way too, once everything was figured out. We were going to be parents! I had waited all of my life for this little person to love and care for and to be my little dear one.
It was May 21st 1986 and I went into labor the night before my scheduled C-section. We waited and watched the monitor all night until the morning when it was finally my time to have my baby. I didn't know yet if I was having a little boy or a little girl. I didn't want to know. We wanted to be surprised!. We had a little girl, Jessica Lauren at 7:17am on the 22nd of May, a Thursday morning! I loved her even before she was ever born. She was the "apple of my eye" before I even knew if she was a boy or a girl. I was fighting for her and protecting her life and being a "mama bear" from the moment that maternal instinct checked "in". I had always wanted to be a mommy and I don't think there's anything I've ever wanted more.
I was very ill the first 15 weeks of my pregnancy. I was in and out of the hospital with "hyper-emesis" which meant that I could not stop vomiting. I could not hold down food or drinks and I was losing weight. My Ob/Gyn would put me into the hospital and give me IV's of fluid and then I would get a bit better but I had to pretty much lay on the couch with saltines and ginger ale next to me with a bucket for 3 1/2 months~!~
One week before my baby daughter, my first born baby girl was born...I was sitting in our wooden rocker and my stomach just looked like it went rolling waaay up and then back down it seemed as though something happened in there! It was as if the baby had turned all the way around inside of me. I didn't think the baby was moving quite like before and I was 8 1/2 mos pregnant. So we went directly to see the Ob/Gyn Dr.
They did an Ultra sound and said the baby had totally turned upside down! They guessed it weighed about 8 lbs and it couldn't turn back around, therefore our new little one was positioned "breech" or "butt first" and I was immediately scheduled for a C-section! What a surprise! That's not how it was supposed to be? I wanted to do it normal and once again in my life...I had to do something the "more difficult way"...I did go into labor 10 hours prior to my scheduled time and they had me wait those hours in the Labor/Delivery until my scheduled time due to the fact that there were twins being born in an emergent situation. I didn't mind at all because my baby and I were fine and I wasn't in too much pain at all.
At 7:17am on Thursday, May 22, 1986 my "sunshine girl", "Jessica Lauren" was born at 8 lbs 12 1/2 oz's and 21 1/2 inches long! I had known since I was about 10yrs old that if I ever had a girl, I KNEW her name was going to be "Jessica Lauren"!! I thought that was the most beautiful name ever! My ex was fine with it though he had a few different ideas, my idea won because I had wanted it since I was 10 yrs old!!
She was the most beautiful baby with dark eyes and black thick hair and an olive complexion. She had a hint of red to her skin due to an over abundance of iron in her blood. She and I got split up right away and that made me very sad. She was put into the NICU for a few days due to a high Billirubin, high iron counts and a urinary tract infection! I didn't get to nurse her because it was too hard to start with her being down in the NICU and my having just had a major surgery. We ended up going home without Jessica and it was sad but we also knew that the next day or so we'd have her all to ourselves and be at home with her. She was going to be fine!
Then I got ill the day we brought her home! We went to the Dr's office and they put me right back into the hospital! My ex had to be a new "dad" for the first night sort of "half alone" because I ended up with "after birth Toxemia". I was very ill and my blood pressure was over the 200's on top and over 100's on the bottom number and I was a sick "greenish" color. I couldn't hold anything down and had to stay a couple of days and night in the hospital! Luckily, they let he and Jessica "room in" with me and stay the days and nights in my room so we could be a family, even if I was a bit greenish in color! LOL
It wasn't a great start but we made up for it when we arrived at home. She was the littlest "princess" ever there was! I loved her, rocked her, sang to her, read to her and cuddled and loved her very very much. She was my precious angel and gift from God above! I had never experienced a feeling of love like I had for that little baby that I had just given birth to. We would say "goodbye" to daddy every night at 11:00pm and he would go to work the midnight shift. While my little Jessica and I sat in the rocker having a bottle and rocking until she fell fast asleep in my arms. I loved those nights and I loved standing at her crib watching her sleep; this little "miracle" that we made.
