First, I want to say, “Thank you so much, Jennifer Eaton, for passing on the 7×7 Link Blog Award.” I didn’t even realize I had the award until yesterday and I have to say, I’m very happy. It pleases me to know others think of me and my blog when handing out these awards, especially when one considers just how big the blogosphere is.
I was going to answer the award today (you have to do stuff for this award), but another post by Jennifer (click here to read her post on Ed Griffin, author of Once a Priest) made me decide to postpone this until tomorrow, and write about another topic…what event(s) changed your life, for good or bad?
When I think back on my life, there are many things that occurred to shape who I am. We all have our bumps and bruises, our horrible or wonderful dates, opportunities we should or should not have taken, but what event(s) really changed the course of your life?
For me, I think I have to say there were 4 life changing events for me: my birth/adoption, the death of my father, the births of my children, and the death of a soul mate.
I was born in Germany in 1960 to an unwed 24-year old German woman. I have no clue who my father was. The story had it that my mom had 4 other children and when she became pregnant with me, my dad said he’d agreed to take on the other 4 and marry my mom, but couldn’t afford one more mouth to feed. So, my mom put me up for adoption.
I have to hand it to her. Having kids of my own, I could never, ever give one of them away. EVER. I would rather die. I’m very selfish that way. And as far as choosing between a man and my child…I’d take my child any day. I know that sounds harsh, and maybe bitter and cruel, but I could never let a man, the father of my child, put those type of stipulations on me. If abortions had been legal then, I probably would not be here talking to you today. That’s a very sobering thought.
For many years, I was pretty messed up over this. Not the adoption. That didn’t bother me. I loved my mom and dad. They raised me, nurtured me and loved me. They provided me a wonderful life, probably a better one than my real parents would have done. But let me tell you, the rejection thing as a baby stuck with me, even to this day. My self-esteem went down the drain years ago and it’s been a fight ever since to escape from the gutter. I think it was my first deciding factor at how I looked at men. My own father didn’t want me…a baby…a child he created. That’s a difficult pill to swallow. And then to be able to sway my mom to give me a way like I was a litter mate? (yes, that’s how it felt for a very, very long time). That hurt to know my mom wasn’t strong enough to fight for me. Maybe she didn’t want me, either.
My experiences with the male sex continued on a downward spiral. My adoptive brother (he and I don’t speak since my mom died in 2008) always made fun of me, called me names, never defended me. In fact, he walked right by me when I was jumped by 4 girls in 5th grade while walking home. They beat the crap out of me and he just kept going. Sounds like the sort of relationship I had with men the rest of my life, except the beatings weren’t physical, they were verbal and emotional. But that’s a whole other post, someday, maybe.
The feeling of abandonment kicked in high gear on July 10, 1972, when I got the news my dad died in a car accident in Buford, Georgia. The one steady, rock solid man in my life was gone 2 weeks to the day before my 12th birthday, never to come back. Life would never be the same. My mom never re-married (it must have been so hard on her to raise 2 kids alone. Certainly not what she bargained for). My high school years sucked and the only 3 dates I had in school were disasters on so many levels. And then Elvis died in August 1977, which just about killed me. I’d been a fan since I was 8 years old and his music was always there for me to cheer me up when I was down. When he died, it tore me apart, knowing I’d never hear a new song by him. It was like another part of my ‘solid’ world was gone. I began to believe I could count on nothing.
Then I got married (didn’t work out) and had two wonderful daughters. Two of the best choices I ever made in my life. I also decided to do natural childbirth outside of a hospital setting with a midwife. My oldest was born in a birth center in Allandale, Florida, my second was born beside my bed, at home, in Tucker, Georgia. I would never, ever change those two events, even if I had a choice. My daughters breathed life into me. I discovered motherhood was what living was about. This was my purpose in life (my passion for writing had taken a backseat long before then).
After my 1st husband and I broke up, I fell madly in love with a man and he fell madly in love with me. I thanked God every day for giving me someone so special. I had my soul mate in every since of the word. The other half of me. The one who made my spirit soar. He loved my kids. He adored me, and I him. He completely turned my life around and gave me a whole new, wonderful impression of men. They weren’t all bad, and I had the jewel of all of them in my life.
And then he died. Car accident. Hit by a drunk driver. My world shattered yet again. Another man in my life, gone.
I eventually remarried, and was blessed with two beautiful boys. My oldest son was born on my couch, my youngest in a birth center in Dunedin, Florida. While my current marriage has certainly traveled a rocky road, my boys are my salvation. I adore them. My youngest turns 17 on Sunday. 17. Where did the time go? My oldest child is now 26 and has a 3-year old daughter of her own.
I smile. There are five pieces of me in the world, and they are beautiful, strong and independent. I know they will have their share of heartaches, but they’ll never know what it feels like to be abandoned, tossed aside, left behind or unloved, and if I do nothing else in my life, giving them that sense of security and unconditional love will be enough.
So, thank you, real parents, for being the first ones to change my life. I am so much a better person because of it.