I ran away

DECD3E40-089E-46E9-A9BF-2CF4CDE0E2C5What should I have done?  I was disgusted and angry but I didn’t do or say anything about it. I went into the master bedroom with the baby and closed the door. My emotions were all over the place. I was so worried for the girl. I wanted to go back out and “save” her but I was too afraid to look. I paced and contemplated and after what seeme like eternity, I emerged from the master and went into the living room to watch TV.  I sat on the love seat and she sat on the sofa, still playing with the iPhone. I kept looking over at her trying to see if I saw anything in her eyes. I wanted her to say something to me but she was focused on the iPhone.  Shortly thereafter, he comes into the living room with the blanket that was on her bed and sat right next to her so they could both look at the iPhone. I’m wondering to myself, why are you sitting so close to her? He tells me that he’s letting her watch a movie on the iPhone. That was my opportunity to ask why he’s sitting so close to her but I just couldn’t do it. He draped the blanket over both of them and I’m getting more and more uncomfortable but try to focus on the television.  I glanced over a few times and could see his hand moving. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I couldn’t believe that he was doing this right in front of me. I was livid and finally jumped up and all I could muster up to say was “UGH.”  He got up from the sofa and went in to the hall bathroom. She was still on the sofa with the blanket draped over her. I went into the master and slammed the door. What was I going to do?  What was I going to say? Why? Why? Why? I couldn’t be there, in the same house with him so I got online and purchased a one way ticket back home. I didn’t care how much it cost, I wanted out of there. None of us acknowledged or spoke of what happened that night.

The following day was awkward. There was tension between he and I but we didn’t say a word about what transpired. I looked at his wife and wondered to myself, how could she not know? If he did that in front of his own mother, he would certainly do it around her as well. This is why I didn’t say anything to her. I figured she knew but turned the other way so why bother. I wanted to talk to the girl. I wanted to hear what she had to say. While my son and his wife went to Starbucks, I sat down with the girl and asked her if her dad does things to her. She told me that he touches her all of the time but she can’t say anything because it’s their secret. She told me that he buys her candy and let’s her eat pizza so she won’t tell her mom.  I told her that what he’s doing is wrong and she needs to tell an adult at school and she won’t get in trouble.  At the time, I tried to convince myself that I did my due diligence by telling her what she should do.  I was only fooling myself. I owed it to her to confront him.



What I saw


My granddaughter was born on August 30, 2014.  My son had told me they were expecting a few months prior to her birth. I was excited but a little worried because I wasn’t sure he could financially support a baby.  He kept me updated on the pregnancy and I became closer to the his two step-daughers. I treated them as if they were my own grand-daughters since he was in their lives and they called him dad.  He wasn’t working but she held down a full-time job and was the breadwinner. He was pretty much a stay at home dad which worked for their household. I still wished that he would work and be the head of the household but that wasn’t my call.  The day she was born is still etched in my memory. It really didn’t hit me that I was a grandmother until then. He was overjoyed and I was so happy for him. I thought, perhaps the birth of his own daughter would light the fire in him to get a job and be the main provider for the family. I was optimistic that there was hope and his attitude and position in life would change.

I went to visit them twice. Once, a few weeks after she was born and again when she was 5 months old.  I was also able to see her at Christmas when I flew them all out to come to my home to spend time with us and the family here. It was so exciting to have a baby in the family. The youngest child in the extended family was eight years old at the time so a baby was happily welcomed. We all doted on her and I was elated to have a little girl around since I was a boy mom before she came along.  Everyone accepted the two stepdaughters with open arms. Some said it and others thought about it in their heads, that this will make him grow up and be a responsible man.

When they were all at my house during the Christmas break, I witnessed something that made me shutter but I turned the other way and put it in the back of my head. I was walking down the hall and passed the bedroom where they slept and had their belongings. He and the oldest girl who was 9 at the time, were laying down, on their sides in a spooning position. He was laying behind her and when I saw this, I thought to myself that it was inappropriate. I didn’t say anything.

I couldn’t wait to go see my granddaughter again, so I took advantage of the President’s Day three day weekend and flew there to visit. They appeared to be a happy, functioning family. He still didn’t work but she held down a solid job and provided for everyone. He took care of the girls and the baby while she worked. My granddaughter was 5 months old and so adorable. I doted over her. The older girls were so sweet and it was funny that they called me Mimi. I loved the idea of being a grandma because we can dote over them and spend time with them but give them back when we are ready to do so. Everything seemed good.

