A Grandmother’s Wish

It’s been over a year since I’ve seen my grandchildren from my son.  Not because of anything I did because trust me, I would love to be talking with them at least once per week to find out what’s going on in their little lives.  After moving to Colorado, it seems communication with my son became rare.  After all, he is just way too busy to spend a few minutes dialing a phone.  Of course, that wasn’t the case whenever he wanted a babysitter when I lived close to him.

What is wrong with children today?  As a single mother, when both he and my daughter were living with me, it was not an easy task.  I may not have been the most attentive having to work two jobs to support them because of dead beat dads not wanting to pay support.  But they had loving grandparents (my parents) who helped me out tremendously.  In fact, I couldn’t have done it without their help.  Funny, how soon they forget the difficulties of trying to afford rent, food, utilities, clothing, extra curricular activities when you are trying to accomplish it on your own.  I didn’t have welfare to fall back on because I owned a vehicle, and I couldn’t get a college degree because let’s face it, I didn’t have the time between working two jobs.

I was resented when I tried to have a life for myself.  They never liked any of my boyfriends so I basically stayed single after 1990.  I had a few long term relationships but ultimately, none of them ever worked out.  Hindsight is 20/20 and when I think back on it now, I’m glad they didn’t.  I wasn’t a perfect mother and I will never claim to be but I did do the best I could.

My son now lives next door to his father.  A father who always made up an excuse as to why he couldn’t take his son for a weekend.  I divorced his father because he was cheating on me.  Of course, today, he tells our son, that I was the one who was a cheater.  He told my son I would always bring a “change of clothes” to work with me.  Yeah, because I would hit an all women’s gym after my 8 hour day.  He would hit a bar with his buddies and come home drunk almost every night after I picked up the kids from day care.  Most Friday nights he wouldn’t come home at all because he got too drunk to drive home.  When he lost his job, he decided to become Mr. Mom and I was the one who brought home the pay check.  Now that would have been fine and dandy with me if I was a CEO of some company but I wasn’t.  I was a secretary for an airlines and though I made good money, it certainly wasn’t enough to support a family of four.  He, on the other hand, would go fishing or spend hours in a bar with his buddies after he dropped off the kids to my mother’s.  When I insisted he find a job, he found a job that paid $5.00 per hour telling me it was the best he could do.

After six months, he landed a job that took him to LA every day.  He made decent money, finally but he was never home.  I was still working so it was like I was a single parent.  I had all the responsibility of taking care of the home, the kids, and working full time.  One Friday night I asked him to try and make it home before 11:00 pm and he said he would try.  At the time, I wasn’t aware he was getting into San Diego at 7:00 pm and then hitting a bar until 11:00.  Until that night.  When he came home smelling like a brewery, I knew then he could give a rats ass about his family.  Prior to us getting married, he had come home one night with a hickey on his neck and then he was bragging to his brother and sister how some “Navy lady took advantage of him in an elevator”.  Unfortunately, these are the types of men that seemed to attach themselves to me.  My bad.

Well, my thoughts were, if I’m going to live like a single parent I may as well be one.  We decided to separate and two weeks after he moved out, he was living with another woman.  Now where to do you suppose he met her?

Life got a lot tougher for us now a family of three.  After he was living with this other person for about 9 months, he came to pick up our son one day and in his hand he had flowers for me.  It was our wedding anniversary.  He explained he missed his family and wanted to come back to us.  Here I was alone for these past nine months and he was playing house with another woman and now he wanted to come back?  I don’t think so. Mind you, he had also quit his job so he had no income and of course, he wasn’t paying any child support.  I received a phone call from his girlfriend that evening, crying.  She wanted to know why I would want him back after throwing him out 9 months earlier.  I told her she was crazy, it was the other way around.  He wanted to come back.  So, he had lied to her too.  Didn’t surprise me.

