Wednesday, September 29, 2010

no place to go....

Moving in with Brian was a big deal. I needed a place to live, a roof over my head. My parents lived in Tennessee, and I wasn't about to move that far away from my kids. At least being in Kankakee, I was just an hour ½ drive to them.
I had no other options. So I just showed up at his house one afternoon. By this time he had changed hours, and was working days. When he got home, that's when I told him that I had no place to go. I needed to stay with him for a while. He was OK with that.
When I moved in with Brian, I didn't no what to expect. We had only known each other since April. But from that 2nd day, when I drove to Kankakee to see him, we seemed to be together every time we had the chance. I would drive down to his house almost every Friday night after I knew T was getting the kids. So we had 2 months together, and now I was moving in with him.
I called my attorney and let her know my whereabouts, since she was the only one who needed to know. But eventually, I had to tell her that I was living with a friend, who just happen to be a man.
We were not exactly an item, just yet. We hadn't officially called each other “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” He would joke and say we were just roommates with benefits. He's so funny! She didn't seem to think that me living with a friend that happen to be man was a big deal. Well, if she did, she sure didn't tell me that it was an issue, or that it might pose an issue later on.

It had been 2 weeks since I was made to leave my home, and I was suppose to go to court for that order of protection, but since I had an attorney, she was going to take care of all that court stuff for me. When she did, she and T's attorney came up with a schedule for me to see the kids. I hadn't seen them for 2 weeks, or since that incident. I was sad, and missing my babies. Later I would find out, that after the 2 weeks was up, and since my name was still on the lease, I would’ve moved back in . But, that was something my attorney failed to tell me. Go figure! It would take over another month + for the attorney's to get a visitation schedule that HE agreed on. I just didn't understand why HE had to be in agreement with me seeing my kids, it was making me so mad. What was I paying my attorney for if she was not fighting for my rights. It was simple, every other hard is that? It was all part of the plan..

I would drive back and forth to see the boys every other Saturday. I hadn't exactly felt comfortable with bringing them to Kankakee just yet. After all T was not exactly OK with the idea and he fought me every time I tried so I just let it go, and went and saw the boys every other Saturday, well until my car was repoed. Those trips I tried to make meaningful. I would take them to the park, or McDonald's or the library. I was that “visiting” parent and it was hard to just be “that.” It made me sad every time I had to leave them. I stopped off at another Aunt's house one day to let the boys play with her kids. While I was their, I remember my Uncle asking me, what makes me think that my relationship with Brian was going to work, when my relationship with T didn't. I honestly didn't know how to answer that...but I wish I would've said “what makes you think it won't.” But I didn't, I just let it go.

I would always take pictures of my boys too. Places were we went, and what we did. I would also come back home and journal about the day, and what we did. I also made sure I wrote down how the transition was during drop offs and pick ups. I would journal about things the boys would say, and if they had a bad attitude or gave me a hard time. But that was very rare. They really never did give me a hard time, that wouldn't happen until waylay later on down the road. One time, when I was dropping them off at T's house, I was getting things out of the trunk, and Cody jumped in it and started to cry and say he wanted to go with me, and he wasn't going to get out of the trunk. That killed me. My heart broke when I saw him do this. My son was hurting, and T didn't seem to care, he didn't even know that what he was doing was hurting our boys. But eventually, Cody got out, but not without a fight. As I held him, I would make sure that he knew that I was coming back and we would have another day together. But to a little 7 year old, that means forever. (I am so sorry Cody that you hurt so bad.)

I was finally getting comfortable in the place where I was. Brian and I were in a good place. However, I wasn't working, and I had no money. I was being a mooch, I guess. But I couldn't help it...what was I going to do? During one night in July we had a knock on the door. I got up to answer it, it was a repo company, they were taking my car. The car that I trusted T was taking care of. Boy was I stupid. I should've known. So they told me to take out of it what I wanted and gave me a number of where it was going to be sitting. I was devastated, that was my only transportation to and from my boys, now what?
I couldn't believe that he was doing this to me. But, it was just another one of his plans. Now, not only was I homeless (sorda) and jobless, I was now car-less. Life was just great!!!! NOT!!

Although things were going well with me and Brian, he thought that it would a better if I moved back up north to Dundee, so I could get a job and get myself back on track. Obviously, I wasn't going anywhere sitting at his house. I understood his reasons, but I was still hurt, sad and not ready for that step yet. For the last few months, I was someone else. And I didn't exactly want to leave that. But I did.
On August 19, 2000 Brian drove me up to Elgin where I moved in with my aunt and uncle. It was a very sad day. I didn't want to stay there, and I didn't want to leave Brian. He had been the best thing that had happened to me the last 4 was going to be hard to leave that. He helped my uncle bring my things into the house, then they gave us some privacy to say goodbye. We both cried. I didn't think that he was capable of that, but he did. Then he drove away. I didn't know if or when I was ever going to see him again.

