Bonus Family


This is a picture of my family on our wedding day, June 21st, 2015.  Everyone in this picture, with the exception of 4, is my bonus family.  As with any family, there will always be drama, however, I was not prepared for the drama that would follow after our wedding.

My son, who is on the left side of picture, threw a temper tantrum the day after the picture was taken.  Why?  We have no idea.  His hurtful words still resonate in my mind.  My husband took offense to how he was speaking to me, very disrespectful, and actually told him to leave our house.  My two grandkids, (his children) left crying and very upset.  Not my doing and no, I will not take any blame for his behavior.  He is a 36 year old man who got everything he wanted when he was growing up and yet he claimed during his rant I was not a mother to him, my mother was more of a mother to him than I was.

I was a single mom for many, many years while both my kids were growing up.  I did have several, if not many, boyfriends but I also worked two jobs, my day job was 40 hours a week in construction and my evening job was cleaning office buildings and warehouses.  Sometimes, they had to accompany me to my evening job.  When they were smaller, my parents were my babysitters.  I felt after several daycare mothers were either cruel or just plain assholes, my kids were safer with my parents.

I had been married a total of 3 times while they were growing up.  I made some stupid mistakes in my life, but haven’t we all.  I’m far from perfect and never professed to be.  I dated and when I was out with my friends, as I deserved to have a life too, I hired babysitters to watch over them.  When they go older and could stay by themselves, they did.  Hell, I always welcomed the fact when my parents went out when I was younger, I could be alone at home and do what I wanted.

And like I said, I made mistakes, if I could go back, I’d probably do things differently, but that is a pipe dream.  Too late.  I had to do lots of soul searching in order to forgive myself for some of the things I put my kids through as they grew up.  We moved alot.  The reasons we moved alot, we lived in San Diego.  Each lease I signed at the time, I was able to afford.  Once the lease was up, because property values continued to rise, so did my rent.  My salary though stayed the same, so when a lease was up, I had to look for a more affordable place to live.  Most of their lives they had to share a room because I could only afford a 2 bedroom place.  After my third marriage ended, I could only afford a one bedroom place.

My daughter was a handful.  Of course, today, she’ll tell you “I was just a kid.”  Yea, a kid who wanted to run my life and be the boss.  She was born in the late 70s, and when Reagan was President they had the “say no to drugs” campaign and encouraged children in school to rat out their parents.  I drank alcohol and I smoked pot.  I dabbled in cocaine and meth but only for a very short time because I really hated the effects on me.  When my daughter was in 4th grade, she went to school one day after I hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for 20 people and told her teacher I was an alcoholic because I drank too much.  He reported me to CPS.  My husband at the time and I had driven up to Julian and found a winery up there.  For the dinner, we purchased a case of wine and we drank that day with all our guests.  I did all the cooking so I felt I was entitled to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine with my dinner.

CPS came to my work, interviewed their daycare mother, interviewed my friends, and my parents.  The case was closed.  My daughter then went to my son’s father and told him I was “snorting something white in my bedroom.”  and she happened to walk in on it.  She told him during a weekend he had them both at his house (mind you, he was a coke freak at the time) and he decided he wasn’t going to bring them home.  Hypocrisy at its best.  I called my younger brother, and we both drove over to his house with a baseball bat and got my kids.  Was it right for me to be doing this crap around my kids?  Of course not.  Can I change that now?  Of course not.  Would I have done things differently? Of course.

The next time CPS gave me a call, it was over the fact I was smoking pot in my bedroom before going to sleep at night.  Pot wasn’t legal at the time but I’d been smoking pot on and off since high school.  I never smoked pot in front of my kids, and I always waited for them to be in bed before partaking of a couple of hits off a pipe, in the privacy of my own bedroom.  I didn’t lie to CPS, I told them the truth.  I did smoke pot in my bedroom before going to sleep.  As far as they were concerned, it was okay because I wasn’t smoking in front of my kids, plus they lived in a clean home, and had food in the refrig, and dressed in nice clothes.  They weren’t doing bad in school and I had two jobs!

But after the second investigation with CPS it became heartbreakingly clear my daughter did not want to live with me.  Either that, or she just wanted to control me and my behavior.  She would tell neighbors how we never played board games, or watch TV movies together.  All of which was a lie.  She wanted attention and she was going about it the wrong way.  She always made me look bad.  I got to the point where I just didn’t like her anymore.  Daughter or not, I couldn’t handle the false accusations. I’m sure it was because my maturity level wasn’t where it should have been either.  I was always in horrible men relationships and when I think back on it today, I didn’t have the confidence in myself to be alone.  I was desperately seeking a man to love me and I was not having any luck.

