Sunday, January 28, 2018
Mom had this way of making me feel like everything was ok. She made me feel as if cancer hadn't came into our lives messing up what we had going for us, finally.
I could have been fully convinced if the doctors hadn't kept bringing it up.
Yeah. I know. It's their job.
I wanted to stay in denial of the horrid facts. Life was easy in denial land.
By Thanksgiving, she had a surgery to put in a portacath into her chest for chemotherapy treatments. I cannot remember the exact number of treatment sessions,but this device would make it "easier" for them to pump poison into my mother to kill the silent killer that was cancer inside of her. Chemotherapy still made no sense to me. I wasn't educated enough to find alternative options. Nor did I have the resources to do so. It felt wrong. This whole situation was wrong and so jacked up.
So instead of planning Thanksgiving meals and gatherings,as she always had, we were planning a surgery and she was making arrangements for me. Since I couldn't stay at the hospital the whole time,nor could I drive alone, legally, and mom didn't want to be judged for letting me stay with Chris or completely alone for the time she would be in the hospital, she had me stay at family members home. She said Chris could stay. Of course, separate beds.
She was somewhat nervous for the procedure but handled it like a true champ as she always did. She assured me I didn't need to stay and insisted I go to where I was supposed to be. I left, and I was crying the moment I hit the elevator.
That night Chris and I and some family,drank and played pool.
I wanted to drink my fears away.
I tried like hell but only ended up crying and Chris walking me to my bed.
Here I was drunk while mom was in a hospital alone... That killed me.
I told myself and Chris that I was not staying away from my house and the next day I was going back home. If I couldn't be with mom, I was going home, the closest place I could get to her.
My hangover the following day was ridiculous.
I told the people I was staying with, I was going home. They said I'd have to ask mom.
I called her and told her if I cannot be with her, I wanna go home and I wanted Chris with me. Not for some romantic reasons,but I needed him and I needed to be in my bed.
She sensed how defeated I felt and how no wasn't going to work. I even told her I drank that night and wasn't any better off being"supervised" where I ended up having access to alcohol and got wasted anyway.
She gave the ok for me to go home while she was in the hospital and I promised to check in with people who were " in charge" of me.
I thought being home wouldn't hurt so badly. But it did. Chris being with me the whole time helped , but I couldn't shake the dread feelings I had. I was disgusted with the circumstances and angry.
I stayed in a state of panic. The thought of losing my mom was too much to bare. I never had great coping skills. I always reached for comfort in pill form,or anything in a bottle..
I took a Xanax and tried to calm down.
It slowed me down.
Chris and I laid around watching movies. He tried his best to keep my mind from my reality.
I was grateful for him.
I called mom and a nurse answered.
That scared me.
I demanded to speak to my mom.
The nurse stated mom was sleeping and her procedure went well.
I told her I would call that morning.
I felt like there was someone or something in between myself and my mom. Since the cancer embedded itself into her, I felt like a barrier had been placed in between us. Why do I have to talk to doctors and nurses about MY Mom!?
Why do I feel like her life lied in their hands!??
It's an indescribable feeling and extremely frustrating.
The thought of having a good and normal day was long gone. So how could we have a good and normal Thanksgiving that was coming up soon??
Mom cooked. Mom planned. Mom did everything. I have no idea how to clean or cook or baste a turkey!
How could she even stand the smell of food now that this poison was being put inside her and making her so very sick!? How could she spend hours cooking amazing meals for many of the people she loved ? How can my siblings and I and others seem ok during a time as this!?
We don't know how to do the things mom does. And even if we tried, it still wasn't like mom's.
My mind raced with those thoughts....
Would mom and I ever have our glass of wine while wrapping Christmas presents for everyone and laughing,again!???
Would anything ever be the same again?!? Before this monster came into our lives?!?
The answer was no. No. No.
Not one thing was ever the same once those stupid test results came in.
Our lives were over as we once knew it.
This woman, who was so strong and a proud mother and beaming with pride and love for her grandkids, and a daughter and a sister,friend was now fighting for her life.
I was helpless. I hated it...
I still told Chris and convinced myself that I would be the one to help save her. That's the only thought that kept me semi ok. Whatever it takes. I would do anything I could to save her from this.
We would just have to adjust in the meantime...
I told myself that over and over. .
Mom said " baby, I have cancer, but cancer doesn't have me".
With that, I was determined we would beat this.
My mom may be sick this holiday season,but by next year, she would be back to herself and stronger for the crap she faced now....
Looking back at those unrealistic thoughts and expectations, I wasn't nearly as smart as I had thought. Nor was I as capable as I had thought. Time would show me that.. life would show me that. As if life hadn't shown me enough by now... but God had other plans. My plans were that of someone in deep denial and in La La land.
Really I believe that I HAD to think that way to survive what was happening. I wouldn't have made it with the thoughts of what actually did happen later on.....
I took after my mom and I adapted to whatever situation so I could make it through... I was an adapter.
I was left with no choice....
Life happens whether you're ready or not.
It isn't a buffet,where you pick what you want,and pass by what you don't.... I learned that quickly.. it knocked the breath out of my chest....
How I wanted to go back to when I was little. To our trip to Disney world. Where there was magic and no worries.
This wasn't Disney world. This was the total and complete opposite of Disney world. This was a freaking nightmare..... A nightmare that had only began. There I was, center stage of the beginning of my nightmares.....
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
His grace is sufficient for the pain you go through.
My mom clung to that. She held on to her hope in Christ Jesus before this killer called cancer,and during her fighting this killer called cancer.
Mom worked five days a week during her diagnosis and when she started all of the doctor appointments. Seeking help was something mom just didn't do. Now she was being forced to seek out professional help and opinions about her breast cancer. She faced this monster head on.
Carrying her faith and upbeat demeanor.
I was in awe of her strength and positivity.
I was scared to death.
