When I was 20 years old, I was in a dysfunctional relationship with a dysfunctional man. I got pregnant and soon realized I was now responsible for a child and needed to better myself for him and me. I continued however in this chaotic mess with Parker’s biological dad who couldn’t seem to overcome his addiction. I tried for several years to make our marriage work (and I use the term marriage loosely). Even while he (my ex-husband) was in and out of Prison, I tried to stay committed. My marriage was a joke: it was an unhealthy, destructive, abusive relationship and home environment. I was afraid to go home. I had to lie to Parker about the bruises on my body, the screams he would hear almost nightly, and the constant fear I felt. I finally realized I was better than my circumstances and my child certainly deserved better and that it was time to make significant changes in my life.
I was scared, broke, and unsure of just about everything, including myself. But I wasn’t content with mediocrity- with having just enough to get by. I wanted to be better and to do better. I knew that I couldn’t depend on anyone except God to get me through what seemed impossible. I had no education but knew that was the starting point. I soon enrolled in community college (which was a feat unto itself) and took classes to become a paralegal.
During my schooling, I worked full time as a housekeeper and I worked part time at a nursing home (not to mention raising a raging, obsessive and active son). Times were always tough. There wasn’t a single easy day. But, like all great things in life, I had to look beyond my struggles. And that’s exactly what I did. I broke my back (Specifically my tail bone as a waitress) to take care of myself and my son.
I had to get on food stamps and housing assistance. My parents graciously paid for my son’s clothing and shoes for school since I didn’t have the money. I could barely pay for what little I had. Although I was overwhelmed with work, school, my finances and raising a strong spirited kid, I forged ahead. I knew one day I would cross that finish line, and nothing was going to stop me.
Once I graduated, I went on to work for the State of Texas at both CPS and APS. I didn’t make much money but enough to support myself and my child. Knowing I could finally rebuke my food stamps and government housing was liberating for me. I could even finally afford to buy my son school clothes! But, yet again, I wasn’t content. I wanted more.
I finally had a legitimate job and enough money to survive. But my personal life was once again in shambles. I lost my father and lost a bit of myself in the process. Parker started skipping school, using drugs and doing everything he possibly could to be a criminal. He was 13 and spiraling out of control. But I wasn’t doing so well myself either. I didn’t know how to handle him, especially with the issues going on within myself.
Parker left home shortly after, and I had some time to myself. I can say that honestly a part of me hated him for what he had turned into. A part of me blamed myself. But the remaining part was scratching and searching for something. I wanted to find myself and that is exactly what I set out to do.
So, I decided to go back to school. It was during my career at APS and my past work experience in a nursing home, that I had an admiration and love for the elderly. I then went to Wayland Baptist University and got my certification as a nursing home administrator. It was in this role that a physician approached me and offered me a job to manage his physician practice. I was then supervising and managing 4 physicians, 10 nurse practitioners, and 2 physician assistants.
During this time my son was lost from me. Only he knows the specifics of this time, but I can say with certainty it was nothing good. I knew he had to find his own way. He was taught to never ask for anything and that his potential was limitless, but he had to earn it. So, he didn’t reach out much. It was difficult to see him during this time. He was in and out of incarcerations and institutions. All I could do was watch and pray for his life.
I guess prayers work because Parker got his shit together and I finally got my son back. He seemed to have changed so deeply that I was truly a believer again. It was during this time that I continued to work my butt off and watch my son do the same. I finally understood that teaching a child is one thing but doing it day after day is another. He was never soft on himself, but now he started to create the world he wanted, and I did the same.
After years of managing, I was then approached by a local business owner who was ready to retire from her business: donuts. Currently I am the owner of a successful donut empire (as I like to call it) where I employ 80 employees. Our sales exceed 6 million a year. It is by the grace of God, hard work, and not settling for mediocrity I am where I am today. In all my trials and tribulations, I never gave up, I took initiative and worked like a dog to get what I have.
So, in closing, please understand this: Times will always get tough. You will be tested mentally and physically. You will have to help others. Some may even depend on you. But through all this one thing must remain: your belief in yourself and your willingness to work your ass off.