Monday, September 17, 2018

October blessings,hidden trials.


October 1,2008.

Mom came by and wanted to talk with Chris and I.

She seemed off but I didn't think much of it once she started asking us about the upcoming wedding.

Mom said * there's no better time than today to move forward with this wedding and go get a marriage license and speak with the judge*

I was so excited that I didn't ask her about her latest doctor appointment she had that I was unable to go to.

Chris was nervous to speak with the judge about our marriage license . He was older than me and many frown upon the age Gap of 6 years.

The ladies in the office gave us disapproving stares.

Once we entered the judge's chamber, he spoke with my mom first.
Mom told him her daughter wasn't a typical 16 year old and that decades before, a 14-15 year old marrying wasn't looked at twice and that love was all we had between us. She believed in us and believed God had a great plan for us. 

The judge spoke to me next.
He asked me what my future plans were.
I explained I had quit school to help mom while she was sick and I would get my GED within the next couple of years.

Chris was sweating at this point.

The judge then asked Chris what his plans were.

Chris explained that he loved me and I didn't act my age. It was more like he was 16 and I was older.

The judge tells us my dad would have to sign off on it too since he was ordered  to pay Support, he had rights to me, regardless  if he did or not.

Mom wasn't happy about that.
I told the judge it wasn't fair I needed dad's approval considering he wasn't around for anything and that mom did it all,not him.

But a law is a law.

They gave us the proper paperwork and said I had to have dad sign off and it notarized before we could legally marry .

Walking out with the same lady's staring a hole in our backs, we left for the post office to fax dad the paperwork.

I called him on mom's flip phone .I dreaded it.

Giving him a chance to tell me no was burning me up.

*Hello*

*Hey Dad. How are you*?

*Good. What's wrong*?
*Oh nothing. Just wanted to fill you in on some things*

*Oh okay, well, what's up,SueAnn*?

*I'm dating someone and have been for awhile. He proposed to me in December last year and I accepted. We're wanting to get married soon, and mom had approved it and now,I need your permission as well*
Silence

*Tiffany, are you pregnant*?
*Omg, no dad!!*
*Ok. Is this the Chris guy I heard about*?
*Yes,dad ,same one*
*Okay. What do I need to do*?
*I'm faxing the paperwork to you and you'll sign it,have a witness and have it notarized and fax it back to us asap*
*Ok. Send it on*
*Thanks Dad. Love you*
*Yeah. Love you too*

We all breathed a sigh of relief.
We thought he would be an ass but he wasn't.
It was worse, he didn't care .He signed the paperwork and it was All final in less than 48 hours.

We had 30 days to marry.

Mom,Chris and I planned it for Oct 19.
We had a lot to get done by then .

I was so oblivious to certain things pertaining to mom, I missed the signs. I was wrapped up in planning a wedding.

Looking back, mom knew I would be distracted in my wedding planning Bliss and not so available for her doctor appointments and radiation treatment.

The next week, I went to Mom's final radiation treatment. She came outside to the car where I was waiting for her. She had tshirt that said *breast cancer survivor* on it.
She had beat breast cancer.
We cried happy tears for once in a year.

I thought I was getting my mother back. My life would start to blossom with Mom by my side.

She had a casual check up not long after.

The days went by. Mom and I went decoration shopping. We picked out the colors for the wedding, yellow and pink, pastel color.

Chris and i asked his papaw, who's a pastor to marry us. He had a premarriage counseling session with us and when he was satisfied with our plans,he agreed to marry us.

I tried to talk mom into letting us move the date to Halloween and do purple and black decorations.

I'll never forget the look on her face.

*Tiffany, have you Completely lost your mind*!?
*😁 No. I'm serious*
*Serious my tail. We're not having a wedding on Satan's holiday. You want Jesus to be there, not the devil*

😁😁 Fine😏mama.


We went dress shopping a weekend later. 
She was so excited.
I knew traditional white wasn't going to work.
Obviously I am 16 and marrying, everyone would know I wasn't miss innocent..

Mom said* if you wanna wear white, you can wear white,off white,eggshell white or whatever you want to do. It's not about anyone but Jesus,you and Chris*.

I knew we wanted an outdoor wedding and it being fall in NE Alabama,I could wear anything as long as it didn't have sleeves.