Once the official appointments started, things moved quickly. I wasn't prepared for everything to come.
We now knew terms we had only heard of from TV.
The first visits to the oncologist office was terrifying. I did my best to hide how I felt.
The doctor showed us her scans and showed us where the cancer was. He said it was metastatic and had spread to her lymph nodes under her left arm.
I want to say he said it was stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. I saw my mom's confused face. We both asked what that meant. He explained the different stages and what they meant. My stomach turned and I was so scared for my mom.
The good news was, they could start treatment and she would have a good chance at surviving this.
Mom decided she would beat this breast cancer.
Once we returned home, I asked her if she was going to still work during treatments.
I was trying to get any sort of reassurance for this whole situation. I have this thing where if things are as I'm used to, no matter how bad things are, I convince myself the bad things aren't happening. So if mom was still working, I could pretend everything was ok.
It's selfish I know. How does a young girl process and handle her mother having cancer?
The one person who loved me unconditionally and the only one there for me, had something inside her that could kill her. She was my best friend. The strongest woman I'd ever known. How could this happen to us!? Why her!?
The more I thought about it, the madder I became.
This was BS!!
Back then, I didn't have a cell phone or Internet where I could research what was destroying us.
I saw a commercial on TV for cancer patients. It stated they had access to more treatment options. I knew chemotherapy meant mom losing her hair and being sick.
Chemotherapy never made sense to me. I mean, doctors pumping this poison into people,now my mother, to kill the cancer. I didn't want her to lose her blonde hair.
I would stay home and be alone with my thoughts when Chris wasn't there.
Chris was coming by less and less. I didn't understand. I had caught him lying a few times.
Once he told me he would come back in an hour and I didn't see or hear from him for two days.
Over time, mom and I would talk about his new behavior. She believed he was " doing things that he wasn't supposed to"
I figured he was tired of me and now my life had been turned upside down, he didn't want to be tied down to some stupid teenager with mounds of added issues.
I prepare myself for him being like the rest and ditching me for someone better.
Mom told me " honey,you should give him the benefit of the doubt".
Yeah. Whatever. I thought.
As time went on, mom's chemo treatments started making her sick. She went into the bathroom and cut her hair extremely short. She said " my hair is going to start falling out soon, so cutting it,makes it easier to accept and it won't be huge chunks this way".
The fact of mom's hair falling out and her becoming bald, messed with me badly. I couldn't handle it.
Rumors were brought to mom about Chris and his activities.
Since she was still working, she was around people more than I was. Dropping out of school at 15 doesn't call for friends.
The rumors upset me and I refused to believe them.
It was out of revenge and bitterness that the claims were being made. Mom and I both knew that.
We took what people said with a grain of salt.
One day, Chris decided to make an appearance at our house. Mom was going to be home soon so I asked him to hang around until she came home.
Mom came right out and asked him if what she had been told was true.
His silence told me everything.
I still refused to believe it though.
Mom had a private conversation with him when I left the room.
She was on his side but couldn't condone his actions.
When I entered the room again, she said " if you're truly wanting to be with my daughter, you have to clean yourself up and keep a job. You're asking to make future plans with her but without a job and with the stuff you're wrapped up in, I can't support a future with her and you".
She told him she only wanted him to keep a job and clean his ways up. Then they could talk further, regarding me.
I couldn't argue. She wasn't unreasonable.
He told her " Wanda, you're going through enough as it is. I'm sorry I have messed up. I'll get myself together and won't disappoint you anymore. I'm sorry".
Well. At least he wasn't sick of me. Or ditching me for another female. But I still didn't like what he was doing.
He came over more after that day and would help me as I helped mom.
Mom came home from work and ran straight passed me and Chris on the couch, into the bathroom. We heard vomit hitting the water inside the toilet. My heart sank. Chris put his head down in pity.
I went to check on her and she was on the floor crying.
Something that will bring the strongest person to their knees is seeing their mama crying.
I got down on the floor with her.
"I'm so sorry Mama"
I whispered. She just sobbed next to me on the bathroom floor.
I remember thinking how messed up this was .
It wasn't long ago that the roles were reversed and I had a stomach virus, puking and laying on the floor by the toilet crying while mom grabbed a wet rag and held my hair back while putting the warm rag on my forehead.
I decided to get up and warm a wash cloth up for her and do the same but I didn't want to leave her.
I guess Chris read my mind because,I looked up and he was getting a cloth and placing it under the warm water. Handing it to me, he had tears in his eyes. I held that warm cloth on her and started praying for her to be healed.
All three of us were sitting on the bathroom floor in silence. Mom trying to stop her sobs.
It felt like forever.
We helped her up and she asked us to walk her to her bed.
That was so unlike my mom. She didn't lay down unless it was bedtime .
Removing her shoes and placing them neatly in her shoe corner, mom says " I'm so sorry"
For what Mama?!
" For having this sickness and putting burdens on you"
I told her to hush that. She had no reason to aplogise or feel like a burden to me.
I told her to never ever feel like that. I was here to help.
Walking out of her room, I just knew this was the beginning of a long tough road.
Going to the kitchen where the medicine the doctors gave her and warned her she would need, I found the nausea medicine. Chris was up getting her a glass of water. We gave her the medicine and she fell asleep shortly after.
I kissed her hand and closed her door.
I sat by Chris and I was trying so hard to not show how upset I I was about this messed up situation.
The second he hugged me,I lost it. I was weeping like a newborn baby who has colic.
"This isn't fair"!
"She doesn't deserve this"!
" Please don't leave me"
I sounded desperate.
I was desperate. Desperate for my mom. Desperate for me .
" Babe, I will save her".
He just hugged me tighter and said
" I'm not going anywhere. I'm really sorry.
I believe you will do all you can for her and will both get through this"
We have too I said.
I cried myself to sleep on the couch while Chris just held me.