I sent my daughter to live with my parents because she was just out of control.  She didn’t care about any punishments, she lied constantly about any little thing, it didn’t matter if it was about a light being left on, she would lie about it.  I took her to therapy.  She obviously had a problem with me and I wanted to get to the bottom of it.  Her excuses for lying were many.  I never listened to her, it was just the first thing that popped into her head, she would get in trouble if she told the truth.  All of which was another lie.  But in her head, this is how she felt.  She still feels this way today even as a 40 year old woman.  She can tell stories, that in her mind really happened and will argue with me about who was telling the truth.  I laugh sometimes about these stories because I was there, and as an adult, I know exactly how something went down, but to her, she remembers it differently and because she is one who always has to be right, will argue with me until she is blue in the face.

Because we moved around alot, both my children went to many different schools.  I felt so bad about this because I knew what it was like to move to a different place and attend a different school.  I really wish I had moved out of San Diego when I had the chance.  I feel my kids would have both had a different life if they hadn’t attended so many different schools.  It’s important to have stability in your life and they did not have this.  This is my fault but I was doing the best I could to survive and still give them a good life.

I wanted them both to go to college.  My son did, but my daughter ended up moving away at 18 right after graduating high school.  She seems to have the same problem I did when it came to men.  The only difference is she continues to remain friends with the dipshits who fuck her over and stays with them for long periods of time allowing them to continue fucking her over, I completely erased them from my life when they crossed my boundaries.  I didn’t put up with cheating, abusive, unemployed idiots.  I didn’t see the good in that and from the many years of therapy, knew the cycle never changes.  So the sooner I got out, the better.  Not her.  She feels sorry for them and feels she can help them.  See, she should have gone to college to become a shrink, then she could get paid for helping these losers rather than try to support them with the little money she makes as a bartender and put up with their shit.

It is not a bad thing to be good natured, which, she is to her friends.  However, her bitterness towards me is very apparent, especially now.  We can’t even go a week being together without getting into a huge fight.  It’s mostly about her disrespect and her public disdain for me.   When my dad died, her pop pop, we got into a bitter fight, she ended up leaving and staying with her cousin for the remainder of her trip.  We didn’t speak for 2 years.  I made the effort to bury the hatchet.  That lasted until she came to visit me for Christmas one year (I paid for her airline ticket). She was to stay for 2 weeks.  Big mistake.  We had fun the first half of her trip and then everything went to shit.  She brought up an event she believes happened in her young life and when I tried to correct her as to what really happened, and of course, we had both been drinking wine, it all got out of hand.  When we returned to my house, she went out with a friend of hers.  Her usual MO is not to come back so I figured she was gone for the night so I turned out all the lights when I went to bed.  She came waltzing in around 5 in the morning, if I had known she was coming back, I would have left a light on for her.  The things we remember of what we should have done.  We didn’t speak for another 2 years and again, I was the one who reached out to bury the hatchet.  I sent her some flowers with an apology note.  It took her a week to call me.

My best friend and I were planning a winter vacation last year.  Since it was so close to my daughter’s birthday, I invited her to join us.  The trip to Key West was planned 9 months in advance.  I told her I would pay for her plane ticket and her half of the condo, she would have to pay for her food and drinks.  I felt this was a fair deal.  She could have refused.  She could have told me she was still supporting the loser she is living with but nope, she thought it was a great idea.  So for 9 months, she had plenty of time to save up for her food intake and her alcohol consumption for this fabulous trip.

We met in Miami for our flight down to Key West and the first thing she says to me is, “I only have $100 to my name.”  What?  I was so shocked but not wanting to start a fight, all I said was, “don’t worry about it.”  What else was I to say?  She had just moved to NOLA prior to our trip and her excuses were she had to pay her bills.  (Mind you she paid no rent in her previous place because she lived in a foreclosed property) and I wondered how many bills one person can have, car payment, insurance, cell phone? She’s single, has no children and works in two different bars.  But she never has any money and God forbid you try to ask her why she never has any money.

The whole trip in Key West, she disrespected me. Always had an attitude when she spoke to me and seemed very argumentative.  My best friend also noticed it and was really quite shocked since I was paying the entire tab of her birthday trip.  And it also wasn’t just my friend who noticed it but people in the bar sitting around us.  One lady was in the bathroom and she asked me if that was my daughter sitting with us.  When I told her yes, she said, I’m sorry to say this but she has no respect for you.  My husband and I noticed it on Sunday during the super bowl game and we discussed it afterwards.  I’m so sorry.