Then the "honeymoon period" was over and she became very colicky and cried the first 3 mos every night from 7pm-11pm and I didnt know what to do? The Pediatrician that we got was retiring so we went back to our family Dr and he suggested "Mylacon" baby drops and it really helped alot! Voila'!!! It was GAS!! Can you even believe that? Either gas or it just took 3 months to get her over whatever it was that was making her colicky. But I rocked her, fed her, hugged her, kissed her, held her and loved her to pieces! I gave her a cloth diaper and we called it a "lovey" and she had a pacifier that we called her "binky". She was an absolute doll baby after I did finally what my mom told me to do! LOL....I stopped listening to all of the Dr's and I poked a bigger hole in the nipple of her baby bottle and I put one teaspoon of baby rice cereal in her last bottle before bedtime and it made her "full" until morning! YAYAY! It worked and helped and we never had any trouble again. ....until......the constant ear infections for first 2 1/2 years of her life! The poor baby was always having a fever and ear infection and on antibiotics.
At age 2 1/2, my little Jessy-belle had to have her adenoids out and tubes in both of her ears. I was about 8 mos pregnant with Amy when we did this surgery and it was a hard day. I held Jessy all day and rocked her and carried her and I was huge and tired and big and very pregnant! But she was my life, my baby and I was gonna do everything she needed me to do and wanted me to do...
After the surgery she was a much happier girl and never had another ear infection again!! Praise God for that ! She and I did everything together! Everyone called her the "traveling baby"! She went everywhere with me and I read to her, sang to her and carried her everywhere I went. She always had a bow in her hair and a little "pebbles pony tail" in the top of her hair...lol ...she was one of the little cutest babies wearing baby bonnets with bows and frilly dresses and she was like my little "baby doll" and if ever I could, we would wear the same things or at least the same colors etc.
I sang to Jessica every night ! I sang "You Are My Sunshine", "Edelweiss", "Mockingbird" and "Dear Old Daddies Beard"! Also we would always read at least two stories. When her baby sister, Amy came along, I bought a baby doll for HER to "take care of" too. When I came home from the hospital after having Amy (my youngest daughter), I had it all planned to give Jessica that baby doll so we could "take care of our babies together. I had bought also a book called "Baby Dear" and that became her favorite book ever! To this day we have that book in our collection of the favorite books that we saved from the girls childhoods. I hate to say it but my father messed that plan up for me and it wasn't the first or the last time! He gave Jessica that baby doll BEFORE we got home from the hospital with her baby sister! I was so upset because it was supposed to be special for "us" to give her that baby doll and that book. My dad took that away from her and us by just giving her the doll to be the "good guy" in Jessica's eyes, I suppose! I was very upset and still think of it now as something I missed getting to share with my Jessica!
My dearest sweet little baby, Jessica was alone with me for 2 1/2 years until her baby sister came along. She was potty trained at a couple of months before she was 2 yrs old. Jessy talked at 6 months of age too!! I promise you that she could say "one word" at a time at 6 months old. She said "hi" to the baby on the wall, which was a picture of her! She said "mama" and "dada" and "bapa"(for Papa-my dad) and "nuna" (for my mom). She was and is so smart and so beautiful.
She became troubled when the divorce happened and a bit before that too. I didn't want to see it or believe it and I wish I had! At age 2 she "took" an ornament from a display at Sears Roebuck & Co. and stuck it into her knee socks! She had to have known it was wrong or else I don't think she would have "hidden it" in her socks! I saw it and told her that it was wrong and then we had the security guard in the store talk to her and tell her that it is "bad" to take things without paying for them.
Then again when Amy was 9 months old and I was at work (part time as a waitress); I got a phone call from my ex. He told me to meet him at the E.R...I left my work and met him there with the 2 girls. Amy had "fallen down the stairs and hit her head on the oak banister on the way down. She was only 9 months old! My ex was taking a shower and he had told our 2 1/2 year old, Jessica to "watch her little sister"so he could shower. WHAT??? Who has a 2 yr old "watch" a 9 month old? OK....Nuf said!
At the hospital, Jessica said to me "Momma I have to tell you something". So I told her that she could always tell me anything. She proceeded to tell me " I pushed Amy down the stairs". I was so shocked and I said "why would you push our/your baby sister down the stairs?" She told me "I didn't want her on MY stairs"! We had a long talk, discussion and I told my ex that he should NEVER leave a toddler to watch a baby and we told Jessica that she is a big sister and she needed to watch over her baby sister and be a "good big sister".
Well, it seems there were a few things I should have noticed early on, but I just didn't allow myself to think anything could be wrong with our little family of four! I must share with you one of my favorite Christmas memories. It was when Jessica was 3 yrs old and she ran from her bed about 6:30 am on Christmas morning. We were laying awake in our bed waiting for her to wake up. She tippy toed down the hallway and to the top of the stairs and then she let out a very loud shriek "aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh" ..and then she said "He came, He came!!" She was talking about Santa Claus! It was one of my favorite Christmas mornings from her childhood.
