Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Angie: A Mom Restored

A lifelong friend of 25 years is sharing today! Angie and I met when I was about 13 years old, we were going to the same church and middle school at the time, and she was 1 grade ahead of me. She and I have so much history I don’t even know where to start. We became very close friends pretty quickly and maintained it for over 6 years, she even moved from Clearwater to Clewiston with us for a short time. She is honestly a part of our family; she calls my parents “Mom & Dad” and has always had a place in our home and lives.  We did lose touch off and on for several years, but I love that we have always been able to pick up where we left off. I was trying to find some pictures of us growing up and managed to find a few, considering Angie and I were both blessed (or cursed) with a ton of naturally curly hair- every picture seemed to be of big, bigger, and biggest hair, lol.
Angie and I spoke a lot as she was answering questions for this post, and I was saddened to discover that as close as we were, I never knew how much turmoil she was going through inside. Angie was always the one to have fun and make you laugh; I have so many wonderful memories of our times together. There were times I was bit jealous of her ability to make people smile, whether it is through fun or her unbelievable voice. God has blessed Angie (and pretty much everyone in her family) with an ability to sing effortlessly- she could win American Idol at the tryouts alone! No matter, on the inside she was being torn apart.
Angie shared with me that she does want pity, but just wants people to know and see God in her journey. She is not proud of the choices she has made, but she is proud to show God’s faithfulness to her and her children. Angie is the story of restoration….

My name is Angie, I am a single Mom of two boys, Caleb is 17 and Joshua is 11. I come from a very complicated family, and many of the components of it had a negative effect on me. My Dad was always out working 2 or 3 jobs and my Mom had to raise 6 kids pretty much alone. Being the baby of the family, I kind of saw everything happening in the home- the good, bad, crazy and the ugly. At the age of 8 and again at 10, I was also subjected to some of the “ugly”- I was molested.
Considering I was already a very angry lil’ girl, these circumstances caused my anger to grow- which also influenced the angry, hurt, and bitter teen I developed into. In my later teen years, I was raped- and feared many things as a result. Being the product of not only the sexual abuse but observing and being a part of so much other unhealthy stuff in my family, produced a girl in her late teens and early twenties, drinking, smoking, dating (being with many different men). During this time, I became pregnant with my son, Caleb.
My Mom basically raised Caleb until the relationship began with my youngest son, Joshua’s, Father. That was a regrettable 3 years of my life. With so much pain in me that I never dealt with, I was everything but a healthy Mom to my boys. There was so much turmoil on the inside, there were moments that actually thought of killing myself and ending it all.
I wish I could say that all of the abuse ended with me, but then Caleb was also sexually abused as a child. The anger with my family and circumstances turned to hate with a vengeance, yet no one on the outside knew of my personal hell. You see I became really good at being fake, I played church so well. I continued to sing on worship teams and taking my boys and myself to church regularly.
Two in a half years ago I did finally say I couldn’t do it anymore- I was tired of being fake and living a lie. There had to be more to life, God had to love me and He had to be real. That was all I had to hold onto, that God had to be and have more. I made a choice to go on a journey to uncover, for the first time, whom I really was. The hardest part was to stop looking at myself as the victim and to take responsibility for my choices and myself. This journey sucks, it hurts and sometimes I have wanted to quit. But then I see my boys and myself changing and thriving, and again realize that we are all better for uncovering the ugly and making new discoveries. Will this journey ever be complete? That’s a big, NO! We all remain on a journey of embracing who we are, holding ourselves accountable, and implementing changes, as necessary- finally doing these things is the best decision I have ever made.

What is your biggest pet peeve with parenting?
The blessed toilet lid battle is probably my biggest pet peeve! Do u know how many times I have almost fallen in! Now I have a note in red marker right above the toilet reminding the boys to put the seat down..it works.

Do you have a funny/embarrassing story with your boys?
When Josh was 3, he and I and two of my sisters went to Village Inn to eat. Our waitress had like three teeth total, Josh found it necessary to point out that he had all of his teeth to her. What do you say to that?
With Caleb, we were also in a restaurant for a big group family thing. While waiting in line for our table, there was a black family waiting in front of us. When they were called to be seated, Caleb followed them all the way to their table. It wasn’t until they were sitting down that he realized it wasn’t us, it was hysterical!
Given the opportunity, what- if anything- would you do differently as a Mom?
Gosh, that is hard. I did the best I knew how at the time. But today, I know more and I
know better than I did then. Probably having more patience. I continue to struggle
today and I am having to practice it a lot.