Several years passed and frankly, I was tired of him not paying child support so I started up a support group of other single parents unable to collect child support.  An attorney heard about my endeavor and he offered up his services for free.  We met at his office and he counseled us, about 20 of us showed up for the first meeting, about how to go about getting what our children deserved.  I wrote several articles and had them published in the local newspaper and came up with the saying of “deadbeat dads” and “not paying child support is the same as child abuse.”  At one point, he had bragged to me about renting a hotel room to attend “over the line” and the mound of coke they had dumped on the table.  But you can’t afford to pay child support?   I hired the attorney to get all the back child support and to get him to start paying for his son on a regular basis.  It was a fight, and he fought us all the way but in the end, we won.  Meanwhile, he had remarried, purchased a condo and was living high on the hog.  He took me to court to get his child support reduced however the judge increased it instead.  I became his #1 enemy and I didn’t care.  My concern was for my son.

When I was living with Kent, a boyfriend of 4 years, my son hated him.  Like I stated earlier, my children never liked anyone I dated.  Kent had gotten a job in Montana and asked me to go with him.  My son was in high school now and getting into trouble with smoking MJ and drinking.  I felt the move would be a good one for him.  We would be living in a small town and I was hoping to get him away from the bad element he seemed to be hanging out with.  My ex called and said he was going to report me for kidnapping.  Really?  I guess my son had called him and said he didn’t want to move to Montana even though I had sent his father notification that I was moving out of state, he was going to call the DA and have me arrested.  I called my attorney and he stated as long as I had given him notice and he had not replied, I could move him out of state.  So I did.

My son told me one day as we were driving our trash to the dump how much he loved living in Montana.  He had made friends fast because he was funny and he was good looking.  All the girls loved him.  I was a substitute teacher in his school and I remember one of my fourth graders came up to me and asked me if I was his mother.  When I stated yes, she told me I was so lucky because I got to live with him!

Kent and I didn’t last long up in Montana.  I bought my own house in town, I bought my son a 4 x 4 truck so he could continue going to his school and we settled in our new home without Kent nicely.  My son had his own little studio apartment down in our basement, which was finished and he had good friends to hang with.  Little did I know he was still smoking pot and drinking with his new friends but hey, that’s what some teenagers do and he never got in trouble. (I didn’t find this out until he was in his 20’s).

When my son graduated from high school, I asked him if he wanted his father to fly out and see him graduate.  He said yes and I allowed him to stay at my house.  Still a drinker (I had quit drinking) he would fill up a cooler every morning with his beer and continue to drink all day long.  He wasn’t working (again) because he had hurt his back so was on SSDI.  We got along during that visit.  He explained he was too old to stop drinking and I told him, you’re never too old to stop drinking.  My son then went into the Navy (another story for another time) after graduating high school and when he graduated bootcamp, his father and I attended his graduation.

His father had gotten the hotel room where he slept in the bedroom and I got the pull out couch.  He rented the car and left it with me because his flight out was before mine.  When I got to the airport (I hit a ton of traffic on a Sunday afternoon in Chicago) I didn’t have time to stop and put gas in it.  As it was, I had left in plenty of time to get to the airport but I wasn’t expecting the traffic I hit so I almost missed my flight. In fact, I would have missed my flight if I had stopped to put gas in the car.  Well, the wrath that began after that was unbelievable.  I was called every name in the book for not putting gas in the car and for him incurring the extra charges.  I had full intentions of paying him back however his reaction was uncalled for.  That’s when I started thinking about all the medical bills and dental bills this jerk never paid his share for and was ordered by the court to help with and he never did.  $3,000 for braces, my monthly medical costs that came out of my pay check, he never paid a dime towards.  So I said screw it.  And I never did pay him for it and he has held that against me ever since.

On that trip, I remember us sitting in the hotel bar one night after taking my son back to the base.  His father cried over his beer telling me how he wished he had been a better father to our son while he was growing up.  I told told him it wasn’t too late to start being a better father, that our son still needed his father.  How soon all this is forgotten.

So now the story is that I was the cheater, I was the bitch, I was the reason my son never got to have a relationship with his father while he was growing up.  Amazing how the story has changed.  Now I’m the bad guy and he’s the good guy.  He was the poor soul that was refused a relationship with his son because I was such a bitch.  So, now my son has it out for me.  The person who has always been there for him no matter what.  I supported him not only mentally but financially his entire life.  I have lent him money for attorney’s, for purchasing a new vehicle, for airplane tickets, for whatever he needed or wanted.  Silly me.