My "Jessy-belle" was my life, my "sunshine girl" as those was the nicknames that I had given her very early and they stuck throughout her life. She was a good student and well liked by her teachers. Jessica always wanted to please and tried hard at the things she really enjoyed doing. She even won first prize in elementary school, 5th grade, for a drawing of Santa Claus! They took her picture standing next to her drawing and gave her some sort of prize. We were all so elated and excited for her! She was almost always well behaved and listened to me when I told her what to do. She was every mother's dream for a little girl! Then Amy came along and I had "two dreams" for little girls!
As time went by we were always involved in things together. We were in the Y.M.C.A. "Indian Guides" program. We went on campouts, hayrides and participated in the "Pine car derby races" each year. I even made us 3 girls, matching "indian princess" t-shirts to wear to our bi-weekly meetings. At those meetings we made a craft and ate snacks and took turns with a "talking stick" to give each child a chance to tell a story! We had so much fun being involved in that and it gave us alot of "quality time" because I felt bad that I had to work full time, so this was "our time" together; it was special! We also did crafts at home together, like making little "rock people". I had a craft box and they would find a rock outside and we'd clean it and polish it up. Then we would paint them, put faces, hair and whatever else they chose onto their "rock person" and then we displayed them proudly in my curio cabinent, where they still sit today! There are so many good memories of Jessy and me doing things together! We loved to go shopping and out to our favorite restaurant, "Olga's Kitchen". Jessy was so cute because she'd always put the olives (which she called "salad grapes") one on each finger and eat them that way...off of her fingers! It was precious! Jessy was the "social butterfly" and always wanted her friends to sleep over night at our house or apartment. I always said "yes" unless there was a reason to say "no" and there rarely was a reason to say "no" to the kids having fun! I made popcorn and we watched movies. Our favorite sleepover movie was called "Drop Dead Fred"..LOL. It was or is a very cute movie and everyone laughed and laughed. To this day we still have that movie in with our collection and I hope to watch it with my grandkids someday!
I remarried when Jessica was 11yrs old! She totally 100 % agreed with the marriage to her former 4th grade teacher, "Mr. Stewart". She loved him and he thought the world of both of my girls! Both of the girls wore pretty dresses and flowers as they both walked me down the aisle to marry my soul-mate, Craig Stewart. We started out with a wonderful life. We did many things together and I went to part time work so that I could do more things with the girls and be there for them more. I was really pleased to be able to be a "mom" more often instead of working more often!
On Jessica's 11th birthday we took her and 3 of her very best friends: Rachel, Sarah and Lacey; to the Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth, MI. We danced, had cake and ice cream, did Karaoke on a stage;along with some sign language to some of the songs they knew from the sign language club. It was a club or class that I did after school and at their school on Fridays for four years steady. We put candles onto the brownies that I baked for Jessica (she didn't ever like cake) and we sang "Happy Birthday" to her and we continued to stay and dance "the train" and the "Macarena" with many other kids and grown ups to celebrate her birthday with us! Amy also got to bring a couple of friends and then when it was her birthday that year, we let her bring 3 friends and Jessy brought only 2. It was so much fun and worked out great! The kids and I had a ball and we even took them swimming and they never wanted to get out of the pools! There were or are 5 pools in that Hotel and each one is a bit different. They loved the water slides and water falls etc. They enjoyed staying up late and the next day walking around the little German town.
There were many wonderful memories that we made. Jessica was spoiled and loved and always put first before the grown ups, that's for sure! In our home, the kids came first and then the grown ups! We took them on trips to the Niagara Falls, Mackinaw Island up in Northern Michigan. We went to Traverse City and to Disney world twice and to Disney Land in CA one time too! The second trip to Disney World in Florida was really great because they were a bit older and could experience things and remember better. That year the Animal Kingdom at Disney had just opened. We went there and it was spectacular! Jessica has always loved animals and she was in awe of the Rhino's crossing in front of our "car/jeep" and the giraffes off to the close distance; it was awesome! I always say that she was more excited about getting her souvenir than she was about actually being there and seeing the signts!! She was excited to ride the big girl rides with Craig because I was too afraid and am definitely NOT the "ride" person. Craig and Jessica went on "Space Mountain" and loved it! They all went on the railroad and the one called "Splash Mountain"!! I would stand off to the side or front of the ride and get the pictures of them coming down the hill or whatever the exciting part was to be! I did go on some of the fun rides and smaller rides, just not the scary and dark ones !! Of course we had a few little "spats" as families do but there was nothing more than a bit of loudness and then it was over...no berating or degrading words ever said and absolutely no hitting ever! Just a few spats when people were hungry, tired or passing gas in the car right after we'd been stopped for lunch 1/2 hour or so..LOL...it's just that's when it seemed to happen and it got a little "old" after awhile! The girls got a bit upset and Craig got a bit cranky about it but I tried to keep the family happy, excited and on the right track! To keep their minds on the fact that we were on vacation and having a wonderful time! We even stopped in the Great Smokey Mountains of TN! We went into some old houses up in the hills and even saw an old man playing his banjo outside of his families "old" homestead, up in the hills! The first night we arrived in TN at Pigeon Forge, there were older men and woman doing the "two step" outside in a parking lot! Everyone was clapping and singing and stomping their feet! The girls joined in and we all joined in and had a great first night there too! Oh the good times that we had! I savor the memories...
