Monthly Archives: April 2008

A Heavy Heart


Yesterday I posted about Kierra’s doctor’s appointment and I wanted to provide an update.  She has to have surgery in two weeks.  She put on a happy face, being strong for her parents, all of us.  I have not had a chance to talk to her one on one yet; but I’m sure she is probably nervous about having this procedure done.

             Things pretty much went the way I assumed.  BM came in and didn’t speak or acknowledge our presence.  She sat on the opposite side of the waiting area.  As we waited for Kierra’s name to be called, Kierra and I shared a chair.  We talked quietly with my husband.  We also listened to some music on her I Pod. 

Finally Kierra’s name was called and and her and her mom went back.  About 15 minutes later, BM came out and called my husband’s name so we both went to talk to the doctor.  BM and Husband asked questions as I listened.  They agreed on the date for the surgery.  My husband and I left out to give Kierra some privacy to get dressed.

I had a chance to ask the doctor a few questions while waiting on Kierra and BM to come out.  When BM and Kierra did come out the nurse handed BM the necessary instructions and we all walked out together.  Kierra walked with us to the elevator and we all rode down to the first floor.  None of the adults spoke to each other.  Kierra did most of the talking.  We said our goodbyes (to Kierra) and gave her big hug.  The whole scene was very awkward.

Kierra has a lot to process right now.  She has been through so much dealing with her parents not getting along.  I feel as if this would be the perfect time for everyone involved to pull together for her benefit.  I know that is not going to happen.  My husband doesn’t feel the need to talk to BM (I can’t say that I blame him) because of all the problems she has caused.  And BM surely has her own agenda.  If something does not benefit her, she could care less.  That’s how I see it.  I was an emotional wreck last night.  Somehow I feel stuck in the middle, wanting to say something, but knowing I cannot.  I’m giving this situation over to God.  I cannot do this alone.



Word Therapy


                     I love poetry.  There is something about poetry that makes me feel free.  I write when I am happy, sad, excited, confused—virtually anytime.  I don’t have to have a rhyme or reason (pun intended!) to write.  I thought to share this love with Eliza as a way to channel her stress.  During our last visit she confided in me that she had been up all night crying.  I really didn’t know what to say, but I did empathize with her.  As a mother I know it has to be agonizing for her to be separated from her children.  

On the drive home I brainstormed ways that I could help alleviate her stress.  Poetry seemed like a good answer.  On occasion I have sent her poems for encouragement and she seemed to enjoy those.  During Christmas I even wrote one for her on behalf of the children.  I figured that writing poetry was a healthy, tranquil method of reducing stress.  And it is something that does not require much investment to begin.   Also, Eliza had recently shared with me that English was her favorite subject.  So I wrote Eliza a letter to pitch the idea and she loved it. 

  Yesterday I mailed her a “poetry starter kit.”  She had expressed an interest in reading some of my work,  so I obliged  and sent her 11 poems that I had written.   I also sent a list of 10 different poetry genres along with instructions for each. 

As I mentioned in my last post Opening Up, Where I Come From, was the most personal poem I sent.  This poem gives a lot of insight about how and why I am who I am.  It highlights the events and experiences that have shaped me.  Of course I debated whether to send it along with the rest.  But Rhonda convinced me that I should.  I realized that I have to let my inhibitions go for the sake of balance.  After all, it does take two to have a relationship of any kind—good or bad.

I invite you readers to try your hand at writing your own version of Where I Come From.  I would love to see them appearing on your blogs!  If you share yours, I’ll share mine!  For more information, go to:

Fed Up!


A few weeks back my husband received a call from BM with an update about Kierra’s doctor visit.  Kierra had been complaining of chest pains and her doctor had referred her to a specialist.  Well, today is her scheduled appointment and my husband asked me to go with him.  This will be the fist time all have attended a doctor’s visit together.  I had considered calling BM to break the ice before going.  I wanted to avoid feeling awkward. But something happened last Wednesday that caused me to change my mind.

