An Early Stage of Change

December 11, 2009
By , Denver,, CO
In order for an event to change the way someone lives, it must impact them immensely. For some people, that event never comes, and they never have the chance to question the way they are living. I feel that everyone should have at least one moment in their life that makes them appreciate what they have and where they came from. Fortunately for me, this event happened about two years after I was born, so I was impacted at a very young age.

I was born in Pensacola, Florida in 1990. Everyone always asks me how much I loved it there but I don’t even remember it.

My dad, Tony, was fresh out of the army, and he was twenty three years old. My biological mom, Bobbiette, was nineteen years old when she had me, which is interesting to me because I’m turning nineteen in less then a month, and I could never imagine raising a baby at my age. My parents had been married for a year before I was born, and according to my dad, they had the most fun being young and in love. He described to me how they met and what their wedding was like. My dad met Buffy, (which was her nickname,) through a friend he was in the army with. Tony was originally from Colorado, he grew up in Cherry Creek. However, his friend, who was from Florida, decided to take my dad with him for a holiday one weekend down there, since they were stationed very close to Pensacola. He was introduced to all of his buddies’ friends, and Buffy was a sister of a friend. When they went on their first date, he told me she couldn’t stop talking with her hands because she was so nervous, and that she was just about as short as me. In fact, my dad tells me she looked exactly like me so he sees her every day when he looks at me. They finally got married on the beach in Pensacola, him wearing a tuxedo t-shirt, and her in a bathing suit. I wish I had pictures of this or of my baby book, but the truth is that I haven’t seen Buffy since I was four years old. The only picture I have of her is from the neck down holding me and she is wearing a Motley Crue shirt, so at least she has a good taste in music.

After I was born, things got to be too much for my dad and Buffy, and they ended up getting a divorce, so my dad moved back to Colorado. He met the person I now call my mother when he came back here. She worked at my day care while my dad was in the print shop. During the day, she was the only one that I would let hold me or even touch me. For this, I take full credit for playing match maker.

Since they were in two different states, I would fly back and forth every few months to spend time with each of them equally. At the end of the few months, one parent would fly to where I was and fly with me back to where they each lived, either Florida or Colorado. They became comfortable with the routine and it went on for about a year before things started getting weird. Then, during one trip my dad took to Florida, me and Buffy were nowhere to be found when he showed up.

My dad told me that was the worst feeling he has ever had, flying back without me. He went back to Colorado after searching everywhere for me in Florida, including the house. He traveled with Laura, and she tells me to this day how devastated my dad was. The police got involved, my dad has never told me where they found Buffy and I, but I do know that he flew me back here as soon as he could get his arms around me.

Once the battle for custody started, things kept getting worse and worse. Since I was too young to speak in front of a judge, my dad and Laura would write down the things that I would say about Buffy. I don’t like to talk to my parents much about what happened those early years, so one day when they were both at work, I looked through our legal papers to find what was said. While searching, I figured out that she would take me to go visit a man in jail on a regular basis, and that he “got really mad and bonked her a lot.” There was an incident with Laura when we were watching television and a show came on with a mom being abusive to her daughter. I mentioned that Buffy got mad at me like that, but I wouldn’t share to my Laura the things she did. On a couple of occasions, I had to ask my dad and Laura if I could go into the store with them because I didn’t want to be left in the car, and I always wanted to make sure they weren’t going to leave once I fell asleep. I would go to a child therapist for my night terrors, which are a little worse then nightmares, because you may wake up and still think they are real. My dad told me that I would wake up almost every night and start crying and yelling for him to come lay with me because I didn’t want her to take me away. The final session with the therapist claimed that I should not make contact with Buffy or visit her for my intellectual health. The specific incident that impacted me the most was brought up on a trip to Hawaii.

My best friend, Emily, and I were on vacation with my parents and grandparents on Oahu the summer before my freshman year. We decided to take up surfing since we don’t have waves or an ocean in Colorado. After a few unsuccessful attempts of standing up on the surf board, I was done and getting scared because for some reason, I am terrified of big water. Emily was a little concerned why I was acting so weird, and then my mom pulled her over to the side and told her what she later explained to me. As a little girl, whenever I cried, instead of talking to me or trying to solve the situation, Buffy would hold my head under water in the bathtub until I stopped. She would also spray me with the sink hose anytime I didn’t obey. After hearing that, I understood why my parents were so set on having me permanently.

My dad eventually got full custody of me, and Buffy had visitation rights, but to this day has never used them.

I may not know all of the details, but I think it’s better that I don’t. Some people may think that this hasn’t impacted me enough since I was so young, but I appreciate every day the fact that my dad and my mom cared so much for me that they got me away from that situation. If I still remained close to her, I don’t know what kind of person I would be today. She may have given me a few emotional obstacles that I need to work on, but this event not only made me a better and more appreciative person, it gave me hope that I can overcome obstacles in my life and that I truly am surrounded by love. Whatever life throws at me, I live and I learn from it. I am strong and no one can take that away from me.





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