Dashing Deals

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How I Became a Single Mother

Good morning! How have 13 days passed since I last blogged on my own life. In my heart I know the answer. These next 5 years are like swimming across treacherous water. I have remembered so much. Some things so awful I am impressed with myself for actually moving beyond them. I say that for at this stage of my life I hold no grudge against Jeff. Many times in my life I have felt sorry for him. With that being said, let's get through this and beyond to better years!

I was 19 years old. I had two babies. One was 6 months old and the other was 20 months old. My husband thought our youngest was not his because of the color of his eyes. His mother along with her friend had planted that seed. I'd been yanked out of bed by my hair and thrown on the floor. It ended with me escaping to the car with the babies and him pulling a gun on me. By the grace of God I'd gotten away alive.

I did not call the police. I honestly was numb. How do you ever get beyond something as dramatic as that? Without God you never could. Jeff and I did not have God in our marriage. I don't know to this day if Jeff even believes in God. This entire next year is kind of a fuzz for me. I thought perhaps if I reflected on it I could remember it all better. I did remember things down the road but this year must have been dark as night for the details are dim.

I think because of the situation I was in and the lack of support from family and Jeff's plea that he would never touch me like that again, I believe I went back home. I do know it was at that time I made a pledge with myself that I would never allow myself to become dependent upon another person. I was not making enough money to be able to save a single dime. Without any savings I was trapped or so I felt like it. I was working at Dairy Queen and had just been promoted to Breakfast manager! The new position came with a raise! Things were beginning to look hopeful for me or so I thought.

During this time Jeff's parents had moved to Noblesville. He spent a lot of time with them. That was fine by me as it gave me space. Seeds when they are watered and nourished will grow. This is the case with the seed that Jeff's mom had planted. Jeff was now being told that they had seen me in our car with another guy driving through Noblesville. When Jeff came to me with this I was dumbfounded. I told him it was all lies and nonsense. I offered to take him to work with me and I'd show him my time card. I don't know why he refused to take a look but he was convinced somehow I could get around a time card. Without trust you really have nothing. I knew in my heart I had to get away before this got nasty again. I wasn't sure how I was going to achieve this but I was working on it. It was during this time frame that Chris Glidden came through my drive through and informed me she was looking for office help. She offered me $1.50 more an hour than I was making. I took her up on her offer.

One day on my way to pick the children up as I crossed SR 32 to the other side of Springmill the traffic had stopped. As I came to a halt I glanced over to the car in the next lane. Low and behold it was Jimmy. Yes the Jimmy I'd kissed in the cooler when I was only 16. Our eyes locked. I think he was just as shocked as I was. We both had our windows down. At the same time we said each other's name in surprise. He asked me to pull over up the road and he'd turn around when the traffic moved again. I did. We stood and talked for about 15 minutes catching each other up on our lives. He told me I looked great for our age. I was like, "Our age! I'm only 18 . . . 19 . . . 18 . . . no 19 . . . how the heck old are we?" He laughed at me. He told me if I ever left Jeff he'd love to take me on a date. We went our separate ways that day but honestly Jimmy did not leave the back of my mind.

It was not long after that that Jeff and I had another fight. As I sit here I know things were rocky before I ran into Jimmy. With the realization that another man still found me attractive and worthy of his time in my head, I know this did not help our chances of making it to happily ever after. It is as close to cheating as I had come in my marriage. You see like I mentioned before abusive men beat you down verbally before they take that first swing. My confidence in myself was close to non existent before my run in with Jimmy. His invite to date me had give me some added courage to walk out the door empty handed. I went to my mom and explained to her how dangerous my situation was and that I needed a place to live. I was already paying her to babysit for me. I just needed a place to stay until I could get on my feet completely. I told her I was going to find a second job and I thought I might be able to get out on my own. She agreed to let me come live with her if that was what I felt was best. It was after William's first birthday that I finally moved in with my mother. She was in the process of planning her wedding to the guy who lived behind her. We were discussing me purchasing her home. I was excited for the first time in forever. I could afford to rent my mother's house on my own with a roommate easily. The thought that after a year or two I could also purchase the home from her thrilled me to no end. Things were looking up for  me.