As we are finishing dinner the phone rang and I answered.   It was BM.  She asked me to tell Kierra that she was on her way.  Then she asked if my husband was home.  I handed him the phone and his expression instantly turned serious. All of a sudden he stormed out of the house.  I figured something was wrong because BM sounded frantic when I answered the phone.  When he came back in, it was clear that he was upset.  He then told me that BM was calling to confront him.  Apparently some kid that goes to her oldest daughter’s school told her daughter that my husband was talking about her at his place of business.  Instead of consoling her daughter and assuring her that husband wouldn’t do anything like that, BM added fuel to the fire. 

BM was hollering and screaming that she has a right to call him and complain about what he supposedly said.  She had already assumed that this kid was telling the truth.  My husband told her not to call him unless it concerned Kierra.  The next day he talked to her oldest daughter.  She told my husband what the boy said.  It seems as though BM had added more lies to the pot.

A while back Kierra and her sister had a two hour delay from school.  BM called our home asking my husband to take Kierra to school because the bus didn’t show up.  Husband asks BM if she wanted him to take Kierra’s sister as well.  BM told my husband that she already had a ride.  So when my husband got there, he questioned Kierra about missing the bus and found out that they just didn’t want to go to school.  So he told the sister to get in the car and he was taking her to school, too.  He then called BM to tell her that THEY were being sneaky.  BM went into this story of how her oldest daughter loves school and Kierra is the one that doesn’t like school.  So husband dropped it.

BM had apparently mixed that conversation into what this boy said and made it a big mess.  Because of this, my husband does not want to talk to her at all.  She constantly makes up these stories for no reason.

On Saturday Kierra called my husband and said that BM wants to know if “Kierra” could borrow $20 for her co-pay.  My husband told Kierra that BM needed to write a check.  Yesterday, Kierra called her dad and said that BM wanted to talk to him.  She went into this story about how she doesn’t have any money because she has to give the girls lunch money for school.  (Last week Kierra called my husband wanting to know if he could give her money for lunch because BM didn’t have any money.  He gave Kierra money for lunch.)  She went on and on about she needed the little money she had to feed the kids and for gas.  He told her that she had three weeks to prepare for Kierra’s appointment and that he had to think about it. 

$20 is really no big deal but it is the principle of the matter.  He just gave Kierra money for lunch.  He is so fed up with BM right now.  He said he would pay the co-pay himself and get the receipt.  I’m sure BM will have nothing to say to either of us today. 




Opening Up


             I am a very private individual.  I keep most of my thoughts close to my heart.  I am hypersensitive regarding most things.  I care deeply for others.  I don’t like to work on teams, believing that I can get the job done better on my own.  I could accurately be described as a loner, preferring my own company to that of others.  It feels safer this way.  

            It is not easy for me to open myself up to others.  Yet I know it is necessary in order to fortify relationships.  I am still hesitant to tell Eliza too much about me.  I don’t want to give her any future ammunition.  I want to be okay if the tides do happen to turn. I know that it is necessary for us to communicate, however, she does not have to confide in me the way that she has been.  This shows a little growth on her part.  She could keep things strictly about Ethan and Evan.  And this used to be the way it was. 

            But in her most recent letter she wrote I really appreciate you sharing with me how Evan is feeling.  I expect him to be angry with me.  I actually expect all of my boys to be angry with me-I don’t blame them.  I mean, look where I am… I’ve made some bad choices in life and I feel I have truly learned from my mistakes. When people are at the mercy of others, they will say and do anything to get comfort.  Does she really mean what she says?  Only time will tell the story of El…

            Truthfully, I don’t know if I’m brave enough to expose my “weak” spots to her.  But yesterday I took a tiny step in that direction.  I sent her eleven poems from a collection of poetry that I am creating called  Dark Days.  One poem in particular revealed a lot about me, entitled Where I Come From.  Keep reading because I plan to write a post regarding how she and I even got on the subject of poetry.  Stay tuned… 

When I’m An Old Lady (author unknown)


  When I’m an old lady, I’ll live with each kid, 
  And bring so much happiness…just as they did. 
  Returning each deed! Oh, they’ll be so excited! 
  (When I’m an old lady and live with my kids) 

