Taking a break from talking about autism, service dogs, 4 Paws and fundraising here. It should be a given that most of my posts will be rambly at this point and this one is no exception.

25 years ago today my father and my first stepmother got custody of my brothers and I. It’s a strange kind of anniversary to think about.

There will always be a lot of “what if”s that surround my childhood. This is one of the glaring ones. The day my father got custody should have struck fear into my ten-year-old heart that a rough life was going to turn into a life that was just as rough if not worse but that’s not a natural way for a child so young to think. My father, stepmother and her family mocked our world mercilessly and made us feel less than human in those first hours that we were to become a “family”.

When I was a child I always thought my father would somehow “get better”. I had been seeing his worst since my earliest memories and yet, when you’re a child you hold out hope. You believe fairy tales exist and that somehow, you’ll get to a point where you have the loving sort of family other people say exists. That never happened, for us. Things never changed, no matter how much there were times we were fooled that it might. They got worse, they levelled off, then they’d get worse again… Life was a constant round about of abuse then peace then abuse then peace.*

My first stepmother… Wow. If this woman is still out there, I sincerely hope she is disallowed somehow from having contact with children. Every single day for years she made it a point to remind me how awful I was, how useless, how fat, how ugly, how pathetic, how I’d grow up to be old and alone. She shamed me because of my body, because of growing up, because of so many things no human being deserved to be shame over. With 20+ years perspective on all of these actions on her part I can see she was just taking out her probable self loathing on me. It was still nothing any child ever deserved.

And my father saw no problem with bring women that were bad for all three of us into our lives. We were annoying accessories.

And this was my childhood. And 25 years ago set the stage for so many struggles. I will always wonder… what if, what if, what if. I cannot change the past, but I am human. I will always wonder.


*= Not all of my childhood was terrible. I had two wonderful grandmothers, even though one left my life through no fault of her own long before she should have. I had the wonderful parents of my bestest friend and other adults who stepped up where the people who should have cared for me most failed. By the grace of God I got two women who came into my life who suffered my father but who were always true and honest to me. I had some amazing friends, and their families too. Nothing is every completely terrible.

The comments are not turned off because I do not love my readers but because this is pretty vastly personal. If you feel the need to reach me hit me up at mamabear@jbearandme.com.