I found a second job at night waitressing at a Steak n Shake in Nora. Jimmy had contacted me through Glidden Fence and we'd started dating even though I had not filed for a divorce yet. I had been shopping for a lawyer and I was working on accumulating the $500 I had been told I'd need to file. Jimmy made me feel beautiful and smart again. He made me laugh. He had an inner struggle regarding sleeping with me as his family and him were very Christian. It didn't take long to get beyond that hurdle. Here I was still married and I was now sleeping with another man. I justified it because I had left Jeff and if I had the money I'd have filed for divorce already. Regardless all of Jeff's worries of me being with someone else had finally become a reality.

One night when I came home from my second job I walked in the front door and low and behold who is sitting on the couch but Jeff. I froze in the doorway. My mother was in her chair and she said, "Wendy, Jeff came here to talk to me about you and him. I know you are set in your divorce but I think you should listen to him. After all you two have children together. Do you really want to short your children of a life with both parents?"

Somehow I managed to move. I closed the door and sat down at the other end of the couch. The gist was this. Jeff loved me. He felt awful about all that had gone wrong between us. He wanted another chance. If I still decided I wanted a divorce this time next year he'd pay for it. No questions asked. I was told to sleep and think on it. My mom really pushed me to give him another try after all what did I have to lose. Was I going to be selfish like my father or would I put my family first? I caved under the guilt. Jimmy bowed out of the picture and wished me luck with my marriage. He did not want to be the one to blame for it's failure.

There was one major problem with this plan. Jeff was an abusive person. He didn't love me anymore than I loved him at this point. I had been with another man and he knew it. This did not help. I honestly could not stand for him to touch me in the bedroom. I did not feel loved by him in the least.

The girl I had run away with was pregnant with her own first child. I knew she was around 5 months along when she arrived on my doorstep crying one night. She asked if we could go somewhere and talk. She saw the hesitation in my eyes and whispered. My baby is no longer alive, please I need someone to talk to. I told Jeff I had to go with her. He was not happy to say the least but he allowed it. You see Donna was currently dating a man of color and Jeff was as racist as a person could be. He did not want me associating with Donna but with the news he was allowing an exception.

I took her down to the Pizza Hutt and we ordered some bread sticks. I guess I was gone with her for too long. When I came back home Jeff attacked me from behind screaming something like Nigger Lover at me. I ran down the hall way to the bathroom and tried to lock the door. He was right behind me. Somehow I escaped the bathroom and ran to the other end of the house to our bedroom. Again I was a second too slow on getting the door closed. He picked up the lamp that had no shade or shade holder as that had been broken off of it and launched it at me. I tried to jump out of the way but the lamp landed on my foot burning it and cutting it in the same instant. I screamed in pain. It was my howls that stopped Jeff from hurting me further. Instantly he was crying and telling me it was all a mistake. I was numb. I had heard this too many times. He called my mother and informed her we'd had a fight. He asked if she'd be willing to babysit the next night so we could have some alone time and work things out. She agreed. I pretended to agree. I was done. I went to bed. The next morning I got up and pretended I was okay. I rode with him to work and when his crew pulled out I went home packed up everything that was important to me and I took it to my grandmother's. She of course was on Mackinac Island for the summer but she told me I was free to use her house.

Over the course of the next couple weeks Jeff was not allowed near me at work and he did not know where I was staying at night. I did not keep him from our children, he could visit them through my mother.  He knew I wanted a divorce. Seeing how I had not stuck to my end of the agreement . . . sticking around and working on my marriage for a year, he was off the hook for having to pay for our divorce. Again I was shopping for a lawyer. Lena found me one for $250 total. I met the man paid 1/2 down to get the ball rolling. All I wanted was my last name and my children.

One night after work there was a knock on the front door. When I went to answer it, Jeff was standing there. He had followed me from a distance. I never noticed. My heart lurched. I slammed the door and locked it. Refusing to let him in, he went home and called my grandma's house. This of course is in the days before caller ID and I answered the phone. It was Jeff. He informed me if I did not come home and talk to him he was going to set everything I'd left behind on fire. I told him to enjoy the blaze. I had all that was important to me already and I hung up.

I finally got my own apartment in the fall of 1989 and my Divorce Decree was finalized on December 18, 1989.

I am happy to have made it this far in my retelling. I again am out of time to write and this is as good as any place to stop. Today I pray for anyone who is in a dangerous situation. I pray you seek outside council. Get yourself some help. Things will never improve on their own. You need God.

Wendy, Mom of Many
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