When I woke up, I heard sizziling coming from the kitchen. It was dark and the house smelled of some food. I was thinking that my mom better not be up cooking!
Her bedroom door was still shut. I opened it and she wasn't there . Heading to the kitchen, I saw Chris cooking and he said, " hey gorgeous. I thought you both would be hungry,so I found something for us to eat together."
I couldn't help but smile.
" She's taking a bath"
I went into the bathroom and there she was. Bubbles and all. My products.
What are you doing mama?
" Hey honey. I am feeling a little better and wanted to take a bath. I was going to wait until Chris left, but he's insisted on staying and cooking. I felt awkward bathing while a man was in our house and I think he knew. He went outside to smoke while I ran the water. He didn't come in until he was sure I was settled"
Her half laughing made that day seem better.
Mom was extremely modest. And certainly not used to a man doing anything for her or me. So Chris doing all he was, was a shocker and something we weren't used too.
She scolded me half intended about me leaving a razor without it's cap. She said " the medicine and chemo make it easy for me to bruise or get cut and bleed and get infections easily. I could have cut myself on that razor blade, because you left it uncapped and I could have bled out"
Smiling as she said the last part. Being sarcastic just was a part of who we were I suppose. A serious situation had to be lightened up with sarcastic comments. ❤😁
" Gotcha mama. I will make sure to mom proof everything so you're not hurt" 😉
As we laughed,I told her I'd leave her to relax.
She stopped me and said " Tiffany,baby. We're going to be alright. I am going to be ok. It gets tough before it's easy. We're survivors .
Now, let's talk about that guy who's head over heels for you, out in my kitchen cooking for us"
Smiling I said okay, what about him"?
" I think I'm still right about him. He's different in a good way. A way you need. Actions speak louder than words. He's backing up what he says. I believe you should stick with it. Pray for your future. That includes a future husband. He may be standing in my kitchen right now".
She was smiling. Proud of herself and her predictions for him.
Okay Mom. You just may be right.
When I walked out of the bathroom, closing the door, I couldn't help but beam with happiness and thankfulness. Chris had our plates made.
He made fried"taters", buttered shrimp, and made hamburgers for me. He and Mom liked shrimp.
I was so happy to be with a guy who actually cared about more than just himself.
There was not a time where I needed that more. I didn't want mom to worry about another breaking my heart. I didn't believe Chris would hurt me.
What male stays with someone so messed up and helps her care for her sick mother?
A good man. One sent from God,that's who...
I needed him even more as time went. Mom needed me. I needed them both. And loved them so much.
I had confidence that I was going to save mom and by the next year, our lives would be back and all would be well...
Little did I know... Sometimes I think God laughs at our plans. Not being mean but because He is in control...
Friday, January 19, 2018
There's a time and a season for everything.
It always comes to pass and not to stay.
I'm thankful for that, except when the stormy seasons come. That can consume you. Blowing you off your feet. Turning everything upside down in an instant.
Fall break was around the corner. I was ready to not have to go to school. I was tired of being a liar,when I skipped school.
Things will always catch up to you even if you think you've gotten away with it.
The school caught me skipping out one day and that next day, I was called into the office. They let me in on the fact they knew I hadn't done this just once, but 3X. The principal didn't like me as it was. He threatened to have my mom in trouble with truancy board. I begged him not to do that because she had no idea I had even skipped school once. So he decided I had to serve the last three days in alternative school in a town almost 30 minutes away. I knew that was better than my mom facing truancy board but she left for work hours before school started and could not get me there.
I had to confess to her what I had done..
I told her minor details of the skipping.
She was really mad. I promised her I would find a way to alternative school each day.
The girl who drove and skipped with me was also caught and serving the same days with me.
I did find rides. Chris and mom the one day and Chris's mom picked me up. I was embarrassed that her son's new girlfriend was in trouble and needed her to help with my consequences.
That would be one of many things she helped me with..
Alternative school was extremely quiet and boring.
They served us lunch but it was basically left over from the neighboring school and was ice cold. Gag!!
I finished all my work and had 6 hours left to sit and face a wall in a cubby hole. I decided I'd take advantage of my time and write. I always loved writing. My creative writing class was my favorite and I excelled in it. I wrote three stories and wrote to Chris as if I was in jail. Knowing I'd see him the same day... I was in love and everything was new and dramatic.😁😍
The last day of the time serving for getting caught, I would be on official fall break for two weeks. I had a hundred plans.
I decided I would help Mom out while she worked and I was home. I cleaned the house and did laundry for her. Something I should have been doing the whole time.
I cooked a few times. Chris would come over and have supper with her and I. All was going well...
One day I was sitting In the back seat of mom's 2007 suzki car ,that she loved so much.
She was driving and a family member was riding up front, beside mom.
I was lost in my thoughts and planning when my thoughts were interrupted by mom saying
" You know, I've felt a place, a lump on my breast. But I'm sure it's a cyst".
Family member says " oh. You should have that checked"
It was October and something I would later know too well, October is breast cancer awareness month.
I piped up and asked what they were talking about.
Mom said " it's nothing honey, I will make an appointment and show you it's nothing".
I thought' what's nothing'?!
Once home, mom made an appointment to have something called a mammogram later that week.
I asked her what that was and she explained.
I asked her what would a lump on her Breast even mean?
She said " well, I know it's nothing to worry with, but if something is found,they'll test it and see if it's something to be concerned about".
What would be concerning about a lump?
I was confused.
Mom was invincible to me. She would live forever.
She survived so much and nothing was going to take her from me. I decided that right then and there. Mom went to the appointment and came home. She said she would know more in a few days. I proceeded with life. I was with Chris. Some days drinking, some days pills. Other days both and few nothing. Having a blast. Making memories. I kept the house clean so mom wouldn't have to work all day then come and work in the house. She enjoyed that.
