Warning: this post deals with domestic violence and assault
So many secrets can lie behind a filtered family photo. This is my story – my secret – behind those family photos.
The last time
The moment his bleeding hands wrapped around my neck, I knew this was the last time I would ever let this happen.
My eyes shut and my precious boy’s screams became muffled. Losing oxygen, I desperately held on to my five-month-old little girl and felt a shift in my heart.
This was the last time.
If it was me alone, there’s no doubt that I would continue to stay. Leave it up to chance that it may or may not happen again, but I don’t live for myself anymore.
I had to protect my children
Undeservingly, I was given the most important job in the world. Two beautiful, innocent, and healthy gifts that with my life I will protect, despite how hard it might be.
Those tiny eyes will never look at me again begging for protection. I’m removing ourselves from the danger even though for myself, the fear of the unknown is scarier. It’s not about me anymore.
I know the judgement that’s about to come..
“We told you this would happen..”
“You’re just going to go back..”
“She’s living at her parents again..”
“How many times is it now..”
“How long until she moves back..”
“Those poor kids..”
Adrenaline fueled my body as I quickly began thinking of a plan to escape in the least traumatic way possible.
Making the decision
My boy had been through enough, but the truth is, no matter how I did it, the pain for him would be just the same. I was willing to wait however long it would take for “him” to leave so I could make my move without a fight.
In that same day, my window came. My mind was made up that we were doing this.
As I laid my little girl on the bed, I directed my four-year-old son to pack up his most favorite toys in the hamper that I set in front of him. Of course in went tiny odds and ends, pieces to train tracks, several different bags full of other random things, and a book bag stuffed with bedtime stories.
This was it. I rushed around grabbing everything I could think of. Throwing my entire life into plastic white garbage bags, I didn’t let myself think about what was to come.
All I could think about was safety.
Within 20 minutes I had my white Mazda car stuffed to the max, only leaving enough space for my tiny humans to be fastened.
As my son held my folder with birth certificates, social security cards, and the custody agreement. I reassured him that we were going to be just fine.
“Our mom will always protect us”
Right as we were about to walk out the door he said to his little sister, “Our mom will always protect us.”
I held back tears, left my engagement ring and hopes of a normal family behind. In all reality, the stuff didn’t matter. I tried my best to bring the semblance of normal with me, but the normal isn’t in the things.
The normal is in the safeness and future that we are about to create together as a triangle. God has a path and a plan for our lives and faith is what I rely on to get me through. I repeated silently in my head, “We are going to be just fine.”
If you are in a domestic violence situation and need help, please call/text/chat the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.7233 or text “START” to 88788.