Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I would have....

When I picked up the kids that Saturday night from their dad's, I had no idea that it was going to be the last visitation I would spend with my children.

I was on time picking up the kids. Come to find out they didn't go to that “planned” activity that he said they were going too. Which was so typical, he lied to his attorney, lied to me,and lied to the kids. But no one was going to to anything about it. I even wondered if my attorney was going to still bring it to his attorney’s attention come Monday morning? I highly doubt it.
The boys told me that they just hung out at grandpa's all day long. Which made me so mad. I would’ve been home by now, but since he was in control he decided to make us all wait. What a jerk!
When I pulled up at the house the boys ran out, all excited with big smiles. My mom wanted to say hi to Cody again before we left. She handed him a card with some cash in it. That was the last time my mom saw her grandson.
As the kids were piling in the car, I noticed that their step mom was walking up behind my car, but kept her distance. She apparently didn't think that I was paying attention to what she was doing. But I caught on real quick. She was writing down my license plate number. I don't know exactly for what, or what they had planned, but I got so mad I peeled out hoping I would spin up enough gravel to hit her in the face. Then I pulled out, and said “stupid bitch.” I know I shouldn't have said it with the kids in the car, but I was so mad. I apologized to the boys for calling her a bitch. I told them that I just get so sick and tired of being under a microscope with them. I felt bad for starting off our visit like that. But we all got over it really quick, and we moved on. Not another word was mentioned about it.
In the back of my mind, I was hoping that a rock did hit her though!

As soon as we left, I called Brian's mom to let her know we were on the way. Since it was going to be 7:30 before we got to Kankakee, we had to stay in a hotel. So, Brian's parents met us at the hotel where we ordered pizza and the boys were able to swim again. I told her how court went, and she and my mom started crying because they knew what this outcome meant for me. I was really left with no choice after this last judgment. Brian's mom said, how in the world is this legal? You can't afford to pay that much in child support! We all agreed, it was impossible. Even if I was to just pay what I could, I would still be in arrears and would never be caught up. Besides that, this just left the door open for T to take me back to court on content charges since I wouldn’t be paying the full amount. I would never be in the positive, always in the negative. It was a loosing battle. But we prayed about it, and asked God for direction and for his will to be done. Bla, bla , this point I was blaming God for allowing all this to happen to my kids. What have I done to wrong, so terrible that I deserved to be facing this?
Praying about it and asking God for his will be done, wasn't on my prayer list.

I wasn't looking to God to help with this since he hadn't been there to help me out a long time ago. Don't we all go thru this at one time or another? I was raised to believe and to call on him in our darkest hour. Well God were are you, this is my darkest hour? I was holding on to hope until the very last minute. He never showed up, he never saved this disaster from happening.

Brandon rode with me to take Brian's mom back to her house. This was the last night Brian's mom saw the boys. After I dropped her off and Brandon and I were heading back to the hotel, he wanted a shake from McDonald's so I stopped and got him one, and brought the twins a sundae. When I had a few minutes alone with Brandon, I told him how much I loved him. That no matte what happens to us, no matter how far apart we are or how ever long we are apart I will always love him and his brothers.
I also told him what his dad was trying to do. Was I wrong for telling him all this information? I don't know. But I told him with compassion, and it was from the heart. Most importantly, I was telling him the truth. He needed to know what was happening and what I was facing. Brandon, in his quiet little way, just said “mmmmm!” And continued with his shake. It was a sad moment for me, I wanted to tell him so much more. But I just wanted to make sure he knew that I loved him. That Brian loved him. That I will always be your mom. Always.

I told the boys that I was taking them to Florida while they were with me. It was a huge surprise for them. I had always wanted to take my kids to the beach. I dreamed of the day when I would be able to watch them swim in the ocean. I dreamed of the happiness, the smiles and the laughter. It was a dream that I was about to make come true for my boys. It wasn't going to be the same, Cody wasn't going to be with us. But I knew that I would be bringing them back again during our next visitation and Cody would be with us then.
I also had to work while the boys were with me. But thank goodness it was not all day. I was able to spend the rest of the afternoon with my boys. My mom would come and sit with them in the mornings and then go home after I got home. I think a couple of times she took them back to her house to spend the day. They also spent time with my sister, and went swimming. They also had a chance to spend with distant cousins that moved to Florida a few year back. So it was a good visit for them. My aunt even offered to let the boys stay with them a little longer, and would take them to my moms where they were staying the night. Which I thought was nice. I know the boys enjoyed that too.