So I tried on several dresses when Mom bursted in the fitting room with a beautiful white strap dress with ombre pink toward the bottom.

It fit flawlessly!
Mom cried as I walked out in that dress.

The lady came back to where we were and said * you're beautiful,but this is more for a wedding. Here is the prom dress section*

In mom fashion, she turned to her and said * we are making it just fine without your input. If you want to make this sale, you can meet us back up front . we're buying this dress,the wedding dress,for her wedding*.
😁

The lady didn't say another word.

I cringed at the price tag,but mom assured me that she would pay for it and I wasn't to argue with her about it.

Mom took the dress home with her so Chris wouldn't see it before our wedding day.
We had went to Walmart and purchased two silver wedding bands . Together they cost $23.00 .
It wasnt about the cost. We loved them.


I thanked her for everything,hugged her and went inside.


I was in a whirlwind of emotions. I was marrying someone who loved me. Who wasn't going to leave me. I couldn't believe he wanted to spend his life with ME....πŸ’–

Mom was the crafty mom. She could make a home out of a dumpster.
I could not.

We planned on her coming over to help with the bouquet of flowers for myself and for bridesmaids.

The people who were supposed to be in the wedding on my side, cancelled on me.

Some family called me to confirm the rumors of me marrying. I confirmed and was met with * Tiffany, you're too young. You don't know what love is. You don't know what it takes to hold a marriage together. Mark my words,you'll be an 18 year old divorcee ,barefoot in a tailerpark with two babies hanging off you hips. Don't ruin your life. I can't support this.*"

 So many doubted me/us. It was tough to handle.

So I was upset about standing alone, physically and emotionally with many against my wedding and I was ready for mom to come help with the flowers.

I called her and my grandma tells me mom is in her bed and had been all day. She said mom didn't feel good .

I was confused.
*She was fine. We made plans. *
I thought.

Mom finally got on the phone and said she was so sorry but she couldn't make it to help...


(Ugh.I was such a self-absorbed brat.)

I snapped at her * ugh. Really mom!? You can't drive 3 minutes to come help me!?*

She said* no honey. Not today. I don't feel well. I'm sorry. You can do it though. I have faith in you,honey*.

(This is so tough to write)

I snapped back to my precious mother
* No I CAN'T do this shit,mom! I don't know what I am doing. You were FINE yesterday! You PROMISED ME!*
silence on her end.

*I'm sorry baby. I just can't today. Lord willing,I'll be better tomorrow and will try and come help you. Just try and do your best, I know it'll be fine. I love you,so much.*

And she hung up before I could spew more venom.

I sat down on the floor, surrounded by those flowers that mom was supposed to help me with. 
Scalding hot tears streaming down my face.
I was so pissed, hurt and confused.

I had no clue what to do with all of those flowers and ribbons.

So I angerly grabbed the ribbons, scissors and flowers and put pitiful bouquets together.
They were much smaller than what they're typically supposed to be.

Chris came in from his job hunting trip and saw me sitting in the middle of a flower mess,crying still.

He sat down with me as I broke down further and ranted about everyone letting me down, including the conversation with mom.
He said * you can't be upset with Wanda, she's been through hell and if she can't make it,she has a good reason. She's always been there for you and me, so she must be having a rough day
Let's,go see her*

We didn't have a car at the time so his suggestion was ridiculous to me .

*And just HOW will we go do that*?!
He pulled me to my feet and walked me outside.

There was a green car sitting there.

He said *papaw helped me get a car and before you ask how we are paying for it, I was hired at a cabinet shop today*

I was shocked,but so thankful .

We went to mom's and she was in her bed .

She was surprised to see us there.

I climbed in the bed with her and apologised for being a brat.

She hugged me and said *it's ok baby*

Chris told her about the new job and new car.
She lit up as he spoke .

I noticed that her skin was a different shade. Her eyes also looked different but I didn't ask....

Mom felt better the next few days and we ordered the cake and finished up the wedding plans.
She picked out her favorite songs and Chris and I agreed to play them at the wedding to honor her.

I didn't have anyone to walk me down the aisle, so I walked myself down. Chris's sister agreed to be my maiden of honor and my soon to be newest niece was flower girl and stood beside me as well.
Mom gave me away.
She cried the entire time.