What are your “non-negotiables” when it comes to your kids?
How many can I list here? 1.) Church 2.) Homework 3.) Eating 2 out 3 items on plate 4.) Toothpaste lid always on the toothpaste 4.) No laundry on the floor.

What was your biggest fear when you found out you were going to be a Mom?
My biggest fear, because of the circumstances I was in at the time, was that I would fail them. Although, I did make some choices, I did not fail them and am proud of the Mom I have evolved into and of the young men I am raising.
Caleb is a great football player, he helps in children’s church, he always apologizes for any outbursts he may have, and he loves his family unconditionally. Josh is very compassionate and tender. He loves to sing (just like his Mom) and is a very friendly young man. I am proud of who they are becoming and it brings me peace and joy to know that, even with my imperfections, I had something to do with that.
The boys and I had a heart to heart about a year ago. I had to ask them to forgive me for my choices and things that had transpired through out the years. That was a pivotal point in our relationship, a real turning point. We talk and they share everything with me, no judgments just lots of love and guidance. I love my job being a Mom now.

Do you have a funny “labor” moment?
With Caleb, I kept yelling, “I need to poop..” during the pushing stage. Finally, the doctor yelled back for me to “go ahead and poop already!” (This is just Mom’s reading this, right?)
With Josh, I had to have a C-section, I refused to go into surgery until the doctor found and showed me the authorization to tie my tubes! It was a very funny moment.

What is your “secret” addiction or obsession?
My former addiction would have been smoking. Now it is painting my nails!
I have to have my nails painted, I feel naked without it! I have every shade of nail polish imaginable!

One thing that you do for your kids- because you love them- but you absolutely dread it every time!?
Making Caleb peanut butter n jelly sandwiches. As much as I dislike it and he is more than big enough/old enough to do it himself, I still do it for him- probably my way to keep him “my baby” a bit longer. With Josh, I hate, hate, hate, did I say hate; I hate doing math homework with him.

What is something you said you would NEVER do with/to your children that you have found yourself doing?
Nagging, I always said I wouldn’t nag my kids (because my Mom was a bit of a nagger). So, instead I have taken to posting notes all over the house, that way, instead of opening mouth to nag- or repeat myself- I just point at the note. Pretty ingenious if I do say so myself!

Your biggest Mommy “Aha” moment?
When I saw Caleb in the ultra sound for the first time, I was flooded with so much love for him. In the beginning, I was so ashamed and scared that I was a pregnant and single and not in a relationship- not to mention the shame that I felt from parents and family. It was pretty obvious that I had been a huge disappointment. So, I spent the first few months (in a home for “unwed Mothers”) of that pregnancy trying everything to miscarry the child. Seeing Caleb’s beating heart and watching my child on that screen changed everything.

Do you ever deal with “Mommy Guilt”? Why?
I fight Mommy guilt daily. I have made some pretty crappy choices in my life and those choices did effect my lil’ guys. I do the” if only game” a lot. I have realized though, that game doesn’t help my boys or me. That is an area I am really working on and it has gotten better.

Do you remember your first thought as you held/saw your child(ren) for the first time?
With Caleb, his head had been “stuck” in the canal for a while so he had quite a cone head going on. I found myself praying that his head wouldn’t stay that way.
With Josh, I instantly checked out his head! What relief that it looked perfect and he didn’t have a cone!

What is the best piece of advice you could give to a new Mother?
Get away from being caught up in what Dr. Phil says the books say. Rather, enjoy and embrace every moment, the good the bad and the ugly.  Try not to have to high of expectations for yourself. Admit when your overwhelmed, ask for help, take naps, and avoid perfection.

1 comment:

  1. Angie, I am so proud of the beautiful woman you have become. Through the struggles we grow stronger and stronger each day. Your added benefit is that you turned your life completely over to Jesus. I remember when you use to hang out at my house I use to love it when you'd start singing....you are beautiful and I love you...Nana