Looks Like We Made It 1.4: Pregnant at 13

Please note that while we are sharing our memoir it is a work in progress.  The title “Looks Like We Made It” is a working title.  The words in the chapters are are also a work in progress.  This is not a final copy, but rather a chance to share our story.

Pregnant at 13

Looks Like We Made It

Chapter 1.4

Norah

This new relationship became everything to me. In it I felt the voids in my life begin to fill. He was the kind of guy I would imagine every pre teen girl would want to date. He was older, had a car and always had enough money to take me dates. At thirteen there was something to be said about a guy that had a wallet with cash, a driver’s license and a set of car keys. When his car pulled up to the middle school navigating around all the little boys on bikes my heart would flutter, I’d look around to make sure that my friends were close enough to see me float into the passenger’s seat of his car. I would never rush my walk towards him, I sort of awkwardly glided to his low rider Monte Carlo, giving my peers an opportunity for making me the subject of their conversations. Not the negative kind of talk I normally expected and at times engaged in, teenagers were nasty. Nasty as in belittling one another with pure gossip, a shared secret with someone you thought was a friend would quickly be told and spread like wildfire across the school. A small social infarction would spark a flame that grew as it left one gossiper’s lips to the next. Wildfire! The conversation about me I imagined would be to my benefit and I smiled thinking about it “Hey did you see her boyfriend picking her up, he has a nice ride” one would say as the other replied, “She is so lucky.”  

My boyfriend and I spent much of our time going to the latest movies and frequenting our favorite fast food spots. He was so attentive and wanted to spend almost every waking hour in my company. His family took me in as their own and in a short amount of time I was completely lost in a new world. When I entered this new world I was greeted by people who seemed to have an interest in me, willing to invest their energy in getting to know me. When I answered the question of how are you doing they listened to me as if every word I spoke was important.  They may have always listened just as an polite person would, but with the gaping hole in the middle of my home where I fell in with my thoughts and fears, this hole with no ladder my encounters with this family felt special, they became the ladder I needed to get out. Unfortunately the times I was free from loneliness was in their home and not in mine. We spent little to no time at my house as I always suggested being at his.  Meal time with them also felt special, a family gathered around a table sharing stories of their day was what I missed the most at home. At my boyfriends house I didn’t stare at empty chairs that acknowledged someone was absent .   With the lack of attention, guidance and the hole that awaited me, I thought I was right where I belonged. As time passed I no longer wanted to be out with my friends, the time spent with them was time wasted. I would make excuses as to why I couldn’t go to birthday parties, school events and even sleep overs. Invitations to sleepovers were now used as a tool to get out of my house for an entire night without being questioned.  I even found a way out of my every other weekend dates with my dad. My mother was more than willing to help me come up with reasons why I needed to stay home and not see my dad. She would do and say whatever I suggested just to keep me happy and busy as long as my chores were done of course. She was so busy trying to find herself in the new single role while at  the same time avoiding my father at all costs. The less contact I had with him meant less contact she would have to have with him. In hindsight we were both avoiding the obvious hole in the middle of our house while searching for places where the attention we thought we needed lived.

On my boyfriend’s lunch break he stopped by my house and came with a pregnancy test, a Sprite the cure of all stomach illness, and a bag of pistachios, one of my favorite snacks. My initial reaction to his offerings was relief at the sight of the snacks and irritation to the test.  I could not allow myself to even fathom the possibility , for one second. He couldn’t stay long as he needed to get back to class, he was a month and a half into his senior year, missing school was not what he often did. He quickly left reminding me that he would call me later that day between classes. He left me wondering what to do. I ate the pistachios one by one. Each one I cracked open took my mind away from the pregnancy test. I tossed aside the shells in a pile in the middle of my bed where I sat with my legs criss crossed staring at my bedroom wall. I was careful not to make a mess. The saltness soothed me after throwing up several times that morning. I tried to convince myself that the whole thing was stupid because I honestly did not think I was pregnant. Where is no way I was carrying a baby, what would I do with a baby? Why would he continue to believe I was pregnant, he is finishing up high school and I haven’t even darkened the doorway of a high school. Was I going to carry a baby in my backpack? What a sight I would be. Yeah he has lost his mind and is trying to get me to fall into this crazy idea of his.  The last couple of months we had been intimate and for the most part used protection and I feel like we were smart. Well there was that time that maybe we weren’t being so smart. Maybe this was a possibility, no I was just really sick. This is why I keep throwing up. This was also why I had this terrible taste in my mouth and this nasty yellow puke keeps coming up in my throat. This is disgusting and I hope this bug doesn’t last long, I thought over and over again. Maybe I’ll just take the pregnancy test to prove that I was right and have him baby me a little longer while I recover from this stomach flu, I was not pregnant!

