I was born October 19th, 1983 to high school sweethearts named Tracey & Joseph. My father was a football star who had an academic scholarship to Stanford, My mother a straight A student with a scholarship to Rocky Mountain College in Colorado. My father started school and wasn't there when I was born. He hid the fact that he had a child and my grandparents didn't know that I was born until I was 1 month old. I was premature, so I was still in the hospital. My father was terrified to tell his parents..and my maternal grandmother had already decided she would help my mother whether my father's family would or not.
I have no pictures of me, as an infant with my mother. She always candidly talked about how much her life would have been easier if she didn't get pregnant with me. I know most young mother's think that way, but I have never said anything of that nature to my daughter and never will. What I have told her is that it is important to finish school, have a career and then have a family because it's much easier and can be less stressful when you have help...but I also let her know I don't know what life would be like without her.
My Maternal Grandmother and my Paternal Aunt were my primary caregivers. They are the main ones I remember seeing when I was a toddler. when I was about 2, my paternal grandparents got my mother a little studio apartment in the Wilshire District of Los Angeles while my dad was in school- paid for her rent, groceries and my daycare. My mother worked as an accounting clerk. I remember our little murphy bed, claw foot bathtub and how there were huge windows with a fire escape outside...kind of like a typical New York Pre-war apartment. Then I remember not living there and not seeing my mom for about a month. I was dropped off at my Aunts, and she couldn't take off work anymore so I ended up at my grandmother's house. Then, all of a sudden...one day the police were knocking at our door and my mother was standing outside waiting to get me & her clothes from my grandmother's. I believe she thought my grandmother was going to rightfully kick her ass for leaving her baby and not letting anyone know she was ok, so she called the police. I went with my mother, and stayed with her drug dealing boyfriend until my aunt came to pick me up when she found out who my mother was dating and where I was.
When my grandparent's found out my mother was dating someone when my dad still believed they were together, they told her she had to cut it off or start paying her own rent, but they would not be paying rent for an apartment another man, that wasn't their son or a family member, to spend time in. My mother just moved out and dropped me off. My aunt encouraged my grandmother to file for custody once she picked me up from my mother..that she did and she became my legal guardian. I pretty much only saw my mom occasionally, and on my birthdays. My dad would visit whenever he was in town, and I saw his side of the family almost every other weekend.
Considering my situation, I was a well behaved child. All my nurturing came from my grandparents, aunts, great grandparents. I had my cousins who were my 'siblings' and overall I had a pretty happy childhood...until my mother regained custody. She joined the military, I saw her a handfull of times between 1988-1991. It wasn't until my father was drafted and married and asked my grandmother if he could have custody, that my mother decided to file for custody for me. Not for any other reason than to get child support (While she was stationed abroad, she became pregnant by a married man, and didn't want to get him in trouble so she didn't 'establish' paternity). My grandmother, thinking she was doing the right thing and thinking my mother was finally a responsible adult, gave me to my mother and told my dad little girls need to be with their mothers.
When I was 8, I left California and moved to Georgia with a woman I hardly had a connection with...but she was my mom so I was happy to finally be with her. I was also excited to be a big sister, and couldn't wait to help change diapers, and play with this little girl who was just a big blob of ink on the ultrasound. She was born, and I was so excited.
Brooke was the cutest, fattest, noisiest baby ever...but I loved her and it was my job to always be her protector. However, after turning 9..my mom thought it was a great idea to have me babysit an infant while she went to the club. She went partying every other weekend, while I was stuck with AN INFANT! And when she was teething..lord have mercy! Then summer came, and it was time to go back to California...I was so FUCKING STOKED.
to be continued.....