It was a Thursday night and we had decided we would go back to the bar where we had watched the super bowl for their prime rib dinner and listen to some live music.  She was late getting there (we had rented bikes so we rode down to the bar/restaurant) and the entire time we were sitting at the table, she was on her phone.  Now mind you, every night, she was on her phone with her supposedly ex boyfriend she had moved to NOLA to get away from until 5 in the morning while we were in Key West.  So, I was a little perturbed to say the least and said something.  I had actually taken more than I should have from her at this point and by keeping my mouth shut just to the keep the peace was not a good idea.  Like a volcano, I erupted.  I told her I couldn’t believe how disrespectful she had been to me the entire trip.  She could at least show me some respect since I was paying for the entire trip which she was supposed to have saved up for to pay her share.  I didn’t mind paying for her, but I also wanted her to at least show me some respect.  I told her I was done, pushed my chair back and walked out to the balcony of the restaurant.  She tried to explain, in her nasty voice how she was talking to a bar owner in NOLA so she could at least have a job when she got back home.

So, my thoughts were, if you couldn’t afford to take this trip, you should have declined it.  I didn’t twist her arm, I just thought it was a nice gesture and 40th birthday present for my daughter, who I thought loved me and respected me enough to spend some quality time with her mother.  I was wrong.  I’m still wrong.  I honestly did not want our trip to end this way and the next day I tried to talk to her.  After some outbursts and my best friend worried about the neighbors, we started talking in a civilized tone and volume.  It was our last day and I wanted to have some fun and not be worried about bad feelings.

After talking it out, we made up and ended up having a great day and evening in Key West.  The next day, we headed to the airport, had breakfast, said our goodbyes to my friend and my daughter and I went to Miami.  We had a few drinks in between flights, hugged and said how much we had both grown not to hold grudges, and departed, me to Colorado and her to NOLA.  Since then we have spoken a few times on the phone and since she ended up moving back with the loser boyfriend, and after him kicking her out of their apartment and making her sleep in the attic, there has been no contact.  Substance abuse can make people do things they normally wouldn’t do, I see the signs and have gotten confirmation but there is nothing I can do about it short of an intervention, which also explains the constant lack of money.  She has no boundaries when it comes to her friends or abusive boyfriends, but seems to have boundaries with me.

The last contact we had was on Facebook just yesterday when she posted how she had lost her phone for second time in one week.  She asked everyone to pray she found it.  As a joke I posted “Go to an AA meeting, they will help pray with you.”  Her reply, “I lost it last night after work. Left it on the TP dispenser in the bathroom. And mother (Lucy Cafiero-Ahl) alcohol had nothing to do with it. So please keep your unhelpfup and useless comments to yourself.”  Now, doesn’t that just show the love!  Yet, some of her other friends made comments such as get on top of the bar and yell for everyone to check their pockets, but again, these are her friends so they get treated much differently.  

And my son, well, I have written about how he refuses to allow me to see his kids, my grandkids.  He sided with his ex wife, a woman who broke his heart by cheating on him, never supporting him, and lying about him to her family so her actions would make it seem okay to them.

So my bonus family, my husband’s kids, are my real family.  They are the ones who call me, talk with me, visit me, ask my opinion on things.  They are the one’s who call me on Mother’s Day, my birthday, spend holidays with us.  Allow their children to spend weekends and weeks in the summer with us so we can make memories with them.  They know who I am today.  I take care of their father as he takes care of me, we are happy and in love. And my bonus daughters are my real daughters.  They show their appreciation and even though we live over an hour away from them, they always seem to want to come up and visit with us.

My two biological kids would say “well it’s because they didn’t grow up with her.”  Oh, they had it so rough.  I have done everything for them including putting my life on hold so they could have a good life.  We may not have always gotten along, but hey, that’s what happens in families.

I have paid IRS bills, divorce lawyers, car payments, moving expenses, airline tickets with the promise of being paid back and yet most have been forgiven, paid a PI to find my daughter’s biological father because it was so important for her to know who he was and yet she never keeps in contact with him.  It was my time and my money who found him but never a thank you, only complaints.

They can both never speak to me again, because I am all over the disrespect and the unthankfulness of them.  I do not deserve their bullshit.  It’s time for them to grow up and if they still think they have a problem with me or their childhood, then go to therapy; work your shit out because I’m done taking the abuse.

Maybe I should have gone on welfare, lived in HUD housing, sat around in a filthy house, taken public transportation, got addicted to drugs, then maybe, just maybe, their attitude towards me would be justified. Maybe if they had grown up in rags and lived in a dump, went to bed hungry every night, they would have an excuse to hate me and disrespect me but that wasn’t the case.  Like I said, I’m not perfect, but I certainly didn’t grow up in a perfect household either and yet, I never disrespected my mother or my father.  My mother and I are closer than ever because I have learned to forgive and forget.

So to my kids, when I die, please don’t make it priority to come to my funeral.  It will be too late.  Don’t shed a tear.  And write that book, “Mommy Dearest 2” or better yet, read the first one, and then tell me how bad you had it when you were growing up.

See that picture?  Pictures can be deceiving. People can be deceiving and it hurts more when it’s family.



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