Once I moved in with my aunt and uncle, they let me settle in for the weekend, before they made me sign a contract with them. Yes, I said a contract. But I will get to that in a minute. The next day was Sunday, and I wanted to see my boys. My uncle had made arrangements for T to meet us at church with the boys and I would take them from there. But, instead of waiting for me to show up he dropped them off at church expecting someone to just watch them until I showed up. I was furious. Not to mention, the clothes he had them in where awful. They didn't even match. I was embarrassed for them. My poor babies.
After church we went back to my aunts house where she took a cute picture of me with the boys.
And this is where I guess my family was able to “observe” me with my kids to see how exactly I would act with them. Apparently, they had heard to many rumors from T regarding my parenting skills, or lack thereof. Not only did they think I was a bad parent, they had also been told, or thought, or speculated that I was an alcoholic and used drugs. This was the most ignorant thing that I had ever heard. I thought who in the world actually said all that? Give me a break. Later I would find out, that one night while my cousins husband was on patrol, he spotted a similar car as mine in a parking lot of a bar. I will admit, I was a a bar and grill one night after work with a few friends. But if they were actually in that bar with me, they would've seen that I was drinking water. But I didn't care what anyone thought, I knew they were lies. I had never been drunk in my life, and I never did any form of drugs.
(In glad I have finally cleared the air on that rumor)

On Monday evening, my Aunt and Uncle sat me down in the family room, and gave me a list of rules that I was to abide by while I was living with them. Or should I say, staying with them. They gave me 2 weeks to find a place to live. I was to find a job, and make myself familiar with the bus schedule and or train schedule. To start me off, my uncle was so kind as to bring me the schedules. The contract that I was made to sign, had some rules on there. Only a few I a actually remember. One of them was I wasn't aloud to access the internet without permission, and it was only to look for a job. Another one said, that I was not to leave my laundry in the dryer.....what? Another one was, that I wasn't NOT to call Brian. He was off limits. Why? I wanted to ask so bad, but didn't. To them, he was the bad guy, he broke up my family, he came between me and T. But they had that all wrong too.

I signed that contract, and agreed to the rules. I felt like I was being admitted into an institution or something. I was 27 for God sakes, not a crazy lunatic. I felt like I was being treated like I had committed like the ultimate crimes and I was being watched. Let's just say, that I didn't feel welcome. I felt like I was in the way, a burden and that out of sympathy they had to help me out. (if you are reading this, I am sorry, but that’s how I felt)

(by the way, I still have that contract too)

I just needed to play by the rules until I moved into a place of my own, then I could play by my own rules. Everyday I would look in the paper for jobs. I would line up interviews and figure out how to work the bus system. I have to say, I got pretty good at it. Talk about independence.
I finally got a job through Kelly Services working at Verizon Wireless. That was a good start, but it was temporary. And soon after that, I was in my own apartment. Things were falling into place.
As soon as my attorney knew I was working and making money, she immediately scheduled a court date so that T could start receiving child support. That angered me. I was just getting settled into my own place, and just starting a job, I thought just let me build up a little savings first. But nooooo! Grrrrr!!!!
This is where things start to get really difficult. Rent was $675 a month + utilities, and groceries.
I got paid $12.00 hour and worked a 40 hour week job. (do the math) Child support was set at $600 month which was $150 a week. The attorney said that I wouldn't have to worry about giving the money directly to T, that she would set it up that it came directly out of my check and straight to Kane County where they were send him a check. I was good with that. But funny thing, she never did set that I waited, and waited and waited. I eventually started giving him a money order for that, but I was already falling behind waiting for her to “set it up.” But, I did manage to pay I him what he was owed.

That first experience in court was rough. I hated it. It was the first time I had ever been in a courthouse before. It was so intimidating and sad. I watched people come and go, wondering what they were there for. I saw women coming out of the court room crying, men pissed off and attorneys just doing their jobs. Each attorney looked the same, each in a suit and tie, except for the women, some had pants on and some wore suits too. But all of them had the same arrogant attitude. I would watch each one talk to clients and each other with no sense of respect or sincerity. They would laugh and walk like they had no care in the world. In the court room they would put on a whole other demeanor. They would argue with each other, and interrupt with an “objection” and then claim that one attorney needed to do more research was awful. But very interesting, I found it amusing. But, overall it was just down right sad, so many peoples lives were falling apart, and it was left down to one person to make the final decision. The judge. That cocky, arrogant man sat up higher then anyone in the court room as if he were a God. He would walk in with no look on his face. He wouldn't make eye contact with anyone, he would just look at the papers that were in front of him, and then ask a few questions to the attorney's from time to time. After he would here each argument, he would make his decision. When he spoke, no one else did. He didn't like to be interrupted. I remember one time, an attorney did' t like what the judge had to say, and he talked over him and the judge told him that when he was speaking, that he is not to interrupt. What an ass! I hate judges. I hate attorney's. I hate the courts. I hate the judicial system.

Once everything was done, I just cried. My attorney took me into a room and sat with me. She didn't have much to say. It was business as usual for her. My tears and sadness had no effect on her.
It was just to much for me to handle at one time. The papers, the rules and regulations, the stipulations the child support,and the visitation schedule. All if it in one day was just to much for me to soak in. I just couldn't believe that I was now following a court order that regulates my time with my children. I found this to be the saddest of it all. I was once a mother with 4 kids. Waking them up, seeing their smile. Making breakfast for them, bathing them, feeding them hugging them and talking to them on a daily basis. But now, in my hands I held an order that said these were the times that you had with your kids. How is that fair to any parent? How is that fair to a child? A schedule to see my kids. It's a crap system. But after it was all done for that day, I felt a little better that we were finally getting the ball rolling.
During the hearing that day, she also adjusted the visitation schedule. Since I was now living in the same town as T it was still every other weekend, but I would also get them on Wednesday nights. And T was ordered to drop the kids off and pick them up. He wasn't to happy about that, but he actually screwed him self when he didn't pay for my car....not only was it in his name, but now, he had to bring the kids to me. Ha ha ha!!!

It wouldn't be until the next year when we would have another court date. By then, so much would change.

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