ImPerfect Blog

My Peak Bottom (chapter 10)

“What did you do?” he asked with an intensity I had never heard before. I was instantly put on the defense.

“What?” I responded.

“What did you do to Jacob?” he continued. I was confused, but now desperate to know what was happening.

“Tell me what’s going on.” I said.

“I won’t tell you, until you tell me what you did first”. My Ex continued in a way that scared me. I was frazzled by his questioning. I had no idea what he was referring to. Feeling near panic, I was ready to admit to anything just to find out what was going on.

“What did you do to Jacob? I knew you were going to hurt him." He fumed.

"What are you talking about?" I asked again. 

"He is covered in bruises." my ex told me. 

I had to think. Then it hit me, "Oh MY GOD. The crib.” I stammered. “Oh my god, he got bruises from the crib, I put him in the crib last night. He was trying to escape. I found him hanging on the edge of it last night."

“That’s not it.” my ex replied with a harshness that I'd never heard before. “You did something to him. Admit it. What did you do to our son?” I had to prove that I did nothing and I didn’t even know what was going on. I was horrified. I still didn't know what was happening. 

My ex texted me photos of my son's legs and arms with bruises up the sides and along his torso. The another photo came in with a raw red bruise on a body part I couldn't identify. I was horrified. This was my baby, covered in bruises, sustained while I was trying to keep him safe in his crib so he might sleep.

Jacob hadn't been sleeping for about 2 months now. He was too big for his crib, yet not yet aware of "invisible wall" of the twin bed. He had spent the last 2 months popping out of bed every few minutes, it seemed like 100 or more times a night. We were both exhausted.

I had recently begun spending my nights laying on the floor next to Jacob's bed, trying to convince him to stay in and sleep. I needed relief and I had an idea. 

I went into the attic and gotten down Jacob's crib, with the help of my mother, who was helping despite being in a walker due to a recent knee replacement surgery. She and I erected the crib and placed the mattress on the floor, in hopes this might contain my son and help him have a safe place to sleep. 

I put him down about 8:30, he screamed and fussed about 15 minutes before I came in and found him hanging off of the crib. His left leg was hung over the top rail along with his left arm and shoulder. His right side dangling a few inches off the mattress. He was trying with all his might to get out of the crib. He was definitely not relaxing. I knew my brilliant solutions wasn't going to work. 

Jacob only spent a few hours a week with his father. My ex didn't request any more time than that. My son stayed exclusively with me, overnight. Jacob had recently spent one night with his dad, over the 4th of July, just so that I might regain some strength and have one nights sleep.

As my ex explained that Jacob was covered with bruises under his right arm and all along his legs. I was horrified. He assured me it wasn't the crib, it couldn't be that.  If it wasn't the crib was something else wrong with Jacob? I thought. Maybe a blood disorder? There are bruises, didn't Riley have bruises with the cancer, oh god, what about Riley?. . . my mind agonized about the possible horror we might face now with Jacob.

My ex continued to text me photos. He was adamant that I had done something to our son. I told him that if he thought something was seriously wrong with Jacob that he should take him to the emergency room and have him checked out. My ex said he would stay at home.

I immediately got in the car and called the nurse line to find out
about what condition might cause extreme bruising and drove straight to my old house.

When I arrived at the house, no one was there. Come to find out my ex had taken Jacob to the hospital and not told me. I showed up about a half hour after they had arrived.

I checked in at the window. “I’m here to be with my son. I need to know what’s going on.” I wasn’t allowed to go back with him. “There is an investigation.” I was told. You can’t see Jacob at this time.” I was stunned.

“I can’t see him? Why not?“ I thought.

"CPS has been called" the charge nurse said. "They are going to investigate."

So I waited in the waiting room, not sure what was going on with Jacob. I waited for hours. During that time I was questioned by the police, and the doctor and a nurse and then by the CPS representative. One of the nurses names was Ed, which made me feel a tiny bit better. 

My ex was in rare form. He told the CPS representative that I had been very angry and that he knew I was going to take it out on our child. He painted me as a monster to the woman.

I admitted that I thought the bruises took place while Jacob was in my custody. That it was the crib and that I had no idea trying to keep Jacob safe could cause him so much harm. I was devastated.

That night my ex was given custody of Jacob while the CPS nvestegation was going on. The man didn’t have a bed for our son. He didn’t have Jacobs blanket, no pajamas. Jacob had only spent the night with him once before on the 4th.

Then the real drama hit me, as we walked to the car my ex husband turns to me and says, “I’m Sorry.”

I was wrecked. “SORRY!!! YOU ARE SORRY!! Sorry for LYING about my character to the police, to the CPS lady.” I thought. I was bursting inside. But said nothing. I clipped Jacob in the carseat and let my ex husband drive my son away in my car.

I stood there and watched the taillights fade away. I couldn’t move.

As soon as they were out of sight I walked to the car I had driven and I broke down. It was an ugly cry, like a movie when  someone has lost their beloved. I melted into the pavement, losing the ability to stand, as I wailed. Somewhere between a wail and a cry, I sputtered trying to catch a breather in between my tears. My eye swelled my heart pounded.

I was angry, livid and scared. I had never before been betrayed. This was new to me. I relaxed that  the man I had married, who was in my mind supported to love and protect me, was willing to lie to the authorities to make sure he kept his "power and control" over me was insane. I never imagined a human could do such a brutal thing to another.