It was a beautiful fall, outdoor wedding.
I didn't have many family there,like Chris did,but I appreciate every one who did come.

Chris was so nervous,he was shaking.
I was okay,until it was over and I felt like I was going to vomit. 😁

One of the best days of my life.
Everyone loved the boquets.

Mom fixed them on the day of the wedding. 

Very blessed to have had such a wonderful day.

10-19-08 Sunday 2pm, I went from 16 year old Tiffany Riggs, to 16 year old bride, Tiffany Smith.
My dream came true.
 I was ready to take on life with my new husband.
I was going to prove the non supporters wrong.
I was going to have a life I always wanted...

As per usual, the only things that stay the same,is that everything changes.....

It all makes sense now,but then, I never knew just how much things would change and there wasn't a damn thing I could do to stop it. I tried...














Monday, May 21, 2018

Bliss in ignorance

*This is all too much....*

That's all I could think of.
Cancer was taking over my mom and I couldn't handle what the "treatment" was doing to her physically and emotionally.

I knew she was going through something that was so hard on me but could actually kill her and I became selfish...
At least that's how I see it.

I wanted to run away and forget that this was happening.
Too much loss and pain and change.
I hated it.

I loved my mother so much and did what I could at the time to stay and help her but I was helpless.
Useless to her situation considering I was a screwed up 15 year old myself.

Chris was the best part of my life and I just wanted to be with him.
He had his own vice so I knew I needed to get away and take him with me.

But no one , especially a male,ever stuck with me.
They always left and gave up .
I prayed he would be different and his actions would prove his words..
I doubted my worth but took a leap of faith in him coming with me.

I decided that I was going to move out and stay with someone who had a huge role in my life being so crazy up until this point and who had hurt me just a couple of years before.

Many would say and have thought this choice to be twisted, especially given what had happened to me just a couple of years before I made this tough choice.

Chris was not doing what mom and he had discussed in order for her to continue to support our relationship and future.
My love for him was more than the hate I had for the person(s) who harmed me.
So I made the choice with that in mind and the fact that
I was drowning in my circumstances and in my own mind.

I did what I thought would be the best option for that time and prayed Chris would come as well.

(I'll fast forward a bit passed irrelevant times)

I never planned to stay gone from my mom for long.
I needed to get Chris away from the people and places he was consumed in and I wanted to be a teen for a little while.
Chris went along with me, thankfully.

The move served its purpose in getting Chris healthy.

But I wasn't ok. 
I knew it wasn't good for me to be in the same home as someone who had something to do with hurting me and the trauma I dealt with.
But I had no choice in the sense of, I didn't know how to handle what mom was going through and all of the changes. I was stuck inside my head and couldn't see any relief.

My grandfather died not long after being in this new place and I was too far away to attend his funeral. He was the one positive male I knew and he loved me.

Not long after that is when I received a call that mom's surgery had taken an unexpected turn .
Instead of them removing the lymph nodes,they saw the cancer was all in her breast as well.
A decision was made for her to remove her breast while they had her under.

That upset me so badly and I knew I made a huge mistake by leaving her to begin with. 

I bawled in Chris's arms once I hung up that phone.

* She thought this would be lymph nodes only and that it would take care of the majority of this damn cancer and she doesn't even know her breast is gone*!
I cried loudly and became angry .

* She went in with all body parts and came out with a breast gone,just like that*!!

When mom woke, she was informed of what happened to her.
I finally spoke to her and told her I was an idiot for leaving and I want to come be with her again.

She promised as soon as she was healed well enough to drive,she would come get us.

And she did.
I was thankful.
I decided I would never leave her again.
And I didn't.

Chris,mom and I moved a place or two before settling back where we started. 
We went through hell to get settled again but it happened, finally.

Time passed and I was 16, living with Chris at his mother's house,while mom settled in with her mother.

She and I made weekly trips to her radiation treatments and while I had accepted the situation,I still couldn't see her without her beautiful blonde hair that was no longer her own,but a wig.

I was honest with her and explained that my soul couldn't see her bald and I was so sorry .

She would make jokes about it but I never thought it was funny.
She also made a joke about her having only one breast. She called herself a "one tit cow" πŸ˜’πŸ˜‚
Again I couldn't laugh at that even when she did.