Sadly, she left home at age 18 and right after her HS graduation. She lied to her friends and their parents about me/us. She was never "nice" to me since the car accident that was in 2002 where I got multiple injuries because a man ran through a red light. Luckily neither of the girls were in the car. But after being in the hospital for almost a week and still in horrible intractable pain,I came home to my husband and 2 daughters ages 16 and 14 , a little bit different due to the pain issues. I still never missed a swim meet or anything important for either of my girls. I went in a wheelchair and in a whole lot of pain. I smiled and waved and called their names even though I was dying inside from the amount of nerve pain I was in. The Dr's hadn't quite figured out all that was wrong with me yet and I was still trying to be the very best mother I could be.
Jessy for some reason, told Amy that they should "be afraid" of me when I came home from the hospital. I couldn't even go to the bathroom myself, I needed help buttoning,unbuttoning and zipping my clothes. They didn't want to help because they were "afraid" of me and the way I looked because of the extreme Pain I was experiencing; like nothing ever before in my life! My whole body ached,burned, hurt and had many different and new pain sensations that I didn't even know existed.
That hurt me to the core of my being when I found out. Jessy told Amy they should "sleep together in the same room that first night that I was home", because they were "afraid" of me. How sad that is. ..Most children, I would think 16 year olds especially, would be helpful to their injured mother and love her and feel at least a little sad that she got hurt so badly.
Jessy's and my relationship started deteriorating when I caught her doing things totally 100% against our rules and morals in our family at age 15yrs. I had heard about similar things when she was only 13yrs old but I ignored the signs and just would NOT believe that "MY" little girl would or could behave in that manner. I did my best to be the very best mother possible.
When the teenage trouble started and I found out the "behaviors" she was doing and "into";I took her to the "Growth Works" . It is a place to go and talk to counselors for and about "teens in trouble". It was a family/youth counseling center.
I also took her and Amy to the domestic violence shelter to talk to the counselors there about the abuse that they witnessed in our home while growing up. It had to be awful for them as children during those hard times. Jessica actually watched her father doing things to hurt me and endanger our lives; right in our own home.
I was so worried about Jessy especially because Amy was only three yrs old and didn't seem to really understand what was going on. Jessy on the other hand, was devastated by the loss and change in her life and routines. I decided to sign the girls up into the Catholic Social Services classes for "Children going through Divorce". The Child and Family services people also did hours and hours of interviews alone with the girls, Then alone with me and then with their father and his girlfriend etc. They sided with me, the "mother" and said that their father could only have "supervised visitation" and only "within the state of Michigan". He was angry and moved 1,000 miles away and didn't see them growing up much at all.
I tried my best to include him, invite him and send him pictures, report cards and anything important. I took the girls to see his parents monthly as long as the girls wanted to go. I did everything I could to make life good for my Jessybelle (Amy "Joy" too, of course..but this story is about Jessica).
Well, somehow, somewhere ..something went wrong! Jessy left at age 18 and has been estranged from me/us ever since that time: (it has been 7 yrs so far). I started sending cards the first 3 years and they just said "I love you" in them...and "I miss you". I got no replies or responses so after 3 years I decided to give it a break. Then one day a year or so later, I text messaged her and just said "I love you and I'm thinking of you". She texted me back and asked me to meet her at her place of employment, the Hair Salon. She walked outside in mid-November and proceeded to talk to me in the freezing cold weather, outside. She never invited me inside where it was warm to try and talk a little bit privately. I did get a slight tear in her eye and a small hug. I hugged her and cried like a baby! We talked and mostly she spoke of her father and his kids and what she was doing with them and with Dale. I only told her that I "didn't want to hear about her father and his new family" but I did tell her that "I want to hear more about her and what she was doing in life at that time. She hurriedly decided it was time to go back into work and we set plans to meet for lunch one day in the near future. We did do that lunch but it didn't go as well as I had hoped it would.