We shopped at the outlet mall while I was there. We walked around sightseeing and just spent quality time together.  He loves my cooking so I cooked him some of his favorite dishes the first night I was there. She worked evenings so he would pick the girls up from school, help them with homework, feed them and get them ready for bed. And when the baby came along, he really had his hands full. He was Mr. Mom and it worked for their little family unit.

On the second evening I was there, she had to work so we just hung out at the house. Before it got dark, he offered to pick up some dinner at El Pollo Loco. He took the oldest girl with him. When they got back, he prepared a frozen pizza for her and I noticed that she had some candy that he bought for her while they were out. No big deal then but I now know what that was all about.

As it got later in the evening, the girls bathed and settled down. I was taking care of the baby and was going back and forth between the master bedroom and the living room. The other daughter was in her bedroom playing with her toys and the oldest daughter was on her bed, in her own bedroom, playing on an iPhone. I was in the living room for an extended period of time with the baby and decided to get up and walk around.  You had to pass both secondary bedrooms before getting to the master. As I walked down the short hallway, I literally gasped at what I saw in the oldest girl’s room. I was shocked and speechless. They were both laying down on their sides in a spooning position with him behind her. I just stood there as she rolled over onto her back and pulled her panties up. He just laid there and acted like he was playing the the handheld device. No words would come out of my mouth. All I could do was walk away. I ran, like a coward.

Thinking back


I think and wonder what could I have done to prevent his behavior.  They say a child is a product of their upbringing.  I got pregnant at 19 and gave birth to him at 20 years old and of course that was a very bad thing in my parents eyes.  My father always said that I ruined my athletic career and I could have done so much better in life. I was his star athlete who he poured his heart and soul into.  My basketball career was done even though I probably could have pursued it, but I just did not have the support to do so. I was a young mother and had to take that responsibility head on.  I enrolled in the local community college and would go to night classes sometimes with him in the baby carrier. His father and I married very briefly and it ended when he enlisted in the Navy without my knowledge and I was left to raise him alone for several years.  I had no choice but to move back in with my parents which was hell. My father looked at me with disappointment in his eyes. My mother wouldn’t even look at me. We could all be in the same room and she would talk to everyone but me. I think she hated me for the young pregnancy and failed attempt at marriage.  Even growing up, she wasn’t a nurturer. She was a working mother with 4 children so she was busy. Too busy perhaps to attend one of my many games or even acknowledge how gifted an athlete I was. I tell people, no matter what extracurricular activities or interests your child has PLEASE support them 100%. It means the world to them and will have an overwhelming affect on them in the long run.  I really wished that we were closer.

I did the best that I could.  I’ve always held a full-time job so I was always able to provide for my son. One day, my mother and I had a really bad argument. I can’t even recall what it was about but given our relationship, it could have been something very simple. She was so mad and was trying to punch me and my only response was to put my hands and arms up in defense mode. No matter how bad it was between us, there was no way that I was going to hit or physically harm her.  During this exchange, she told me to get the hell out of her house which I did. Everyone silently looked on and said nothing as I packed our belongings in Hefty bags and drove off with my toddler son in tow. We had nowhere to go. I was hurt and  and scared.  We ended up sleeping in my car for 2 nights at a park.  Then, came along a very nice gesture from a male friend.  Back then, he was a youth minister and he said God told him to help us so he gave me a deposit to secure an apartment. The only thing I could afford at the time was a studio apartment in a not so nice area of Los Angeles but it was home for my son and I.


The forbidden topic

Unfortunately, many people do not want to believe that the act of child molestation exists, especially within our own families. It’s embarrassing, it’s unfathomable and it’s ludicrous to think that it’s happening. The ugly truth is that it does happen, more than we can ever imagine. So many look the other way because we don’t want to believe that our fathers, brothers, uncles, sons, other male relative or family friends could commit lewd acts upon a child and/or adolescent. I looked the other way because I didn’t know how to confront him. I was disgusted, appalled and shocked. I wanted to say something to him but I couldn’t bring myself to do so. I grew up in a household where we did not communicate our thoughts or feelings with each other and it’s something I’ve  struggled with as a parent myself.  Even if I had confronted him, it would not have changed what was going on between him and his stepdaughter. Instead, I abruptly cut my visit short and flew back home to deal with it. I recall our very uncomfortable goodbye as he took my suitcase to the cab. He knew that I knew. The awkward silence was defeaning. I was too afraid to talk about it becaus I was a coward. I did not want him to be mad at me. I did not want that conversation to take place. I was one of the mothers we hear about who doesn’t want to acknowledge that forbidden topic.