We made it a day trip on radiation day.

She would mention a timeline of Chris and I marrying and I always said "mama,when I'm 18".

God knows what he's doing.

Chris's wise lady family members and mom suggested that there wasn't a reason to wait two years.

So before I knew it, we were planning a wedding!

Mom lit up when we discussed dress shopping and looking at flowers and decorations and cakes.
She loved talking about which songs we would have played and the colors of the wedding.

She gave me advice on those treatment trips and I still follow her advice to this day.
I never got out of her car without telling her I loved her and hugged her. We only lived 3 minutes away from each other,but talked multiple times a day even after being with each other that same day...

If I knew then,what I know now, I would have made those days and car rides last longer.
I would have.done more...

From there on, was a whirlwind of happenings that would knock the breath out of me.
Bittersweet days were ahead.

God and mom knew things that I didn't and I'm not sure that was a bad thing. I couldn't have handled it,had I known what they did.....




Saturday, April 14, 2018

Until the noise stops

The familiar feelings of pain, loss, confusion,anger, rebellion and brokenness came rushing back. All at once.

It had been a roller coaster of a year and I wanted to do anything but feel as I was..

That switch that had been flipped before, would turn on and tell me that I knew how to fix how I felt..
*You know where it is. You know how to obtain it. Take one or two and all of this noise will cease*
Those thoughts played like a broken record,over and over in my mind.
My reality was filled with things I couldn't control.
I don't know how things went from bad,to ok. To great and then a living hell,in just under a year.

I tried to stop the thought of going and taking a pill or two by reminding myself of the good I did have. I went so far as to write out pros and cons.
Mom didn't raise a pill popping moron.
So I tried surpressing the constant thought of relief in a pill. I tried.

The antidepressants the doctor put me on and then upped the milligram, weren't working. They actually made me feel worse. Mom didn't like me taking them at that particular miligram anyway .

But the other pills worked like a charm.

 I do want to say that I NEVER once stole from my mother. The one time I consider to be close to that would be when I used my class money for alcohol when I skipped school and told Mom I paid the class. Later admitting what I'd done to her.
But other than that,I never took from my mother in that way. 

Knowing the pills were right there... All I had to do to shut up the static of memories and thoughts of so many things at once, was take one. Maybe two because I'd went a week without one. 
Two would be fine....

*Okay*!!!
I yelled out loud to myself and the thoughts racing.
*Where's my damn purse* !?
Again,to myself and thoughts out loud.

Mom had prescriptions of her own that she only took when her pain was too unbearable. I wasn't going to take hers. I had my own. 
I knew people and was mature enough to carry pills that weren't prescribed to myself...

As I grabbed the makeshift contraption they were hidden in I said to myself,
* We will take one and save one for later and the rest for the other days. Then I'll call Chris. I miss him*.

*Done . I'll feel better soon*

I called Chris and asked him to come over. I ate half of a sandwich because sometimes the pills would make me feel sick. That's what I was told would help. It usually did help.

I Justified my actions by allowing myself to remember everything that I was going through.
I just wanted to be normal. 
Trying to be Normal in a situation that is anything but,isn't easy. Hell, I am not normal. I never was .

Having Chris around made things easier and better. I would lose myself in him while we were together.
The medicine had kicked in around the same time as Chris arrived.

I was extra happy to see him.
We talked about our future wedding and all of our plans. 
He was equally excited. 
He wasn't one I could fool about taking pills . He almost always knew .
He didn't approve of it because of my reasons for taking them.  He told me it wouldn't change the facts. That really was a buzzkill to hear .
He had his own habits that were slightly different so he wouldn't say too much about what I was doing.

For the moment he and I were together, I was finally ok.
The noise stopped in that time and I felt like I was normal. 
                   
           It's when he left to go home that my thoughts came back and I would reach for another miracle in a pill bottle. I beat myself up constantly in those moments and seeing my mom be sick was a combination that made me physically ill.
                             
                           I needed an escape.
                             I couldn't be with Chris 24/7 because we weren't living together and when I'm alone, with my thoughts, it isn't ever a good outcome. I would have a pity party and get caught up in my pain that I was setting myself up for major self-destructive behavior. Worse than before.