Chris would come over here and there. He worked and couldn't spend every waking moment with me. I somewhat understood that.
The week school started back, I went all but one day that week. The day I decided I was staying home was the day my life went from good to terrible. Mom had seemed down the past week. She never told me why. Or said if anything was wrong. She would randomly come to my room telling me how she loves me and believed Chris was right for me. As a moody teenager, I rolled my eyes and wouldn't give her much time.
I woke up that morning feeling like something was just wrong. I had suppressed the feeling of something happening to mom for years but that morning,those feelings came back and overwhelmed me. I felt a sense of dread. Mom usually called the house 5X throughout the day. But this day, she called me once. She said for me to be home that evening when she got home and for me to not go anywhere.
That didn't help the dreaded feeling I had. I agreed. I took a shower and started praying out loud.
I said " Lord, I don't understand why I'm feeling this way. I'm scared and have no clue why. Things are going well with Chris but I'm already falling for him. If he and I aren't meant to be, please end it now. My mom's phone call is freaking me out. Please let her be ok".
That day drug on and on. I knew what time she usually came home. So when she didn't, I panicked. I cried and started calling her. She wouldn't answer. I knew she had had an accident and wasn't coming home. I knew something bad had happened.
A family member called me and she says " have you talked to Mom"?
I said " no! And I am freaking out"!
She sounded like she was crying. I asked her to tell me what happened. She said
" Mom will be home soon to talk to you".
Well. Thank God she's alive. I thought.
Now a whole new set of fears came flooding in.
I suddenly remembered that she had went to that appointment and was awaiting the call to see if they found anything on her mammogram. I then remembered that it had been weeks since that.
I called Chris and he wasn't home. I needed him but he wasn't around. I paced the floor. It was way passed time for Mom to be home. I became frustrated. ' what the hell is going and and why hasn't anyone called me'!?
Just then, family member walked in.
Why were they here!?
After about four family members came in, in walks my mom.
I ran to her asking what's going on!?!
She told me to wait until everyone came inside...
What the hell!?
Talk about panicked.
Once everyone that was there sat down, I scanned their faces. Some were crying. Everyone somber.
Mom sat me down on the couch and grabbed my hands into hers.
Looked me right in my eyes and said" Tiffany,honey. The mammogram showed something in my left Breast and lymph nodes. I went in for a biopsy and the results came today. It's cancer, honey".
Tears in her eyes. My ears started ringing.
' what did you say Mama"!?
She said " I have breast cancer".
I literally thought I was going to pass out.
Some family were staring at me. Others were in the kitchen crying. I looked at my mom and said
" NO, the test and biopsy is wrong"!
She grabbed me as I starting crying so loudly,I couldn't hear anything else. She said
" Tiffany,baby, it's going to be ok. I am going to be ok. I am going to fight this. We are going to be okay"
I now felt like I was going to vomit. Family started talking but I heard nothing but my mom's words from a moment ago.
' I have breast cancer'
Anger set in and I yelled " why are they all here!?"
" Why didn't you call me"!?
It's a blur after that.
Everyone eventually left.
Mom was on the phone talking to other family members and repeating those horrific words all over again..
I felt like my heart had been ripped out and trampled on. My mom has cancer. She didn't smoke. Didn't use drugs. Didn't drink more than a few glasses of wine per year. Why her!?!!
She survived 52, almost 53 years of crap to now have to go through this!!?
She finally hung up the phone. Washed her face, took a breath and sat down with me again.
She smiled and said " you know, I will be ok. I have Jesus. No matter what, I have Jesus and it will be okay. "
She started explaining what type of cancer and the possible stage she was in. These were terms I'd never heard except from on TV. Because this type of nightmare doesn't happen to us, just on TV.
She told me her first oncologist appointment was the next week and she would know more and start a treatment plan. I told her " I AM going with you. I don't care about school. I'm going. Don't try and stop me"!
And I meant it .
I wasn't leaving her side. We were going to beat this monster called cancer and I would do anything to make sure she was ok.
I slept in her bed that night. Since dating Chris and being in our new home, I has slept in MY own bed
But I was sleeping by her every night.
The next while is a huge blur. Mom still went to work and was happy. Never complained..
The world was still spinning. Mine had changed and nearly stopped.
I couldn't focus. I had Chris and that was one positive thing I could cling too.
School was overwhelming even moreso. I would not be able to attend mom's appointments and they were important. I needed to know about this killer that was inside of my precious mother.
I took it upon myself to take mom's mammogram X-ray Thing to school and show my princaple. I asked him to meet with me in his office later that day. He agreed. I told him I wasn't making excuses anymore and I couldn't do this whole high school thing any longer. He looked at me with a confused smirk on his face. He said " may I ask why"?
I handed over the Manila envelope with mom's scan in it. I told him to put it up to the light.
He asked what it was. I told him my mom had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and was in the beginning stage of doctor appointments and she worked and I needed to help her. I'm all she had and I needed to be with her. School got in the way of that. I told him I wanted to drop out at age 15...... Yes. I was that bold.
Silence filled his office. He asked to meet my mom and he would then give me his decision. I told him " here's the thing. Mom isn't selfish. She will not ask for help and she sure wouldn't want me to quit school to stay home and help her and go everywhere she needs. She would be opposed to the idea and I didn't have time to argue my case. "
He settled on calling her to verify she has cancer. Once they hung up, he took my file out, put it one paper at a time, into his shredder. He had tears in his eyes. He said " Miss Riggs, you've given me a hard time since moving here, and you've not been easy to handle. However. I'm a Christ follower and I believe you're barring your soul. Your mom does need you. This is an incredible amount of maturity and love with strength on your end. We never had this conversation. I'll be praying for you and your mom. Spend every day with her. You may leave at 2:55pm today. Records are gone"
I was crying and he left me in his office alone to compose myself.
