I was born on April 30th 1986. That makes me 30, almost 31. I’ve been through a lot in those 30 years. My life has been long and hard. There have been flickers of good times of course but when I think back on my life, it’s mostly terrifying. A nightmare.
I was born to a mother who was abandoned by her father. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen that man. He never made an effort. He never stepped foot in my home. I never sat on his lap or held his hand. He never held me or lifted me high above his head. He never danced with me, laughed with me or told me he was proud of me. He had no reason to be proud of me. He didn’t know me.
My mother very rarely spoke of her father. She still doesn’t. He’s been gone for years now. I remember hearing that he passed away. I didn’t care. I felt no sadness. It didn’t change anything in my life. I don’t miss him, I don’t think of him.
I don’t remember what my grandfather looked like. I don’t know his name. I get angry thinking of that man and all the damage he caused to my mother. She wanted to love him. She would’ve loved him. My mom’s heart is huge. She can love anyone. Even that stranger…
My Mother’s mother was a hard worker. She had to be. Her children were home alone a lot which explains my Mama’s independent nature. After my grandmother raised her kids she left the country to serve as a missionary in Mexico.
I never saw much of her either. She came to visit and stayed in our home once a year. I loved her. She told interesting stories, she sometimes brought us things from Mexico. She was kind of cold. She was a bit closed off. We talked and had fun times but we never were super close. I’ve always thought she was so mysterious. I’m her namesake, Jean is my middle name and her first name.
There’s a story that I’ve heard a lot, my Dad and my Grandmother dated once or twice before my Mom and Dad did. I’m sure their relationship wasn’t serious but it’s still weird to think of how all that happened. I wonder what my Grandma Jean’s reaction was.
My Dad is 15 years older than my mom. He was raised in the “old days” he was in his 40’s when I was born. His family was very poor and my Dad had it hard growing up. He tells stories that I love to listen to. His memories help me understand him. I try to picture it in my head, it’s all black and white of course. His parents passed away before I was born, I think. I don’t recall ever meeting them. I’ve seen pictures and I’ve heard tons about my grandparents.
I picture them and their personalities. I know they had to have had a pretty good sense of humor. They did raise my father and my aunts and uncles. Funniness just seems to run in the family, they had to get it from somewhere. My dad is the funniest person I’ve ever known. He’s got wit and sarcasm like it’s his job.
I remember thinking no one could hurt my Daddy. He was a HUGE man. Everything about him was badass. He wasn’t afraid to fight. He was tough and strong. I’ve heard whispers of him being in a motorcycle gang. I’ve never been scared of anything with him around.
It’s funny that a little girl can take a man like him and turn him into mush. My sisters and I had that man wrapped around our little fingers. He adored us and we knew it. No one ever messed with us, if they did we always threatened to have our dad go after them.
I used to crawl up on my Dad’s lap and listen to his big ol belly rumble and growl. It soothed me. I had anxiety even as a child, I would get so upset at the thought of him dying. He promised me that he would wait until I grew up to die, as if it were up to him. Still, I believed him.
My parents were married for a year before my oldest sister Brandi was born, 2 years later Sandi came along. That’s when they decided they were finished. No more kids. That was the plan.
April 30th, 1986, their surprise baby was born. They gave me the first name that popped into their heads. “Randi”. “Brandi, Sandi and Randi.” Three girls. We were “the girls” to everyone. I rarely got called by the correct name. By anyone. Even my parents.
I can honestly say that up until 5 my life was pretty great. I was too young to understand or remember arguments or fights between my parents. I’m sure they argued because one night my mom loaded us in the car in the middle of the night in search of my dad. We found him. He was in his office with another woman.
I can still remember like it was yesterday, standing in the school lunch line when it hit me like a ton of bricks, “My parents aren’t going to live together anymore!?” It made no sense. 5 year olds have trouble processing adult problems. I didn’t understand what was happening.
After the divorce my life changed quick and in a hurry. Nothing was the same, nothing was safe. It was the first of many things that would shape who I am.
I will be writing a little piece of my life story at a time. I’ve had so many people tell me I should do it so here goes! Welcome to crazy town.
TO BE CONTINUED…