*Why me?! Why had my life been so hard!? I'm almost 16 and I feel 33 with experience to back it up. Why isn't anything in my life stable!? Everyone eventually leaves me in one way or another. Something bad always happens. * This was my thought process almost every day. It drove me crazy. I would reach for a pill, or alcohol more and more. I stayed around Chris as much as possible. I was drowning in the hurricane of emotion and I didn't know how my life could ever get better. I was ready for worse things to happen and literally just wanted to not be myself,in my life anymore. Death would have been better, I told myself. I hadn't healed from the past two years and this year was not even over and it was ending horribly. I argued with myself daily. I knew better,and yet did things I shouldn't have which lead to bigger issues....


God had a plan. He always had a plan back then and even now. I see things differently now but to get here took the literal act of Christ to accomplish.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

It ended before it truly began.

*I am engaged*
I thought to myself. It was strange and yet amazing all at once. 
Someone wanted to be with me and love me for the rest of my life. 
That was something I never thought would happen to me. 
Of course other than my mother's unconditional love, everyone else only"loved" me in a bed and would leave shortly after.
So for Chris to truly care for me and then want to marry me, it was like a dream that only happened for other people. Not for someone like me. 
I was always too hard to love. And never was a loss to anyone.

I still feared an abrupt ending. I felt as if he could change his mind at any time and I would be back to where I started from .
The mind games I played within was worse than what anyone could do. 

But for now, I decided to go with it and live and love him while he would stay around .

It was Christmas Eve and mom and I had wrapped gifts. She had her glass or two of wine and I of course snuck in my own glass whenever I went to fill hers up.
She sat in her chair, proudly looking at our decorations and her beautifully wrapped presents under the tree,she decorated so well and perfect. 
She hadn't been sick as much that day so it was counted as a good day.
We talked about everything that was going on and she beamed about how beautiful I would look in a wedding dress. She apologized for not having a dress to pass down to me from when dad and her were married.
I told her it was fine. I completely understood.
She then says " well,I guess it isn't such a bad thing, because considering we divorced, it would not be good luck to wear anything I did marrying him" 
I laughed because it was true .πŸ˜‚
Married 12 years and there were worse moments than there were any good. She always said the best thing to ever come out of their marriage was me. I was born on their 1 year anniversary.

Dad had another child with his first wife when he was a teenager. A son. His name was Chris. 
I had met him the first time when I was around 4-5.
He was 15 years older than I was so we didn't really have anything in common. Aside from our eyes and our dad of course πŸ˜ƒ
I had spent time with him several times throughout the years but Dad was absent in his life also. 
My brother,Chris had diabetes and the things he had in common with our dad was alcohol. 
When he was in his 20's, he went on a binge and because of his diabetes, he went into a  diabetic coma.
They saved his life but couldn't save his eyesight.
That changed his life in more ways than the obvious.
He told me many times that he stopped taking drugs and drinking and he wanted to become a preacher. He wanted a relationship with me,more than we had and he tried having one with Dad but Dad wasn't able due to his active alcoholism.
It hurt Chris but he was more concerned about how dad treated me. He would aplogise for him constantly.
Chris would even talk to Mom when he called the house. Mom accepted him even when she's wasn't married to our dad. 
Chris had a kind soul and was truly the best part of dad. He was trying to become better than how he was treated. Which makes this next part more tough...
Chris lived with his mom's mother because she adopted him. 
I spoke to him the weekend before and he told me how he called Dad and dad said he didn't have time to talk to him and hung up. 
We planned for him to come visit that following summer. He wanted to meet my boyfriend,whose name was also Chris. He told me he loved me and to keep my head up. He said I was worth having an awesome life.
Christmas Eve, while mom and I were having wine and talking, the phone rang. 
Mom answered and within the first 25 seconds, I knew something was wrong.
She said " oh no"!
I jumped up and urgently asked what was wrong.
*Who is it mom*!??
She put her hand over her mouth and started crying.
* What now*!?!??
She wouldn't answer me. 
My heart pounded and I ran to look at the caller ID box.
It was a call from where my aunt and mamaw and papaw lived .
So I figured my dad had been in an accident or jail. My thoughts raced.
* Mom wouldn't be crying if dad's in jail. So he must have died*.
I sat on the floor at mom's feet and demanded she tell me what was going on.
She said into the phone
" You can tell her. I'll be here with her. I'm so sorry"
Mom handed me the phone and placed her hand on my shoulder.
* Hhheeello*
My voice was shaking. I wasn't ready for any bad news. Dad wasn't the best but I didn't want him to die. 
My aunt was on the line.
" Tiffany,honey. I have some bad news"
She was bawling
* Tell me*!
" Tiffany, it's Chris. Your brother"
* Huh.. what's happening*!?
" Honey, he passed away".
* Whattttttt*!???!
*What.!?How!?. What happened*!?!
" He was home alone while his grandmother was Christmas shopping. He had a seizure and couldn't get to his medicine. He fell face down and couldn't get air. He suffocated by his bed ,on his floor. His grandmother found him after she came home and noticed he wasn't answering her calls"