I don't know how paperwork like that works but I know he shredded them and I've never heard a word from anyone there.
My classmates in creative writing class did write me and Mom letters but that's the last I heard. I walked out of school that day never to return. Off record with no one in trouble.
My focus was saving my mom.
I told her what Happened at school that night.
I told her there was no use in her arguing about it. It was done and I was free and would help her from then on...
She smiled and hugged me.
That next week was full of appointments and information..
This season of our life wasn't welcomed. We never asked for it. We faced it head on...
Clinging to each other and Jesus.
We sure would need Him more and more as time passed...
You don't know how strong you must be until being strong is the only option you have....
This was the beginning of many ends.
I was never the same girl. Mom was promoted to a fight for her life and I knew I was going to find a way to save her. I had too.
And I tried...
Monday, January 15, 2018
It was hard to believe that in just two and a half months, I had a new life that I enjoyed more than I ever thought possible.
I was in school and had made several friends. I was in several classes with people older than me. I fit in just fine with them. I was even making decent grades. I excelled in computer class and creative writing class. Mom and I had moved across the road from where we lived originally with my grandma, into this cute white ,2 bedroom house.
Mom spent her free time, sprucing the place up as she always had in our homes. She worked a lot as a housekeeper for government buildings.
There was some work that needed to be done on the kitchen and outside and though she was capable of doing anything and everything, she didn't have a lot of extra time or money. So she decided to ask Chris to fix our floor and the banaster outside. He built homes for a living at the time so he was the right person to do the job. She insisted on paying him and he insisted on her not paying him... Two of the more stubborn people I ever knew. Their cute, friendly arguments were hilarious. Arguing about what time "dinner" was . Chris insisted dinner and supper were opposite of what mom said. They eventually agreed to disagree on that.
Over time, my interest in school became lessened as the days went on. I wanted to be with Chris. I had no interest in being at school.
I met a girl who was two years older than me . She was known around there as a trouble making, drinking, female and the second mom met her ,mom told me " that girl isn't your real friend. She is only out for herself and you both together are nothing but trouble. Stay away from her". I argued that. I saw her as a friend.
Telling me no about something wasn't working for me. She had a car and was not afraid to dip out on school to go do sketchy things.
Mom sent me to school on the bus and the girl was waiting in her car from me to get off the bus and walk out the side door of the school so we could go swimming. Our plan worked flawlessly. I wanted to go see Chris. He knew nothing of our schemes. He wouldn't have approved. So off to Chris's we went.
The look on his face after looking at his watch, then back at me told me he wasn't happy I skipped school. I told him I just wanted to spend the day with him instead. After a little while, he chilled out. I asked him if we could get some drinks and go swimming. I had planned everything out so I could be home before Mom got there and make it seem as if I went to school.
Smirnoff ice and swimming sure beat being in a classroom all day. Chris asked me to not make that a habit. Sure..
We had a blast as always. I sobered up and was taken home. My mom didn't suspect anything out of the ordinary for me.
That weekend Chris and a couple planned for us all to have a double date-camping trip, at the girl's family lake spot in their RV. I knew mom wouldn't ever allow me to spend the night with Chris so I had to improvise... Lie.
I asked her if I could attend a sleepover at the new girl's house I skipped school with that week. I told Mom it was all girls and would be all night. She wanted to confirm with the girls mom.
I always had things figured out. So I had the girl whose RV we were using, call Mom and act like the other girls mom. It worked. I told Mom thanks and I would see her sometime the next day. I didn't have a cell phone so she only had my word to go on and the only phone we had between the four of us to call if needed.
I was so excited. We drove down to the lake with this nice RV. Stopping at the liquor store and fast food joints on the way.
Once there, it was getting dark. We unpacked and started to get our things settled inside. The guys started a fire in the fire pit.
I had been mixing alcoholic beverages for awhile now so I had plenty experience of making everyone an amazing drink.
The later it got,the closer it came to us having to go inside to sleep. I had liquid courage by then and my nervousness had waved goodbye to me at Margaretta#3. And was far away by tequila shot #4.
It made for an interesting first night with Chris.
Not any of us slept much that night.
Two bedroom RV with a bathroom, shower and kitchen was incredibly awesome. It was hard to leave the next day. I had to prepare myself for Mom's questions about my all girl sleepover..
It wasn't like I enjoyed lying about these things but the truth wasn't comfortable to tell her. Plus I didn't want her mad at Chris. It wasn't his idea or fault. He never forced me to do anything. He was my voice of reason almost always.
Going from the best night/weekend ever to acting like I had stayed up all night talking about girl stuff and having pillow fights was a huge jump.
It was that weekend I went from liking Chris alot to falling in love with him.
I was already planning another trip overnight with him.
That week at school,the computer class I was in, needed students to pay a fee to continue the particular lesson. So mom gave me the money for the class. I had every intention on paying for it also.
But then I had an idea yet again.. I called school skipping friend and had her pick me up from my house after mom left for work that morning and have her take me to Chris again.
He had spent his money on us that weekend and wasn't getting paid until that Friday. I wanted to go drinking and swimming again. I didn't tell anyone how I aquired the money to pay for the alcohol and they didn't ask. We spent half of my computer class money on more alcohol. Smirnoff ice isn't cheap at all. But I wouldn't drink anything else. Off to the swimming hole again.
That next weekend Chris said there would be a party in the mines. I was frustrated because I knew mom wouldn't let me go. He was old enough to not have to answer to any parent so he could come and go as he pleased. I felt like I was mature enough to not have to answer for anything also. I was almost 16. I knew more than my mom...
I knew it all.
I conjured up yet another plan and lie to my mom about what I was doing and where. She didn't have reason to not believe me so she let me go to a late movie that would turn into another sleepover with all girls. I had to make up names for these imaginary girls. I was a big fat liar.
