Growing up my life seemed and felt pretty normal. It was my mom, dad, my sister and I. We would take trips during the summer, the beach and to visit my moms family. During winter break we would get to see my grandparents on my dads side as they traveled in their RV. And occasionally on the weekends we would go camping. We didn’t have a whole lot, but my parents did enough that we still got to have a fun childhood. The big splurge would be season passes to Six Flags were we spent a majority of our weekends in the summer. Everything seemed fine and happy.
The only thing that seemed different was even as a young child I knew they were going to get divorced. I’m not entirely sure what exactly made me think this but it was just a feeling that I had, that eventually did happen. I remember asking my dad one day, “Would you ever cheat on mom?” to which he responded, “No, I would never do that.” I don’t know what prompted me to ask this question. Now it seems a little foolish to think that he would answer this truthfully. As if someone would say, “Yep, I definitely would.” At the time of me asking, I’m not even sure I knew exactly what that meant.
I think I became aware of everything in 7th grade. I would wake up in the middle of the night to them yelling at each other. Of course, I wasn’t exactly sure what about, but I later found out. This was also the year that my mom decided to go to nursing school. Their arguments happened more often and more in the open. My sister was starting to act out a bit, but in a normal teenager way, pushing boundaries.
Problems really started happening when my dads drinking was increasing. That was one of the problems within their marriage. My mom saw it as a problem, my dad did not. (And still doesn’t) They tried counseling at our church, but my dad stopped going, after walking out on a session.
Rather than working on fixing their marriage, my dad would wait until my mom would leave for school in the evening and would go to the trunk of the car and pull out his case of beer that he would finish within the night. This was around the same time I found out my dad was messaging another woman in Dallas. He would take “business” trips there, which is where I assume he met her. I walked into the garage one day, he called his “man cave” and how the couch and laptop were positioned, as soon as you walked in, you could see the screen of the computer. That’s how I discovered him webcamming this woman.
This was the start of me keeping track of what he was doing. I would count how many beers he would drink each night and I would see how many days he would message this woman, that I knew of. I started “hanging out” with him in the garage and having to sit through WWE episodes just to know what he was doing. One night when my mom was home and he was in the garage I asked my mom, “Do you think dad would cheat on you?” And this opened up the subject of the past that I was blind to as a child. I told her what I had seen him doing, what was on the screen. She told me this wasn’t the first time he had done something like that.
Unfortunately, my mom brought it up to my dad and he had some lame story as to it wasn’t messenger that I had seen. He has a program he uses for work that looks like instant messenger and had shown us it in front of our mom. I played it off and acted like that’s what it was, but later I drew a picture for my mom as to what I had seen and said the program he showed was nothing like what I saw. This was when my mom made plans to finish nursing school and then she was going to leave him. For me, it was instant relief.
Summer of 8th Grade
In the summer leading up to 8th grade, we got the terrible phone call of my Aunt being in the hospital. There was a blood clot in her brain and she wasn’t conscious. That put a hold on everything. Our focus now was getting to my Aunt. I remember going to the hospital and all of our family being there. It was all a waiting game as to what was going to happen.
After being back home for a while, my mom got a call about my Aunt not doing well and them having to make a decision as to if they were going to keep her on life support. My mom was going to drive up with my other aunt. Both my sister and I wanted to go as well, but since school was starting soon, we had to stay home. However, the day they left, my dad called up my grandparents and we were sent to go visit them for a few days. This still doesn’t make sense to me as to why we couldn’t go see my Aunt in the hospital but went to go see my grandparents, and they day we got back home my Aunt ended up passing a way.
After my Aunt passed away, it seemed like talk about my mom leaving my dad stopped completely. I remember one time after an argument she had mentioned divorce to him, which was the first time that was actually said out loud. However, later my mom came up to me saying they had talked and when I asked about divorce she said, “You act as if you want us to get a divorce.” This actually took me by surprise since that had been the plan she had told me and now it seemed as though she changed her mind. I remember feeling mad about this since I knew everything my dad was doing.
My dad went on drinking, continued talking to other women, and one night things went to an extreme when my parents were fighting and my mom had both my sister and I go to our rooms. My dad ended up pushing my mom through my sisters door and my sister and I yelling at my dad to leave. Again, this led to a conversation of my dad being sorry and that he would never do that again. Typical abuse response. This time, however, my mom told us in private she still planned on leaving him after she graduated.
In the summer after 8th grade, my mom graduated from nursing school. She didn’t immediately leave, but one night after another argument, my mom and dad were in the garage talking and after a while, my mom came in and told me that they decided that they were going to get a divorce.
However, I wasn’t as relieved as I thought I would be. I was nervous, sad and scared. Suddenly all the feelings of looking forward to this disappeared. It was the confirmation that our family was no longer going to be a family. The family that I knew when I was little, was no longer the perfect family that I had seen it to be.
More and more information came out about how my dad truly was. The things he had done even before we were born and the things he had done to not only my mom, but other members of our family. It came out that my dad had been paying child support to another woman after one cheating incident not long after my sister was born, when my dad was still in the military.
The divorce led to more pain, more arguments and a dysfunctional relationship between my dad, sister and I. There’s still much to be worked on, but this is the story I had to tell for now.
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