Since this blog has morphed into more of a journal and makes many references to key people in my life AND I’m really trying to refrain from blowing their anonymity or telling their stories without their permission, I have decided that it is time to create a Cast of Characters and create some identifiers that I can use when writing, for the sake of simplifying my process. Hopefully, it will also assist readers who may get confused by my various ways of referring the people in my life.
Jerry Keith” – I have referred to him as my “qualifier,” which means he has been my partner in toxic co-dependency and relationship/love addiction for the past 16+ years. He is my SO, or Significant Other, instead of my husband because we both have prior marriages to others that ended >;20 yrs ago but have not been legally dissolved. We have made promises, commitments, and invested so much in each other and in our relationship we might as well be married. He’s done the best he was capable of to be a father to my oldest two children. There is a long and convoluted history between them and current relations can be fraught with tension. He is absolutely devoted to our three year old daughter and she is definitely Daddy’s Little Girl. He’s currently employed as a long-haul truck driver and is gone several weeks at a time and only home a few days at a time. For more about Jerry start here.
“Luna” – The child of my “old age.” Also known as The Little One, the pre-schooler, and my youngest. I found out I was pregnant with her when I was 38 years old and my middle child was 14. So, instead of going back to college, I went back to “mommy school.” The semi-bitter joke during the pregnancy was that I had been preparing and looking forward to “empty nest syndrome” and not feathering a new one. She gets both the best and worst of me. The best because I’ve learned, grown, and changed so much inside of my own mind, spirit, and emotions from the kind of mom I was for her siblings. The worst because I seem to be in full blown cyclical flares of the fibromyalgia and depression I’ve battled with for the past 20+ years and struggle with pain, fatigue, and mobility issues. I’m absolutely determined that she gets to have and experience true childhood ~ a first in my branch of the family tree for several generations. I’m also absolutely committed to her getting to grow up with a relationship with her father, also a first. Because of my personal history, I have difficulties with attachment in relationships and have worked really hard to form an attachment and bond with her. She was a breastfed baby until just before she turned 3, she’s 3 1/2 now. As the “baby” and Daddy’s Girl she is somewhat spoiled and pampered, however, I/we are working on limits, boundaries, manners, and how to appropriately express feelings, wants, and needs. She is both the joy of my life and, at times, the bane of my existence. I owe her my life and am so very grateful God has lent her to me for this time.
“Marco” – He’s my oldest. I got pregnant with him at 16 and he was born when I was 17. His dad was 14 years older than me and a professional, low-class con man. We spent 3.5 years living out of cars and hitchhiking across the country before, during, and after my pregnancy. Notes up in rest areas, sob story conversations, and earnest offers of work for assistance were how we lived during that time. I couldn’t live that way anymore by the time he was 2 and the marriage broke up with a bang. At 19 I returned “home” and began the process of learning how to be an adult, mom, woman, and survivor. He raised me as I was raising him. Charismatic, exceedingly intelligent, socially adept, and completely aware of his gifts while being emotionally neglected and having to grow up too soon to help take care of his younger sister, he has had a bumpy ride. He was the first to graduate high school in a couple of generations. He is 26 and has been married, gone to war, been a fugitive, been an addict/dealer, gone to prison, and survived so much more than all of that. Since November 2011 he has been transformed from a bitter, depressed, hopeless, angry, and unforgiving young man into a courageous, forgiving, loving, man of faith with a steady job and is engaged to a strong, faithful and compassionate woman of faith, “Bridgette,” who has been instrumental in helping he and I reconnect and grow in our relationship with each other. So proud of him. Oh, and he absolutely ADORES Luna, he’s the one who dubbed her TLO – The Little One. When I graduated from an alternative high school for teen moms back in 1990, the theme was from the movie Beaches and the Bette Middler song, “Wind Beneath My Wings.” I dedicated that song to him then, again in 2005 when he graduated, and it is true today as well.
“LaLa” – This is the nickname for my oldest daughter (who is 19) by the youngest. She is also known as The Delightful One. We’ve had a very tumultuous relationship and I think most of my grey hairs have her name at their root. A supposition she was proud to claim and point out to her friends. She’s followed in my troubled footsteps, but is forging her own path while doing it. I have no doubt she will come through this period of her life with strength, courage, and determination. I cherish the fact that even though she is making and has made many difficult, challenging, and upsetting choices in her life I have managed to make it clear that even though I may not like those things, she is my child and I love her and support her no matter what. That being said, we have been very enmeshed for so long that it took a bit for me to figure out appropriate boundaries – for both of us. She is my sunshine.
This sums up the Major Players in my life. Others may be introduced in the future.