Alcohol and lots of people in the middle of nowhere doesn't mix well. Guys I didn't know were hitting on me not knowing I was dating Chris. Someone they wouldn't dare mess with. They found out quickly who I was dating and it wasn't a pleasant sight. Hours of dancing and hit and miss fights, with drinking included, is tiring. No one had a tent. Everyone but a few left for home and we decided to stay. None of us were capable of safely driving anywhere. The only choice was to park the truck by the fire pit and sleep in the bed of the truck... In September, the days are hot but the nights, not so much. It wasn't comfortable. But Chris and I made the best of it.
When I woke up to the sound of birds chirping, my eyes saw nothing but blue sky. I panicked briefly. Why wasn't I in my room?
Why was I outside?
Why am I sleeping on a cold bottom of a bed of a truck with a ball hitch that was in the strangest of places? Where are the rest of my clothes? Why do I smell like a BBQ pit and alcohol?
Ohhhhh. Now I know. Once I looked over and saw Chris passed out, it all came back.. or most of it. Jumping up and off the tailgate, I was searching for a towel or blanket or anything. I found some of my clothes. Enough to cover myself and figure out what time it was. I woke Chris up telling him I had to call Mom before she came searching for me.
That was enough cause to get him moving. There were no cell phones either had to use.
The truck started moving and doors opened. Two people that did not come there with each other,come wobbling out. Looking as confused as I was. The other two people that the two from inside the truck had came with were on the ground together.
I couldn't help myself.. I said " well, looks like I misplaced most of my clothes and you four misplaced and switched out your girls."
They didn't see the humor.
Chris and I got ourselves together enough to take me home. I still didn't know what time it was or if mom had tried finding me.
The walk of shame is always the worst. But to do it in front of your mom is really bad. She invited Chris inside. She seemed fine. She asked how my night was at the all girl sleepover.
I was hoping she wouldn't question me too much. I felt horrible physically. Hangovers aren't fun. I was terrified she would question Chris. She asked him" so how was your night"?
He shook his head. She asked how we met up since we weren't at the same place. Chris just stood there I wasn't feeling well and wasn't on top of all the lies I had told. I told her I called him to come get me that morning. She turned to him. " Well that was awful nice of you to go get my daughter from her sleepover".
Chris said nothing.
Mom asked " so, Tiffany, you were there all night? You weren't with Chris"?
I said no.
Mom wasn't an idiot. So she said " no to which question"?
Then I became bratty and told her to leave me alone and stop giving me the third degree so early.
She smirked. Now I was really worried. Why is she smirking like that!?
Mom said" Tiffany, it's 3:20pm. I don't consider that early. Maybe it's just me though".
I snapped back . " Well excuse me, I haven't checked the time. I haven't been awake long"!!
Mom said " look, I'm not as stupid as you think I am. Other than the fact you two have spent almost every day with each other and are extremely close, you both have black soot on your faces and arms and your top is inside out and backwards, your underwear is hanging out of your front pocket and you have a hickey the size of Texas on your neck. Tell me again you weren't together last night and probably last weekend also".
Chris's face was red as a tomato, I know my mouth dropped to my shoes.
Crap. Now what genuis.
She told us both to sit down.
I was afraid to protest it.
Calmly mom said " you know if you tell me the truth,no matter what it's about, you'll be in far less trouble than if you lie and then keep lying. Because it isn't just one little lie. You have to keep up that lie with more lies and then it comes to you lying to my face. I didn't raise you to be a liar. "
Now I felt bad.
Chris chimed in and I'm thankful.
He apologized to her and explained where we went and told her most everything. Leaving out inappropriate details. I told Mom I was sorry for lying and knew the truth would have been better.
She decided I was grounded and would have to do all chores before I could see Chris each day. That sucked, but fine .
She said if I lied again, she would stop me from seeing him.
It went better than I anticipated.
Mom really liked Chris and was supportive of us but didn't want me to do stupid things.
Chris would come in a few times a week after school while mom was home and mom would cook these amazing meals for us . I was a picky eater but he wasn't so she was thrilled to make food that someone would enjoy.
I quit lying to her in big ways. I would not detail certain things because, well , I just didn't.
Fall break was around the corner and I planned to spend time with him then instead of skip out on school.
Lessons learned are always learned the hard way. Or it was for me anyway. Mom didn't deserve to be lied to. She was too good to me and I could be honest with her.
Chris continuesly worked on the things mom asked him to do at the house and I was finally in a place where I didn't have to fake a smile.
I spent time with Mom that I hadn't before and was building a relationship with Chris and rebuilding one with mom. Things were going really well for once...
It's too bad that good times don't always last as you would like them too. If I would have known that within 6 weeks, our world would be flipped upside down, I would have slowed down and taken the happiness in more.
Time is definitely not on my side. Not then,nor ever.
God was preparing me for future tragedy, setting the stage for events I never wanted and I didn't see it coming...
Saturday, January 13, 2018
By mid August 2007' I had become closer with my new friend C. She and I hung out every time I came to see Chris because he was staying with them. Chris and I became close and I was all in with my feelings for him.
My mom even met C and she liked her and C liked mom. Heck, everyone basically liked mom.
She was 5'4 , blonde hair,hazel blue/green eyes and didn't take crap from anyone. She was kind and would help anyone but don't cross her. She wasn't afraid to tell you how she felt. She wasn't rudely blunt but told things straight up.
She wasn't intimidated by anyone. She would take me to C's home and get out and talk to everyone there. I was honest with mom. I didn't tell details.
I think that's called lying by omission? 😁
I could talk to her about anything. We discussed having me put on the birth control pills since I was getting close with Chris and almost 16 years old.
She invited Chris over to our house for dinners. The photo below of mom is when her and I and Chris were cooking out on the back patio. She hated having her photos taken. As you can see her ducking her face and holding her hand up. 😁
This was the evening Chris asked to speak with my mom.