I felt sick. 
*How could something this awful happen to such an amazing person*!??!
Mom was hugging me and crying,my aunt was crying, I was dry heaving.
I asked her if dad knew. She said yes. I'm not sure why that question and her answer was so hard but it was and I all of a sudden felt worse. I felt for my dad. Knowing he hung up on Chris days before and now Chris, his only son, was gone.
Age 30. Christmas Eve. Died alone on a floor .
The whole situation is horrible.
I hung up with her and called my dad. 
I've never heard him weep as he did when he heard my voice. I couldn't control my crying. Mom took the phone and she said his name so lovingly, it made me cry harder and at that point I didn't think that was possible.
She cried with me and with Dad on the phone. 
I went to my bedroom, leaving mom on the phone with my dad.
Face first into my pillow, crying and talking to God out loud. Asking him why did he allow this to happen to someone who has turned their life around for the better. Why him. Didn't he go through enough already!?
I was angry and so sad. Just when I had a family member that I was getting to know and that cared for me, he's gone. Gone before he ever had a real shot to do the things he planned to do. He wanted to help addicts and kids that were like he and I. He wanted to meet my Chris. He was so kind. 
He was abandoned at age 2 by both parents and had diabetes throughout his life. Didn't he suffer enough to not die like this!?
Mom must have heard my rambling to God because I felt her sit on my bed. 

" Sweetie, I'm so sorry. He was a sweet person. 
He was living for Christ and on his way to be someone great for Jesus.
I know you're upset and I understand but you can't blame God. God didn't take him. God just welcomed him home. "
*Mom, this isn't fair"!
" I know it isn't. I've known Chris since he was practically a kid. He had a tough life growing up. "
* I know that mom, that makes this worse . He died all alone. Before he could really do the things we talked about not even a week ago! Plus he lived the last few years a blind man*!
" Tiffany, before he lost his sight, he was a lost person, living like a lost man. He was on the same path as your dad. Through the blindness, he found Jesus. If he would have still been lost, this situation would be worse. He died a saved man".
That sentence stopped my anger.
I suddenly realized exactly what point she was making.
She said " God has a reason for everything. He has a plan and His plan is always perfect. This is a bittersweet example."
My admiration grew 10x for my mother in that moment.. here she was, fighting her own battles and still had the faith of a saint. In a horrible set of circumstances,she still found the light in very dark moment.
She said she told my dad the same thing. He was without words. Mom said " I hurt for him. He doesn't know how to be a dad but the fact remains that he is Chris's dad and he's your dad. This is hurting him so much and I told him if I could do anything to let me know"

* I love you,mom*
Mom made me some of her amazing tomato soup and grilled cheese and we sat under a blanket on the couch watching TV for the rest of that Christmas Eve.

We couldn't attend his funeral for several reasons. One being the long drive. There wasn't any way we could travel to Michigan from where we were in the middle of winter especially. Mom was under doctor's orders to not do much because chemotherapy made her vulnerable to other sickeness along with her just not feeling that well. 
I stayed in touch with family that did attend and I called my dad to make sure he was as ok as possible.
He made sure he had vodka in his system for the trip.
I won't judge him for that. He lost his son. 
The guilt he carried was enough to bring down the strongest person so he did what he had to in order to deal with the situation.
It was a somber Christmas, but mom's words reminded me that God has a plan and that my brother Chris, wasn't suffering anymore and he was ok.
To this day, I remember what she said and I use that advice for other hard situations.

My Chris would never meet my brother Chris, but one day, we will see him again.
That's one thing I look forward too.