And now, he and his ex wife are refusing to let me see my grandchildren.  Grandchildren I babysat for, kept overnight, read bedtime stories to, walked them in the park, spent lots of time with when I lived closer.  And as I did for my son when he was younger, I am doing for my grandchildren now, fighting.  Since I can’t seem to get any where with either of them, my son or his ex wife, very ungrateful people, I have to take it to court.  I have to exercise my grandparent rights through the courts because they refuse to allow me to see my grandkids in the state where I live.  My grandchildren have the right to see me and spend quality time with me in my own home.  They have the right to get to know their cousins in this state, their aunts and uncles.  They have the right to know I did not abandoned them because I moved away.  It is selfish of their father, my son, to not allow us to continue our relationship because of reasons only known to my son for his sudden hatred of his mother.  This is the thanks you get when you give up your life for someone, for loving someone unconditionally.

Ironically, the attorney I hired is the same attorney that went after his father years ago for back child support! No one seemed to have the ex daughter in laws new address as she blocked me via phone and facebook.  My son wouldn’t give up the information either.  Which I really don’t understand.  Someone who cheated on him and broke up his marriage and he is protecting her?  That’s okay, I was born at night but not last night.  I found her and now she can be served and we can finally get down to business.  The business of letting my grandchildren know I love them and miss them and will do everything in my power to let them know I will fight for them no matter what.

UPDATE:  8/11/2017

Court was on Wednesday and the judge decided to side with the parents, my son and ex daughter in law.  No visitation in Colorado because they both did not want it.  Understandably, however, I still can not get over the fact they both lied to in court after swearing to tell the truth!  To say I was not a substantial part of their lives, that I had only been with them a total of 15 days throughout their lifetime, to say when Matthew would act up “What’s wrong with that kid?” were all lies…I have always been on Matthew’s side and would never speak about any of my grandchildren that way…but you know what they say, the truth will prevail.  When they are older, they will know the truth.  Those papers with their mothers declaration on it, will be attached to my last will and testament.  They will see exactly how their mother spoke about me.  As far as my son goes, he’s dead to me.  From now on, we do not purchase anything for these two grandkids.  What they will get though is a savings account, in their name, and every holiday, every birthday, we will deposit money into their account until they are 18 years old.  I will send them a card and let them know how much I have put into their account for them.  I will also be writing them weekly letters and keeping them in a box.  If I happen to die before they turn 18, these will also be given to them.  This way when they are older, they will be able to read about their Nana’s life and how much I thought about them and loved them.  So, even though I will no longer be a part of their lives and get to see them grow up and mature, they will eventually find out just how much I loved them and missed them.  In the end, it will be my son and ex daughter in laws loss, and one day, the same thing just may happen to them.  I am in the process of writing another blog post detailing everything that happened and everything that was said in court.  I am waiting to get a copy of all the paperwork so I can give direct quotes.  Oh, yeah, and now the ex daughter in law wants me to pay for her lawyer fees and lost wages.  Gee, wonder how she is going to squeeze blood from a turnip…I have no income..good luck with that one…you money hungry bitch!

A Taste of Italy…Part 1

I haven’t written in awhile because so many things have happened in May and June 2017, I just couldn’t keep up!  So many dreams came true for me, one’s I had been hoping for for a very long time.

May, 2017

I finally graduated from college with a BA degree in Creative Writing/English.  I graduated Cumma Sum Laude, which for me, was a very big deal.  It was a goal I had decided upon when I first enrolled in college back in 2012.  I was going for a 4.0 but ended up with a 3.96, close enough in my book. My husband and I flew out to New Hampshire so I could walk.  I didn’t have to walk but I felt the need since I had worked so hard and gave up so much of my free time in order to achieve this dream.

My friend, Carolynne from New York drove out to celebrate with us and even though we really didn’t do much sight seeing, we enjoyed the time we had with each other.   Both her and my husband cheered me on as I walked up to get my diploma.  My daughter watched it live on computer and was able to snap a picture of me as I was handed my plaque from the President of the college.  I had four honor cords around my neck and my cap was decorated with “Finally” and “It’s Never Too Late”…all blinged out!