When they’re on the phone and just out of reach, 
I’ll get into things like sugar and bleach. 
Oh, they’ll snap their fingers and then shake their head, 
(When I’m an old lady and live with my kids) 
When they cook dinner and call me to eat, 
I’ll not eat my green beans or salad or meat, 
I’ll gag on my okra, spill milk on the table, 
And when they get angry…I’ll run…if I’m able! 
(When I’m an old lady and live with my kids) 
I’ll sit close to the TV, through the channels I’ll click; 
I’ll cross both eyes just to see if they stick. 
I’ll take off my socks and throw one away, 
And play in the mud ’til the end of the day! 
(When I’m an old lady and live with my kids) 
And later in bed, I’ll lay back and sigh; 
I’ll thank God in prayer and then close my eyes. 
My kids will look down with a smile slowly creeping, 
And say with a groan, ‘She’s so sweet when she’s sleeping!’


God Bless

All Moms






Let the Circle Remain Unbroken


            Sometimes I wonder if I am obligated to help Eliza stay connected with Ethan and Evan.  I think I know the answer to my own question and I would have to say no.  I am not obligated to do anything for her.  But I do.  I do it because it feels good.  I do it because this is who I am.  I do it because they shouldn’t have to bear the burden of her bad choice.  I do it because I would want it done for me. 

            You have to be creative when keeping an incarcerated parent connected to their children.  I try to put myself in her place and imagine what I would want.  With that in mind I send her pictures, school work, and report cards.  If I ask the kids enough, they will write her on occasion.  Sometimes they will send her drawings.  But they won’t do anything without my prompting.  I write Eliza often to provide her with updates about them so that when she does write, which she does faithfully, she will have something to talk about.  On birthdays and holidays we always send a card or something equally special.  I also take them down once a month for visits.  During this time I try to stay in the background and let them have their time with her.  She only gets twenty-four hours per year.  I am with them everyday.  I can honestly say that she is interested in staying close to them.  Why not help her?  I see myself as part of the circle.

Human Goodness


This is a very thought-provoking piece of writing by Margaret J. Wheatley.  This quote really resonates with me:

In these times of turmoil, we’ve forgotten who we can be and we’ve let our worst natures prevail. Some of these bad behaviors we created because we treat people in non-human ways. We’ve taken the very things that make us human–our emotions, our imagination, our need for meaning–and dismissed them as unimportant. We’ve found it more convenient to treat humans as replaceable parts in the machinery of production. We’ve organized work around destructive motivations–greed, self-interest, competition.

You may read the rest of this essay at:





You’ve Come a Long Way


I want to share with you all two excerpts from my personal journal to show the progress that I have made concerning Eliza.  I have not always felt so peaceful about interacting with her.  Obviously, I have not always liked Eliza.  It is safe to say that I used to abhor her. I am not necessarily proud that I allowed her to get under my skin to the degree that she did, but what can I say, I am only human.




I’ve learned that being a stepmother is hard, serious work.  I was so bothered by the conversation that she had with the kids yesterday.  Why?  I can’t exactly pinpoint why.  I know that they should still love her because she is mom, but they don’t hold her accountable for anything.  All she has to do is make a bunch of false promises to them and they are content.  But here I am doing the lion’s share of her job and I get little to no thanks.  And that just bothers me.  I do not like being taken for granted.

Ethan is pretty much the same way he was when he first arrived—rude.  I choose to ignore him.  I know he is just counting the days until she comes home.  He has not tried to fit in here.  I’m tired of trying to make him fit.

Today Evan asked me if his mom and I were friends.  I’m sure he already knew the answer, he is totally precocious.  This was his way of testing me.  I was truthful and told him no.  I told him that I didn’t really know her very well and usually to count someone as a friend, you should that person relatively well.  He appeared satisfied with that explanation. 


            I resent her so much. I hate how she tries to pretend that being in her situation is no big deal, I hate how she wants to have control of our household from behind bars, I hate her for having the audacity to send that fake apology letter when we all know that she is not sorry for anything, I hate how she kept the kids away from him (PAS at its worse), I even had that he had the bad taste to procreate with that banshee!  I hate that she uses her brother to bail her out of trouble—every time, I hate that I have to spend MY money on HER ungrateful kids,  I hate that she does not realize how murdering someone in front of Ethan and Evan will have a horrible effect on them, I hate how we have to fix her attempt at parenting, I hate how she is still not mature enough to communicate with us, I hate how she fainted in jail upon learning that we had the boys, and most of all, I hate how she thinks we are supposed to automatically forgive her for all her past crimes against us simply because she is in prison!!! She never ceases to amaze me.