2007 was a roller coaster of a year.
It was only the begining of a life that had I not lived it, I would not believe it myself.





Saturday, March 10, 2018

A Night To Remember

I rarely was able to get out of my own head.
I was convinced that nothing would get better for me. 

Watching mom go through something neither of us could control was tough.
Adjusting to our new life wasn't easy.
We rolled with it and prayed for the best.

The week of Christmas that year,
Chris had been acting secretive.
I prepared myself for his departure from my life.
Because that's how it always worked for me in past.
Mom wasn't convinced like I was that he was going to break up with me.
She said he was different.

To me, it would turn out the same,just with a different person who decided that he had enough of me and everything I was going through.

With that mindset, I was truly surprised when he came over one evening and asked Mom to let me try on one of her rings...
We both were confused about that question.
She agreed and I put it on..
He asked Mom what size the ring was.
She told him 5-6.
He looked like he was taking mental notes on the ring and its size.
I asked him why he was being extra weird, and he said he wasn't. 
And I wasn't buying it...
Especially after he asked Mom to borrow that ring. She looked as confused but agreed as long as he brought it back soon. He then left shortly after having me try on my mother's ring.

I told Mom that he was being sketchy but I couldn't figure it out exactly. 
She smiled. 
Um. Why are you smiling, mom?
She didn't answer and went out of the room 

Thinking to myself, * what is in the water they're drinking tonight*?

Mom asked me later on, after that whole ordeal of weirdness,
" Do you see yourself and Chris together in the future"?
Ummm. * Well, I'd like to say yeah,but nothing ever lasts nor stays the same, so I doubt anything will ever last much longer in my life that's good, anyway*

She said
" Stop feeling sorry for yourself, with that kind of attitude, nothing good will last"
Seriously?
*I can't keep anything good around,mom*
" Can't, couldn't ever do anything, Tiffany. Stop saying you can't and believe that you can"

*You always say that!*
" Because it's true. Can't isn't in my vocabulary and it should not be in yours"
 There was no arguing with her. I mean I did but it didn't get me far.
She said 
" Listen to your mother for once. Mother knows best"

I smiled and agreed.
She assured me we would both be ok and our lives would be ok. She assured me that as long as I kept my faith in God, everything would always be ok..

Chris's family had planned a Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve Eve.
I was invited and was excited to be out with Chris for an evening.
Mom told me to go and have fun. She said she would leave the porch light on and for me to check in once there and come see her when I came back home.

Chris was acting weird the whole evening. 
I couldn't figure him out.
We ate dinner and exchanged gifts.
His family was welcoming to me each time
He brought me over. 
When it was time for him to take me back home, I noticed a few looks I was getting and that made me paranoid. I wondered what they may have figured out about me and now they probably hated me.

(Yeah,I know, I was extremely dramatic in my thoughts. πŸ˜‚)
We said goodbye and Chris took me home in his mom's car. 
He had his own car,but something was Wrong with it, so she was nice enough to let us use it to get me back to mom's.

The drive was maybe 6 minutes.
He was now acting fidgety. 
His hands were sweating and I was so confused.
He asked me random questions and would get really quiet.
I laughed at the awkwardness and that seemed to have made him extra nervous.

Once we pulled up to my driveway, the porch light was on as mom had said it would be. 
Chris asked me to sit with him for a few minutes. He said he already had talked to Mom about it.

Why would he need to talk to Mom, and about what.
I couldn't control my crazy thoughts and so that lead to me prepping myself for his break up speech...
I know, my thoughts escalated quickly. 

I blurted out to him
* Look, I can't take this build up any longer!
If you're going to ditch me, hurry and do it!
I know you've already told your family that this would be the last time I would be around. So just make it quick!*

Silence...
I was almost in tears. 
The look on his face was something I won't ever forget.

He said " what are you even talking about"!??
I said* you're breaking up with me*

Again,the look on his face πŸ˜‚..
He said " why in the hell would I do that!? And why do you think that"!?

* Um because, you're being weird. And secretive. And I got looks from your family tonight. I think... and plus I know you're tired of me and everything in my life. I'm too young anyway and you're better off without me*

After staring at me for what felt like forever, he put his hand on my hand and started to smile and then he freaking laughed at me!!
I was so damn confused.
* Why in the hell are you laughing!?? I don't think this is funny*!