I was living my worst nightmare right then. I had always feared that my son would be taken form me. My ex's father had taken him, from his mother at 3 years old. My ex found out when he was 15 and saw his mothers name was on his birth certificate, didn't match the woman he called mom. I feared that my ex would do the same with our sweet boy. take him away from me. 

Now I had lost my son. He had just been taken from me. I wasn’t allowed to take him home. The authorities, got it wrong. They got it all wrong. And there was nothing I could do about it.

Jacob spent the weekend with his father, I was allowed to see him, but i couldn't face going into "our" house and seeing y son and leaving without him again. For those few days, I wore white. I stayed in constant prayer all weekend. I was in vigil that the truth would be known, that I had not harmed my son. I had only tried to help him and in so doing a horrible accident occurred. An accident had caused him to be covered in bruises.

Monday came and the CPS representative interviewed me at the house. I told her what had happened. Showed her the crib. She found no fault. Jacob came home later that day.

I can say this experience was the single worst experience I have ever had. My peak bottom. My son was taken away from me. It was my greatest fear. I lived through my greatest fear and survived.

Living through my greatest fear was a blessing, because it can made me invincible.

The Pain of Joy (Chapter 9)

"You know its easier to get an appointment with the President of the United States of America, than it is to get your to laugh." he said to me one day.

We had been dating about 4 weeks. I actually laughed at that statement. He was right, I didn't laugh easily. I took myself seriously. I took spiritual growth seriously. I tried hard. I still valued hard work.

His name was Ed, the tall dark and handsome man from the cafe. It seemed to me that every time we would see each other we would also see a shooting star. I thought it meant we were destined to be together. I think it was a metaphor for our relationship, it came in hot, and ended as quickly as it arrived. 

He was attentive and sweet to me, and Ed gave just me enough attention to make me feel desired. He was divorcing too, but still living in the house with his wife, so we never met at his place. I was living with my parents, so we rarely met at mine. We spent time together at the restaurant where he worked, he was making big plans, building his own business was his dream. I love supporting a dreamer, so I was intrigued. 

I began to make friends not only with Ed, but with his co-workers. Most of them were immigrant like he was. I wan't familiar with their native language and sometimes felt out of place in a culture that was not my own. Yet, I was accepted there. Everyone seemed to enjoy my company even of we didn't always understand one another.

I sometimes felt awkward, but I felt that way in my life most of the time. I was not quite myself yet, because I still didn't quite remember who I was. My identity had been shatter by the divorce and I was doing my best to piece together parts of myself I'd lost along the way. 

We would sometimes have small, private karaoke parties with the staff after the restaurant closed. I would listen to them play piano and sing traditional songs and then Ed would put on an old Michael Jackson hit and sing. It was so funny. This is where I started laughing on a regular basis.
 
Although my house was full of love, I didn't grow up in a home full of joy and laughter. I had great parents who both loved me fully, but something was always off. People at school described our family as "The Cleaver's", as though we were the famous family from the 50's show "Leave It To Beaver".

I knew there assessment of my family was not accurate, but there was nothing I could do or say to let anyone know what was missing for my brother and I. I knew we were not the "perfect" family and I resented being labeled as though we were.

I wasn't even sure what "it" was that was missing, I just knew something was off between my parents. I recognized it when I was about 12 years old. I knew my parents were committed to each other for sure, but they didn't seem to have any spark. They never embraced, they didn't laugh together, they rarely sat next to each other on the couch. There was no affection.

I remember one Christmas my mom kissed my dad and I freaked out "you kissed him!!", I screeched. "No I didn't.", she replied, not even recognizing her moment of affection with my father.

As a family we didn't laugh together. We supported one another. We ate dinners together and did activities as a family. We showed up for each other and valued each persons contribution to the family, yet we didn't value laughter. My parents valued hard work, good grades and achievement, the closest to affection I got from my dad was an occasional hug. He would provide really good feedback if I got A's on my report card, so I became a straight A student and remains so through college.

Back in the restaurant where Ed worked, I had just gotten in my car and was ready to make the short 2 mile drive home. We had just had a wonderful time laughing and goofing off with the people I now called friends.

Then it happened. I pulled out the parking lot and onto the road home and I felt it coming. I thought about trying to stop it, but then realized I was alone, so I just allow the feelings to come up and I let go of trying to be so in control of my damn emotions. The tears cam streaming down my face again hitting the steering wheel as I made the left turn toward my house.

I was crying again. This time the joy had brought it on, but why? Why would joy bring me tears? I thought. I was genuinely happy to have just been with such kind people. It was fun. I wasn't sad, was I? 

As I considered what I was feeling, I realized that I was mourning. I was grieving. This night full of fun and laughter was long overdue for me. I had wanted to feel joy like this many times before, but just couldn't find it while I was with my husband.

I couldn't manufacture joy no matter how hard I tried. Now I was experiencing laughter and connection, and it made me realize how deeply I had been missing that expression in my life. I needed connection and I felt it with these new friends. 

So I cried on my way home from a night full of fun. It happened a few more times and each time I allowed myself the space to feel whatever I was feeling. After that first night it wasn't hard to just feel whatever came up and let it be. I knew I'd recover. And soon I didn't feel sad after a night of joy. I just went home and a state of gratitude for the laughter I had encountered.