I left those lunch meetings with a bad feeling in my gut. My instinct told me that she didn't love me like she once had. She took the car accident and my injuries "personally". She thought I was a different "me" after that. But I was still "me" inside and not brain damaged and definitely not crazy! I was brain "injured" and acquired an "MTBI" from the car accident... but other than pain, nerve pain etc., I would only "forget" new information. If we kept track of it and wrote it down, I was fine with something concrete to look at.
She then started hanging out always with her friend, Kim and/or Brittany. Increasingly she wanted to sleepover at their houses instead of ours. That really bothered and hurt me because we would get Pizza for the kids or Chinese food and give them the family room to play cards or the kitchen table. She just brought them around less and less and wanted to be gone more often and more often. I eventually found out why she didn't want to bring the friends over to our home. It was because we have rules in our family and home. They are "Normal" rules that any "normal" family would insist upon. But she and her friends and boyfriends wanted to be wherever they could have less adult supervision and then she would lie to me and tell me she was one place and really go someplace else to sleep over.
She married the bouncer, football player High school boyfriend that she dated since she was 17. She didnt invite me or Amy or Craig to her wedding. I raised her pretty much on my own. Her dad was not there for her emotionally or physically. I was always there for her. Even after she'd been "caught" doing something that broke the rules and the trust horribly, in our home; she still kept doing things to get into trouble. Then the things I heard from other grown ups, people who knew us and had known us for a long time, made my stomach turn! I just heard lie after lie about many different things that I supposedly did or didn't do enough of for her.
One memory from her HS years that sticks out for me is when she mentioned that she really wanted this "black winter coat" just like her bff's coat! A few days later she and Amy came home to two huge wrapped boxes (for no real reason except out of love and to see them happy) on the kitchen table, right at their "spot". They were all excited and opened the boxes and they'd each gotten a new winter coat! They'd each chosen one that they just "had to have" but we really didn't have the money when we were looking at them. But then I went back and bought them "just because"! The smiles on their faces were priceless and precious and it seemed like everyone was happy for a little while.
We won't get into any more "hurt", on here because I wanted this to be loving, kind and just share my short version of my "Jessy" story and how much I miss her, love her and always will... for all the days of my life!
There's been so much hurt and wrong doing and so much that I could never have ever imagined would ever happen between us. I cry and I cannot believe it...still to this day....7 years later. She invited my father/brothers and her father and his parents to her wedding. All of my "abusers" went to her wedding but the mother who has always loved her and never stopped loving her no matter what!! Never ever have I stopped loving my Jessybelle. Jessica, Amy and Craig mean more to me than anything or anyone else all in the whole world! I just think about it at times and wonder if she remembers who cared for her, was there for her always through thick and thin and who tried to always make her happy?! Well, I didn't even get told or asked about her 2009 October wedding. I wasn't included in anything; nor was Amy.
I cannot even believe that this boy's mother allowed this to happen and even "egged her on". Amy had been there once before she found out how "bad" they were wanting to hurt me, her momma. She ran out of their house crying and saying "How can you talk about our mom that way? She is only one who ever loved us and was there for us always?"...
No matter what...I will always love my Jessica Lauren. I pray every day for reconciliation between us. I am hurt to the core of my soul at all of the lies and most of all for not being involved in her wedding. It is part of every mother's dream. After you do all of the "hard work" of raising your daughter/child; from night feedings to diaper changes and potty training to pre-school. Then from Kindergarten,to middle and High school with me picking up her forgotten homework, dropping it off at her school and then having to drive back to work again 25 miles each way!!! All of this I did because of love! My love for her was always immeasurable. Even after I was in horrible pain from the car accident injuries and in a wheelchair; I still went to her swim meets and clapped for her, yelled out her name and waved to her !!! I was the only person /parent in the audience 99% of the time. Even if I had to leave work and go back afterwards, I still made sure my girl(s) had what she(or they) needed for her school work, grades and to be happy...
|Baby Jessica Lauren 3 weeks old|
|Jessica Lauren on her Wedding Day...but I was not there because I did not know & was not invited :(|
|me and my girls in the YMCA "Indian Guides Programs"|
|Momma and Jessy at a Halloween party 4th grade!|