The weekend that we left for Florida, the kids were so excited they couldn't contain themselves. They wanted to get surf boards and ride the waves. I said I will go buy you guys surf boards, actually they were small buggy boards. But I got them each a boogie board. They got goggles so the salt water wouldn't hurt their eyes. It took us 5 hours to drive to Pensacola Florida, once we got there and settled in at Brian's cousins, we went to pick up those boogie boards and we were off to the beach. Just the pure excitement from my kids faces when we arrived at the beach was priceless. I remember them saying the sand was hot, at they hovered over the sand and found a spot to sit all our stuff out. They just wanted to get in the water. I made sure they were lathered up with sunscreen so thick so they wouldn't burn. One by one, they jumped in the ocean. I was at the edge of the world with them, it was just us. I had my kids in the ocean, in Florida. I was happy. I didn't get in that day with them, but Brian and his cousin did. I just wanted to watch them have fun. I snapped pictures of each minute with them.
Brian's cousin had two step kids who came out with us too. They had a real surf board, and Austin's eyes were as big a paper plates. He wanted to try surfing on the big board. He wasn't afraid to try anything knew. So I let him try it. He was hooked. My little surfer kid. I bet if we lived here he would be into surfing. Dalton and Brandon also gave it try. But Brandon kept getting stung and decided he was done. But Dalton gave it a try a few times. But Austin, he was in it to win it. He didn't want to leave that beach. Sadly though, Brian's cousin got so stung he was sick and had to go home. I felt horrible. But he wanted to make sure the boys had fun.

But little did we know it was jelly fish season. That wasn't so good. My poor little guys were getting stung by the jelly fish all over. Brandon got the worst of it. His chest and belly was all red from the stings. As much as they wanted to get in more, and ride the waves, they couldn't stand the stings of the jelly fish. They took it as long as they could. So we decided to go over the the sound side, hopefully there won't be jelly fish.

Once we got on the sound side, they kids grabbed their snorkel gear and hit the water. They loved this side too. Austin said “mom, I think I’m going to move to Florida when I grow up.” I told him “you can if he want too.” then he was off splashing in the water. Brian and his cousin had the boys snorkeling for hours. The boys saw huge shells, and manary's. They kept circling them. The boys were able to touch them as they floated by. After a busy day splashing in the ocean, we went over to Brian's cousins house, the one that got sick from all the stings. We went there for a cookout. Hamburgers, hotdogs the works. Eddie, has real snorkel gear and he let the kids try it out in his pool. They each had a chance to learn how to snorkel with real gear on. It was so awesome. They stayed under the water until the tanks ran out of air. But like everything else they tried, they loved it and was hooked. I was happy for them to have that opportunity to try out snorkeling with real gear. It made for great memories.

The next morning, all the guys planned on getting up early, like 4 am early to hit the pier to do some fishing. I regret not going with them. Everyone caught something that morning, even my guys. Brandon caught a sucker fish. This is the fish you see stuck to bigger fish, like sharks or Barracuda. “He was a little scared at first,” Brain said when he caught it, but once he was able to see that it wouldn't bite him, Brandon let it stick to is forearm. Thankfully, Brian's cousin had a camera and was able to get a picture of that. I can't thank him enough.
They saw dolphin swimming around shark and they even saw a manatee. Which was the highlight of the morning for them. Well, besides catching all the fish. I am so glad they had that experience and I hope that it will be something they will never forget.

When they came back to the house, they told me all about the cool things they saw. The manatee, the fish they caught and the sucker fish that Brandon stuck to his arm. Then they all showered and fell asleep. While they were all asleep, I took off to walmart and developed the pictures that Harold took that morning. I wanted to make sure Brandon had that picture for his album. I wanted to make sure they had pictures to share with their dad when they got home. I also wanted one just for Brandon so he can hang it in his locker at school. Then of course one for me.
Later on that day, we took the boys downtown Pensacola, and took them to a real fish market. They thought this was really cool too. They saw the boats that bring all the fresh fish in. And saw how they gut the fish and prepare it to sell. They sampled a few things while we were there.
After we left the fish market we walked along the docks and looked at the big boats that were docked. He kids though those were pretty cool too. The twins spotted a guy with a rope and a small tube, like one you would find in a laboratory. They went up and asked they guy what he was doing. The guy was very nice and said he was testing the Ph in the water. This was very interesting stuff to the boys. The guy was so cool, he let the kids place the tube in the water, and then put drops in the tube to test the water. They thought it was the coolest thing ever.
That night, Brian and I took the boys back to the beach so they could experience the beach and ocean at night. We didn't swim that night, I just wanted them to see all the crabs that came out at night. There were thousands of them. The boys thought this was the coolest thing too. Once again, I was so happy to give them this opportunity to experience all the cool things Florida has to offer. The weekend was great. It was everything and more what I hoped it would be. I was so happy to take my kids to the beach, hear them play and splash in the water, and let the sand touch their feet. My dream of taking them to the beach came true. It was the best feeling ever.
They kept saying that when we come back with Cody we have to take him here, we have to show him this. I told them we will do it all over again and make sure Cody experiences the same things that you guys did.