My heart was racing. Holding the gate open for mom, they sat on a swing and had a heart to heart. I couldn't help but listen in.
I was scared mom would put her foot down too much and make Chris stay away.
Mom said to Chris" she's my baby girl. She's a handful and we've been through a lot together. I want her focus on school and not doing what she was in TN. You seem like you were raised properly and I have seen how Tiffany lights up when you're around. You're all she talks about. I have defended you and I always will as long as you treat my baby girl right. I don't want her coming home really late. I don't want her drinking and driving,she only has a permit so she needs more driving experience but drinking should never be involved. I don't want her drinking anywhere. When she's with you, I expect you to be responsible with her".
Hearing mom's rules made my stomach turn. I just knew I wasn't worth it to him and he would leave and never have anything to do with me again. I became mad at her for talking to him. I interrupted them and basically told my mom to shut up and leave him alone. I told her I wasn't a baby and he didn't have to listen to another word.
That is when I saw something in Chris I never had in anyone I'd ever been with.. Respect for my mother. In such a way I was speechless.
He looked right at me after I said those things and says " your mom does not have to shut up, that was rude and bratty to say. I DO want to hear what she has to say. With the way you're acting and talking to her, I'd much rather hear her than listen to another word come from your bossy ass mouth. I will turn away so she can whip your ass for being such a bossy,brat. You're welcome to go inside while we finish talking. I do like you a lot,but if this is how you're going to treat Wanda because she's talking to me, I won't come around anymore. You should aplogise and go back on the patio."
I just stood there my mouth hanging open. I looked down at my mom who looked shocked and then her smirk to show how impressed she was by Chris.
I sounded like porky pig as I finally spat out" um, I'm sorry Mama, won't happen again".
And I turned away like a puppy with its tail tucked in between its legs, face burning with embarrassment,back up on the patio.
He didn't yell nor raise his voice. He was Stern and I knew he meant every word.
I thought to myself' what in the hell just happened'!??
They talked until it was getting dark. I had cleaned up the plates and scraps of food. Washed up the glasses and sat down waiting on them to decide my fate. I couldn't be mad at either of them because I was being a bossy brat. I had always been rude to mom when she was only doing her best for me.
I was dumbfounded at how he defended my mom and how much of an ass I made of myself.
My ex's weren't mean to my mom but they never were like Chris was to her.
They finally came back on to the patio, interrupting my thoughts. Chris asked if I was ok.
Um.. I'm not sure.
He said " I didn't want to hurt your feelings but you were being mean."
I just shook my head in agreement and embarrassment. Mom sat down by us both and said we had her blessing to become an official couple. She told us not to worry about the naysayers. She said she was my mom and as long as she agreed and we follow her rules, everything would work out. She looked at me and said " I believe there's something special about him. If you mess it up, you'll regret it. Take things slow and seriously. School comes first. God comes before that and you're still my daughter and will respect me."
I agreed and hugged her.
She let Chris and I wrap things up for the night while she went inside.
I apologised to Chris for being snotty.
He said " I truly am into you. Your mom is awesome and doesn't deserve disrespectful crap from you especially. I don't want to distract you from doing great things in your life "
See, apparently my mom told him about the modeling agencies who had contacted her and I about me going to Nashville TN and Montgomery AL for an audition to model for several companies.
He wanted me to go for it but I wasn't sure about all of it. She also told him about my writings. I had written a few things and submitted them to country music stars and their agents to be a song writer for them. I was supposed to meet up with a great song writer in Nashville the week after the modeling thing. So Chris wanted me to go for those and not distract me going forward with it.
I told him I wasn't sure I wanted to pursue either and I did know I wanted to be with him.
He told me to sleep on it and call him the next day after school...
He left for his home shortly after.
Boy. I had alot to think about. That was an eventful day.
Here I am. New girl in town. I had a good friend C. I met several people. School had started. I met an amazing guy that surpassed everything I could ever imagine AND my mom approved of him and what he stood for. He respected me and my mom and wanted what was best for me. I was overwhelmed. But in a good way.
All I knew was that I could not mess things up with Chris. I was in deep before I realized and by that time,it was too late.
Best part of all was I hadn't slept with him yet. A guy that didn't seek me out for that reason and he stuck around. Mind blown..
I shared a bed with my mom still. Yes. At almost 16,I still slept with my mom in her bed.❤
We talked before we slept each night and after all of that I knew we would have a lot to discuss. She told me " Tiffany,honey, I know you're young. I know you have a long life ahead. You've been through so much and I am sorry. I believe God has a mighty plan for us. Especially you and I believe Chris is real and isn't like anyone you ever been with. Take things slow but I think he's someone you don't want to let slip through your hands. I'm so glad you're back with me. We need each other. Please know all I've done was my best and for you. This is your chance to have a life that I only pray for, for you. This is your chance baby. A chance for a blessed life."
I felt teary eyed so to lighten the mood I said " mama, you sound like that song by Reba. "Fancy".
We both laughed. 💚
We prayed and went to sleep.
The next morning,it was like God put in my heart what I needed. I just knew this move was by far the best opportunity to have a life I never thought I could have. I was putting the past behind me and moving forward. Mom was in a good place and I was stepping into mine.
Sometimes there's some things I wish I could freeze in time. The happiness we felt is one thing I would want to freeze and never let it go...
Thursday, January 11, 2018
I think it's ironic that my age didn't seem to matter much when people put me through so much. I know circumstances and situations out of my control,sure didn't care about my age. Yet my age mattered when I was having fun and finding my way again. I know I never saw age. So when new guy Chris and I started hanging out more and more, I never brought up my age nor asked his.
When it became evident that he was interested in me, my age became an issue with people who really weren't involved in my decision making. Yes I was 15, going on 25. I didn't feel 15. Most could not even tell I was so young.