When we got home, it was time to prepare for our honeymoon/60th birthday/graduation trip to Italy.  Yes, that’s right.  It was really my 60th birthday present from my husband however because I was still in school at the time, I had to postpone it.  I made all the arrangements in January and then just before we left, I booked the tours we wanted to take.

June, 2017

We flew out of Denver on Thursday evening June 1st.  The airline was Lufthansa and the flight was a very pleasant one with the exception that our seats were in the middle of the plane.  It was one of those planes that had two seats on either side of the airplane and then 4 seats in the middle.  I was a little scrunched but was able to get a little sleep.  They fed us dinner and breakfast and all the wine we wanted to drink.  The flight took 10 hours to Munich, Germany where we then had a 4 hour layover.  We drank beer and did a little shopping waiting for our flight to Naples.  We finally took off and the plane was packed with weekenders going to Italy for the weekend!

Once we landed in Naples, we didn’t have to go through customs which was a little disappointing because I wanted an Italy stamp in my passport book.  But since we didn’t have anything to declare and we were both exhausted, we went looking for our driver.  Found our driver who was standing holding a sign with my name on it.  I felt so honored!  He was happy to see us and guided us to the car.  Once in the car and on the road, it became very obvious why my husband did not want to drive in Italy!  More about that later!

It was a holiday that day, Republic Day, which is like our 4th of July, so traffic was heavy. We had to go through several tunnels to get to Sorrento, which was our final destination and about an hours drive from Naples.  During the drive our driver made light conversation which was nice because not only were we exhausted but we were also excited.  I was finally here.  The place where my DNA started.  I looked around at the old apartment buildings, the groves of citrus trees, and all the people on motorcycles or scooters.

We had rented an apartment because we decided Sorrento would be our home base and we could venture out from there.  The place was called Corso Italia and the girls in the office were super nice.  They spoke English, thank God, and we went down the street to our apartment.  We were on the first floor and the big, heavy wooden door and old fashioned lock was a little difficult to maneuver but my husband got the hang of it.  We unpacked our suitcases and decided to find a restaurant to eat before calling it a night.

Bougainvillea’s

The first place we ate at was called Bougainvillea’s.  It was on the main strip, right down from our apartment.  We had no idea at that time that this restaurant would become one of our favorites, not just for the food, but for the people who worked there.

As you walk into the restaurant, to your left is a huge selection of homemade gelato which had so many flavors I’m not sure how one could decide what they wanted! Then also to the left as you walked further in, was the pastry cabinet which housed Italian cookies, pastries, cannoli’s, pies and cheesecake.  The coffee bar was after that and then a huge room that opened up with tables and linens.  In the very back was a fire pizza oven.  On the right of the walls was a fountain of water which was very calming to listen to while you ate.

I ordered a pizza (of course) that had roasted veggies on it and my husband ordered a meat pizza.  In Italy, everyone gets their own pizza which is about the size of a dinner plate.  My first bite, I was in heaven.  The flavor of the sauce, cheese and veggies were out of this world and the dough was very light but the flavor is one I just can’t describe.  I had to have the recipe!  I did not finish mine and ended up taking it back to the apartment.  But as I looked around at the other customers, each were enjoying a bottle of wine, and eating all of their pizza!  There was no rush to eat and get out as it is in American restaurants.  In fact, we had to ask for our check.  In Italy, they want you to take your time, enjoy your conversation and food and whenever you are ready, then you can leave.  The waiter was very accommodating and friendly.

When we got back to our apartment, I crashed.  I don’t even think I changed into my PJ’s, that’s how tired I was and we had to get up early the next day to meet our guide who was driving us to Pompeii and Herculeanen.

Saturday, June 3rd

The alarm rang way too soon but I was excited to finally get to see these amazing sights first hand.  We showered and dressed and walked down to Bougainvillea’s for a cappuccino to go.  They weren’t opened yet, but the owner, Rose, said no problem and she made them herself.  The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too humid.

