Us being myself and their uncle Scott, we had been together five years by then and I knew this was the beginning of something wonderful. If only I had known how much it would affect and change my life and theirs. I guess it happened gradually, the kids coming over for dinner, needing winter clothes, taking showers at my house and I always wondered where their father was. Then I found out, John was an alcoholic, drug addict who somehow had custody of these wonderful kids. I guess, I should have known how bad it was by how the kids acted but I didn’t.
I hadn’t known abuse like that, I was from a place where we had parents and had dinner together, not 14 year old Frankie (Francesca) going into the bar and dragging her father out, which ended up being the event that finally caused me to go and file for full custody of these kids. It was the best choice I could have ever made. I remember filing the papers and thinking , I am either going to get an irate phone call from John acting like he cares, telling me I will never win, or he will say nothing and I will end up with these wonderful kids as my own.
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As I sat there in the court building filing the papers it occurred to me just how much help and love and parenting these kids where going to need and how happy I was to do it. But I should of known that the happiness was not going to last. It appeared to be a normal day August 18, 2009, the kids had just finished dinner, the older girls where going out and I just settled down after putting my boys to bed when the phone rang. It was Patty, the kid’s grandma and the other rock in their lives. She was hysterical, something was wrong with grandpa and Scott had to get over there right away.
I remember calling the kids and telling them to come home, anxiously awaiting word on grandpa’s condition, when I received the worst call ever. I know I turned around at the eyes of these kids who had endured so much already. Ready to crush there world as they knew, if only I had known what was to come, perhaps I could of , nothing, there was nothing I could of done and I need to deal with that. I looked at them and said, “Grandpa, didn’t make it, I am so sorry guys,” everyone just broke down, not sure what to say or do I did what I thought I could which was just be there, holding them as tight as I could.
The rest of the next week was a blur. I thought it could not get any worse for these kids, thinking back to how their mother left all those years ago, never looking back, JJ was only 3 years old then now turning 13 almost a man, I thought, how much more can these kids suffer. If only I had known. It’s been about a week since Grandpa had passed, no one was really grieving the stress was so high, and of course it made John do more drugs, drink more alcohol and be less of a parent than he was before.
Then the final blow came or what I presumed to be the final blow. It was just over a week after grandpa passed, when the phone rang, a little after midnight, it was John, Patty, who was the kid’s grandma and wife of grandpa, had a stroke and had passed. It was like what, no way, how much can this family handle at one time. I remember thinking these kids are never going to be able to handle this, how as a family can we overcome this too. Who was going to help me the way she did with the kids, yes they lived with me but she was my rock.
Now my rock was gone, my family never really supported what I was doing anyway so now , it was just me and Scott fighting to keep together a family that so desperately needed it. To lose both their grandparents less than two weeks apart, to lose my mother in law and father in law that way was so hard to handle for me as an adult. Let alone these kids who I know have gone through so much. We made it through though it was hard, tough, a mountain to climb, but we did it, and we came out better and stronger than before.
Things were finally looking up for all of us. John was finally trying to get his life on track, maybe too late in my eyes, but it was the effort that counted right. Now it’s been a year since Grandpa and Grandma had passed, the kids where doing great, Frankie just graduated college, JJ and April with the best attendance and averages they have ever had. John working on a relationship with the kids, of course he fail like I knew he would, his effort was a joke in my eyes but to the kids it was what they could get.
Of course they loved him he was there “father” but I just didn’t want to see them get hurt anymore than they already where by him and life. He gets arrested for Felony assault on two woman that where doing nothing but having a good time. I heard the charges and new, no matter what this was finally what was best for all of us. The trial and everything else seemed to fly by, b before we knew it john was being sentenced to five years in prison and we all felt like we could finally just be a family. It was a relief to know he could no longer hurt or guilt any of them into feeling sorry for him anymore.
Now, its two years later, and I see, how beautiful these kids are, how great of parents they are and I know that’s because of what I had the courage to do, to love these kids no matter what and be there for them, when everyone else failed them. I would like to say I changed them, but in all actuality they changed me, into the mother I am today. I would not change any of it for a second. Those kids are my family and like my sons and daughters and they always will be. They are forever my extended wonderful, goofy, silly never change anything family.
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