A Woman Possessed!


Ian and Imani have been through a great deal in their short lives.  My husband I go the extra mile to assure that they are safe. When Ian and Imani first arrived at our home they referred to our house as “Husband’s and Rhonda’s house.”  One day while driving home Imani wanted to know where we were headed.  Ian replied, “To Husband and Rhonda’s house.”  I spoke up, “Ian and Imani we are going home.  You guys live there, too.  From now on you can say, ‘We are going home.’  Do you understand?”  Yes, they responded uncertainly.  Of course I had to provide this gentle reminder to them a few more times before it finally sunk in.

Everyday Imani and I have a game we play. Whenever I come in from work Imani takes off running.  I can hear her little feet charging across the floor.  The first time Imani started this game, she hid under her bed.  Imani called out my name over and over again.  I went to her room but she was not there.  So I turned around and went back down the hallway thinking she was in our bedroom.  Nope.  She was not there either.  Imani called my name again.  I went back to her room and did not see her.  I finally figured that she was either under her bed or in the closet.  I checked in the closet, she was not there.  I lifted the bed skirt on her bed and there she was.  Laughter filled the room.  “You found me Rhonda!”  “Yes I did,”   I always affirm. Imani hides under her bed every time.  One day she tricked me and pulled her “blankie” in front of her and slide back against the wall.  I did not see her at first.  I left her room thinking she had finally changed the hiding place.  Then I heard her call out my name.  I went back in her room and found her.  Imani loved how she was able to trick me and told everyone so.

Ian loves for me to read to them before bedtime.  I let them choose the book and we take turns sitting on their bed.  After the story, we say our prayers.  Then my husband and I give Ian and Imani hugs and kisses before tucking them in for the night.  We always exit by telling them how much they are loved.

 Ian is like my husband’s little shadow.  I think he enjoys having a male role model.  One evening I had to run to the store and took Imani with me.  My husband and his friend were watching the game so I thought that Ian would want to stay home with the guys.  When I returned, my husband pulled me aside saying that Ian was upset because I didn’t take him.  Wow!  I did not realize that he would feel left out.  I really didn’t think he had even noticed.  Since then, I always make sure to ask Ian if he would like to go with me.

My attachment to the children is growing by the minute.  I check on them constantly just to make sure that they are comfortable.  Even though I am not their bio mom I find myself being really possessive of them.  Morocco talked about this in an earlier post titled “Life in the Village.”  She talked about being territorial with her son.  That is how I feel about Ian and Imani.  It feels surreal.  I did not go through this emotion with Kierra.  Maybe because Kierra has never lived with us, and more importantly, she has a mom.  I am Ian and Imani’s mother figure.  Ian and Imani know that I am not their mother but when they are talking to others, they refer to us as their mom and dad. 

I have an issue concerning Ian and Imani being in the presence of the BM.  I feel so much anxiety over this.  My husband is attending a meeting tonight at Kierra’s school and I am unable to attend.  Ian and Imani may have to go with my husband if we do not find a babysitter.  BM will be there.  I know this may sound crazy but I do not want them around her.  I know she will walk up to my husband and the children and strike up a conversation.  (Background note…whenever we attend any of Kierra’s functions together, BM is very standoffish toward me.  She does not speak.  She walks all around us as if we were invisible.  In the earlier years BM would snatch up Kierra and leave before we could see her.  This morning I found myself trying to rearrange my schedule so that the kids don’t have to be around her.

However, I stopped myself and pondered the situation and oh, my goodness!  It quickly dawned on me that this is what BM must have felt when I came into Kierra’s life.  In some weird way I want to reach out to BM so I can let her know that I get it now!  But I’m afraid to do so given the fact that I have tried to “break the ice” with BM on numerous occasions with no luck.  I am never sure what to do where BM is concerned.  She runs hot and cold.  At times she can be so sweet and then at other times she is frightenly aloof. BM will be one way this week and the next week the total opposite.

So my question to you reader is: should I reach out to BM again or let it go?