We walked down to the property management office to wait outside for our guide.  A young man pulled up in a Mercedes Van.  Umberto was our guide.  A young, Italian man who lived with his girlfriend and they were both raising their 18 month old son, who was named after one of the men in the family.  He was so full of knowledge and planned our trip well.  He took us to Herculeanen first where he gave us 90 minutes to tour.  Remember, it was about an hour’s drive to the place so we were able to converse the whole time.  He asked us questions about America and we asked him questions about Italy.  He gave us some very good advice about the food and how to decide what to order from which restaurant.  Like, only get pizza from a pizzeria and only get gelato from a place that only sells gelato.    He asked how we felt about Trump which I found amusing because most Europeans get their information from their news, which, if it’s CNN, then we all know most of it is made up shit!

When we got to the sight, we were going to hire a guide to take us through but after waiting 15 minutes for the one we choose, she decided to do the tour in Italian because most everyone there spoke Italian.  We decided to go it alone but as we walked closer to the entrance, we saw a kiosk that was renting iphones and headsets.  We soon found out that for 12 Euro, we could get a tour by renting the iPhones.  She showed us how to use the devices and we went on our way.  What a huge savings that was…the guide wanted 100 Euro to take us on the tour and this only cost us 12 Euro.  Please if you decide to do this tour, just rent the iPhone tour, it’s cheaper and you can go at your own pace.

The sight was amazing.  I was floored by the depth of ash that had covered that small, rich town.  Bones were still in place of the people who tried to escape into these, what looked like garages, to escape the ash but ended up burning to death.  The structures were built with such precision, that the walls were still standing as were the fresco’s still painted on the walls.  Fountains, tables, urns, cooking holes, and art work were all still intact.  The sea today was much further out than when Mt. Vesuvius  erupted.  The sea had been right up to where the city started but so much had been eroded.  The tunnel we had to walk through to get to the city was huge and you could still tell it was made of ash.  I can only imagine the effort it took to excavate that entire site.  We left in awe of it.

Our next stop was Pompeii, which was much more extensive than Herculeanen.  We, again, rented the iPhone guides to take us through this city.  It was amazing to see the town square and the justice center, where the columns were still standing.  The streets, which at the time the city was prosperous prior to the volcano erupting, you could still make out their water/waste system.  The streets were very narrow and I’m guessing only horses could fit through there.  Again, buildings, walls, frescoes, courtyards, fountains, pottery, tables, were all still in place.  This sight was one that took a little longer to go through but Pompeii was a very large city with not just rich Romans but poor ones as well.  All the while, visible at both sights, Mt. Vesuvius sat in the background.  Today, just a hole in the ground but laying dormant until she decides to awaken again.  The last time she erupted was back in the 1940’s and people still talk about it today.

When we finished up with Pompeii, Umberto gave us an option.  Did we want to go visit the hole in the ground or did we want to do a wine tasting?  Hands down, wine tasting and lunch!  He made reservations for us but we got there a little early, so he gave us a tour of the winery.  The wineries vineyards were extensive and in between the rows of grape vines, the owner was growing vegetables.  All in the Vesuvius dirt which was very fertile.  The vegetables were used in their restaurant and all GMO free and pesticide free.

Our table was by the window where a nice breeze flowed in.  The restaurant was hopping with conversation, groups of people, couples, speaking all different languages.  It was a five course meal with different wines accompanying each meal.  The food was fantastic and the wine was superb, so good, we purchased a case of it to be delivered to our home.  The Tears of Christ (Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio) a very popular Italian red wine went well with the pasta dish we were served.  I can’t even remember all the names of the wines we tasted I just know we loved them and so we asked if they could ship them to us.  Thankfully, they could!  When I receive them, I will be sure to update this blog with the names.  If you are a wine enthusiast, you will appreciate the update.

On the ride home, we were tired and satisfied.  Umberto entertained us with more tales of Italy.  I didn’t realize when he was talking to us, that I would say “gotcha”.  In fact, I said it way too much after it was brought to my attention!  Umberto said to me, “If you please, what does gotcha mean?”  I told him it meant “I understand what you’re saying.” We both started laughing.  He had never heard that expression before and he kept repeating it, “Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha!” See? I told him, you learned a new American slang word!  He was impressed and said when I write my review to please put that in there!  So I did!! Umberto dropped us off at the apartment and in parting we told him if he ever wants to visit Colorado, he was more than welcome to stay with us!

Part 2 – Taste of Italy – coming soon!