The day it was revealed to Chris about my age, was the day I noticed his genuine side. He came to me and told me he was "told" about me ..
I just knew my chances with him in the future were shot. To my surprise, he said it didn't matter to him. He said if we became more than friends he would talk to my mom but until then, friends is what we were and he wouldn't go further until we both agreed and of course,he have a conversation with mom. Whew!!! Dodge a bullet on that one.
At this point,I had been there around a month. Chris and I hung out almost daily. I would go to where he lived. The place I met him the day I was baked outta my mind and puking. He lived there with a couple. I'll call them 'C' and 'G'.
They were older than me, of course and were really cool people. I hadn't met anyone like 'C'. She was beautiful, outgoing and one of a kind. She didn't take any crap from anyone and could take down any full grown man without issue if she wanted. Her guy, 'G' was laid back when he wasn't working. C became a very good friend to me. She knew my age and was extremely protective of me. Protective of Chris also. She put her stamp of approval on Chris and I becoming more than friends, before anyone else. She and I would color each other's hair and have girl time,while G and Chris would do their thing. She knew Chris longer than I did and he told her things.
One day her and I were talking and coloring our hair and she said " you know, Chris is the settle down type of guy. He isn't someone who sleeps with random chicks, or even alot of chicks. He's quite and only is interested in females he believes he will marry some day".
I'm sure my facial expressions gave my internal thought away.
Marry!?! Settle down!?! Sure I wanted a committed, faithful,stable relationship but I hadn't thought about marriage. I hadn't had any examples of successful, happy marriages to go by to even consider that as a possibility for myself.
I told her that I wasn't looking for a husband.
She basically told me that if I was going to play games, Chris wasn't the one to do that with.
I told her I really liked him but we hadn't talked too much of future ideas.
She said " he's different. You're different. Mark my words, you will marry him and be happy"
Ok C , you've had too much marijuana.
Our conversation had escalated quickly 😂. Chris and G came inside and decided we all should go swimming. I wasn't used to the places there and I was completely shocked when I was riding out in Cole mines to get to where we were going to swim.
I was thinking I had gotten myself in a pickle. Going to a strange place, with people I hadn't known two months,into the middle of nowhere with woods surrounding us.
My mom told me my first week there that I better not get off of the paved road way because I would get lost and she couldn't find me... Now I understood. I never listened. After what felt like forever, and a beer run, we finally stopped at this pond ,lake looking place in the middle of gravel road and trees surrounding the area.. this was the end of July heat and I was so ready to cool off in the gorgeous water..
I had had a few Smirnoff ice drinks so my judgement wasn't all there . No one forced me to drink. That was all on me.
C and I would share the floats and G and Chris would share theirs. I found out quickly that the body of water I was in, seemed to not have a bottom.
Here I was. Half buzzed, Smirnoff ice in one hand, paddling with the other, straddling a shared float with C in the middle of the bottomless pit of water. 😁
I was waiting on Chris to get in with us.
C then tells me that G cannot swim... I had never knew of anyone grown that could not swim. I thought it was funny. So I'm struggling to keep my head above water and hold my alcoholic beverage. Then she tells me Chris cannot swim either!! What!?! That was the cause of me nearly drowning. Laughing, straddling a shared float using one hand in a bottomless pit of water isn't easy.
When she laughed, it was contagious, so I prepared to drown, right then and there. Laughter is tripled when alcohol is involved I suppose. That and the half a pill I took before had kicked in too.
We finally made it to shore where the non swimming guys were.
I couldn't talk Chris into getting passed his knees in the water. 😂
We had a blast. The first full day in such a long time that I genuinely laughed. This new place was turning out ok after all.
I found out within the next few weeks that new girl in town somehow threatened some who were from there. Trouble followed me no matter where I went. This time from people I never knew or hadn't met but a couple of times. Most everyone I met liked me. Others not so much. Especially when Chris and I became more than what they thought we should. Jealousy is an ugly thing.
I had been through the ringer enough by this time and their ridiculousness wasn't going to stop me from seeing Chris. He made it clear that the only person's opinion that mattered when it came to he and I were my mom's.
I seriously had never met anyone who respected me or my mom as he did.
He knew I was there because life hadn't been great for me. I was used to disrespect and being used. Knowing guys only want one thing and will do and say whatever to full fill those wants.
The more I spent with him, the more I fell for him.
I couldn't talk him into anything. He never forced himself on me. Never came on to me in ways the guys before him had. I honestly thought there was something Wrong with me. And I guess there was. My views of males were so messed up that I assumed if he wasn't trying to sleep with me by week #2, he was gay, or wasn't interested In me. It's funny now but I see how sad my thinking was. I wasn't shown differently. So I went with what I had always known. I realized Chris was a good guy. I didn't know those exisisted. I didn't know how to act after seeing he actually liked me for more than just getting me in bed.
I almost messed up with him because of that. I started acting how I would with guys before him.
It didn't set well with him and 'C' let me know quickly that I was screwing up.
I didn't think I cared.
Not seeing or talking to him for awhile cured that. I was now pursuing him. I felt awful that I acted in that way all because I didn't know how to accept his genuineness. It took some time but I finally got back into his good graces. He's stubborn so that wasn't easy.
We started officially dating that same summer. Our first date night, I had went shopping with Mom for new clothes, makeup and shoes. I was all dolled up and when mom and I pulled up in my white top, white shoes new outfit, Chris was sitting in our yard on a fourwheeler!
Mom laughed and said " looks like white won't work for this date". Haha.
Chris said " you look great but are you wearing that to go mud riding"?
Needless to say,I ran inside and changed. I rode on the back of his fourwheeler to the same Cole mines we swam at. I wasn't aware I could get so muddy,so quickly. It was fun and one of the best days I'd had.
It was always an adventure with him.
The adventures would come in all shapes and sizes with time....
Falling in love came fast. But it came easy with him.