After we got back home, Brian and I had to go back to work that Monday morning. But the kids were excited to see my mom and tell her about the weekend they had in Florida. Brandon kept reminding me me to develop the pictures so he can take them back to his dads house. I told him I would have it all done before I took them back home.
My mom took the boys to the fireworks tent to pick out a few fireworks for the party my sister was having. We were looking forward to the party. But sad, because the next day I would have to take the boys back to their dad. But we enjoyed every minute we had. I took the boys to the local skate park and let them skate for a few hours, or until they got to tired and hot. But they loved that. They remembered looking up this same skate park on the internet when they knew we were moving. They wanted to make sure that our town had a skate park so they could hang out there. They were having a good time, until Brielle, the neighbor girl I brought with us, fell while dropping into the bowl and thought she may have broke her arm. I immediately called her mom, and I took her home. Her mom took her to the ER, and she didn't break it, just a small sprain. Thank goodness, I was glad she was OK.
4th of July was upon us, and it was our last full day together. We left for my sisters around 2 pm and arrived at 3. The party didn't start until 5. But I got there early so the kids could swim and run around. I was there to help my sister. When we arrived, my sister told me that something happened between my mom and my brother and that she was very upset and wouldn't be coming for the party. Which made me sad because she was looking forward to spending this last day with the kids. But, my brother ruined it for her. She did come over to say bye to the boys and told them she loved them and will see them in August. This was the last time my mom saw them.

The boys had a good time letting off fireworks, riding horses and 4 wheelers. They ran around all over the place. I snapped pictures ever chance I got. It was the last 4th of July I would have with my kids. It was the last time my sister, Hannah and Courtney would see them.

After we got home, the kids just crawled into bed, they were exhausted. I had to finish packing my clothes for my 1 night stay after dropping them off at their dads house.

When I woke up that Sunday morning, I went in to the boys room to start getting them up and in the shower. When I walked in the room, Austin wasn't on his bed, he was on the floor, sleeping in puke. He was sick in the middle of the night, and had been throwing up. Poor baby. So I got him to take a quick shower to clean himself up, and took his blankets to the laundry room, got his clothes out and made sure he was dressed. The other boys followed behind.
They made sure the clothes they wore to my house 2 weeks ago were laid out on their beds.
I grabbed a few towels a bottled water and a garbage can for Austin, since he was still throwing up. Poor little guy. I felt so bad for him, who wants to travel 12 hours when your sick? But I knew if I called T and told him Austin was sick, and was going to leave the next day, he would have thrown a fit. So I did what I was suppose to do. Austin was sick the entire trip. I made sure that he stayed hydrated though, he had plenty of Gatorade, water and pepto. But he was so sick he couldn't hold any of that down. Poor little guy. I would hold his little hand as I drove down the road, letting him know that I loved him and that I was sorry he was sick. He would just say “thanks mom, love you too.”

Once we got into town, the tears didn’t' fall this time, because we knew that it was just going to be 4 weeks until we saw each other again. As I pulled up in the parking lot of their dads house, they were having a party. When they saw us pull in they started ringing a bell and yelling in excitement at the arrival of the boys. Needless to say, my goodbye to the boys was interrupted by the selfish acts of T and his family. So the boys and I quickly hugged each other I made sure they had the photo album I made for them, then, Austin said “you are coming back in 4 weeks right mom?” I said “yep, 4 weeks.” With hugs, kisses and a short goodbye, they were off. Running to see what was going on at the party. I saw Cody get up from the table to greet his brothers. I didn't think for a minute that he may have been getting up to come see me again. But I was in my car, and out of site.

July 5th 2008 was the last time I saw my boys. The last time I heard them say mom. The last time I hugged them, told them that I loved them. The last time I would hear their voice, hold their hand or sing a song in the car together.

But I didn't know it at the time. I had every intention on picking them up in 4 weeks for the 2nd ½ of our visitation. The visitation that I was suppose to have. The visitation that I was aloud to have, it was court ordered.

If I knew that I wasn't going to see them again after that day I would have done more, said more. Told them I loved them more. Hugged them more. I would have waited to see if Cody was coming down to see me.

I would have...........

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