He said " you need to chill. I am always weird and always have been, which you should know by now. We've been dating for awhile now. Aren't you paying attention?"
I went to answer but he basically told me to shut up in the nicest way possible πŸ˜‚
He said" I do have something to ask you and that's why I'm so nervous. I've been thinking about this since we met. I knew I loved you when I saw you. It sounds stupid or like from a movie,but it was love at first sight. I've never met or been with anyone like you. You're gorgeous and funny and smart. You're bossy πŸ˜‰πŸ˜œ too. And a little crazy but that's all ok. I've been stalling all night and now I have to ask because I'm running out of night time and Wanda is going to wonder where you are .
I talked to her about this alot and she told me I have her blessing as long as I treat you right and get and keep a job and don't do the things she knows I shouldn't be doing. My family knows what I am going to ask too. I was supposed to ask you at my mom's, with everyone there but I panicked and couldn't do it. That's probably why they looked at you like you said. I want to be with you forever and have a life together"

I can imagine what my face looked like listening to his words. 
My mind was racing and my heart felt like it was shaking the whole car. 
I completely thought this conversation was going a different direction.
I was speechless.
After some more silence, because our minds were going faster than we could keep up  with, Chris took a deep breath and pulled something out of his pocket.
His hands were shaking. 
He said " oh, this is also the reason why I needed your mom's ring...
I love you and you're nothing like anyone I've ever met. Your age doesn't match anything about you."

He takes another breath and opens a ring box...

He says" Tiffany, will you marry me"??

At that point I was crying and shaking.
I said " YES!"
He put the ring on my finger and one look at it, caused me to bawl like a baby.
He says " please don't assume things anymore. You should know that I'm not going anywhere and believe that"

We talked for a few more minutes but I couldn't focus. I was so happy and filled with joy,that I sounded like a blubbering idiot πŸ˜‚πŸ’πŸ’š
I told him we would talk more the next day and figure out our plans.
He agreed.

I didn't want to leave but I had to.

Because my life is ironic and crazy not so funny and ,funny things always happen to me, to end the most amazing, romantic moment of my life, the passenger side door,was messed up and wouldn't open. 
So instead of a cool, perfect, graceful exit from the moment and of the night, I had to climb over Chris to get out of the car πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.
He walked me to the door and as soon as I shut the front door behind me, and was sure he was not in earshot, I ran to mom's room. I was crying hysterically. 
She was sitting up in bed all peaceful when I busted in, bawling.
She jumps up and says " what's wrong Tiffany!??! What happened!?! Did he do something!??"

All I could do was stick out my hand in her face. 
I couldn't speak because of my dramatic, over the top crying.

She looked down at my hand and the look of mama bear left and there came a huge smile across her face 
She teared up and said 
" Oh, honey, it's beautiful!!
I'm so happy for you!
He finally did it!"

When I found my words, I told her I was so happy.
She asked about the details of the proposal. I happily told her everything. Like two giddy school girls, gossiping over a cute guy, we went over the night's events.
She said " he gets more charming every day,doesn't he"
She said" now, what did I tell you? Everything is going to be ok! Your mama is right about a few things,isn't she"?πŸ˜‰

I told her I was worried about what others would say or think because of my age. 
She said " I'm your mother and it's no one's business. I approve and y'all are happy,that's all that matters"
πŸ’šπŸ’πŸ’œ

I hugged her and thanked her for being a big reason I had even known about Chris and for having my back.

I laid down that night so filled with joy and giddiness consuming me, that I barely slept. I couldn't wait to see Chris again and make plans. 

I thanked God for bringing me to that place and for leading me to the one I was going to marry. The one I didn't know existed. 
I was not going to worry about my age or what anyone thought. I was going to enjoy this for as long as possible.
I had peace, finally. and everything about Chris and the future marriage seemed right. It felt like this was a part of my purpose in life.
I felt God was with me and that He set everything up for this moment and for the future.

God knew me before I was born. He has been planning my life before I took my first breath.
Through all the darkness, He shined his light and blessings upon me. 
I clung to that moment.
It carried me longer than anyone knows. 

Maybe I can be something more than a lost cause that everyone leaves... I thought to myself..