I opened the box and read the instructions several time, he bought a box that had two test in it. Why in the hell did I need two tests I asked myself as a pain in my stomach over came me? This was not the stomach ache pain but the stomach anxiety pain. The kind of pain that was so deep that it made my heart palpitate faster than normal.  Was he right, was I possibly pregnant? I asked myself once again as I prepared to take the test. I have always been very precise and I knew the importance of making sure I took this test correctly. I peed on the test stick, set it on the toilet tank, and waited three minutes as instructed. If the line in the little indicator window at the end of the plastic test stick turned pink I was pregnant, if it remained white this meant I was not pregnant. I came back three minutes later into the bathroom to find a pink line. As pink as pink can be, dark pink. I was in shock and refused to believe that I was before me.. I convinced myself that I simply had the flu. The test was wrong. It was an error, it had to be.

Scared of the truth I hid the test in my bottom dresser drawer and covered it with clothes. I took the instructions out and reread them. I read the instructions front to back, Chinese, Spanish, whatever was printed on that paper I read it. I wanted to convince myself the results were incorrect, that I had took the test incorrectly. Can I not pee on a test correctly? In reading the instructions over and over again I could take the test by peeing in a cup and placing the test sick in urine allowing it to saturate and wait the three minutes. Praying I screwed the test up the first time I took it again, hoping the test stick would remain white. I gathered my urine in a small paper cup, placed the tip of the test in the cup,watched for my urine to saturate the new stick and waited longer than three minutes just in case the test needed more time to indicate the correct answer.  I thought if I waited long enough this test would show its true colors. Meanwhile, I went back to my dresser drawer and took out the original test. I set the test on the instruction pamphlet were it showed a positive test reading and it looked exactly as pictured.  I stared at the test while my heart pounded with my mind clouded. I was not fully able to comprehend the magnitude of what this result meant for my life as a whole, I closed my eyes and hoped when I opened them the test would be negative. After a deep breathe I opened my eyes and looked at the second test to see an even brighter pink line! The window of the second test burned pink. I did not have the flu, I was pregnant. Not knowing what to do I took the second pregnancy test paraphernalia and hid it in my dresser drawer along with the first one .  How did I get here? I can go back can’t I? This was the last possible thing I thought would happen to me. I have no idea how to care for a baby. Mom is going to kill me and oh dad is going to kill him. Dad can’t know not just yet as a matter of fact I am not going to tell anyone. I can’t believe this is happening to me. I need him to come back over here to figure this out. Why am I alone right now? I need someone to talk to, I have no idea what to do. I never in a million years thought this would happen to me. This never happens to girls like me. What kind of a girl am I? I am the kind of girl that gets herself in trouble. Why am I alone? I am not alone, wait I will never be alone ever again. Ever again. I sat at home all day by myself, by myself with a tiny human being to grow inside of me. A tiny human that would change my life forever. I was pregnant at thirteen.

 

 

 

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Norah

Norah

A wife to a man in wheels. Sharing my life with all of the struggles in hopes to open up the highways of understanding, compassion, love, and hope.  Follow me as I tread through.

Looks Like We Made It 1.4: Pregnant at 13

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Looks Like We Made It: Looking For Home 1.2

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Writing Hurts

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Writing Our Book Part 4

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Take Care of You in 2017

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Merry Christmas Prayers

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Writing Our Book Part 3

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Hands That Are Thankful

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We Are Meant to Change

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Writing Our Book

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Looks Like We Made It: New Start 1.3

Please note that while we are sharing our memoir it is a work in progress.  The title “Looks Like We Made It” is a working title.  The words in the chapters are are also a work in progress.  This is not a final copy, but rather a chance to share our story.

New Start

Looks Like We Made It

New Start

Chapter 1.3

Sergio

My dad pulled up to the sign that read Delta Airlines, parked at the side of the curb and popped the trunk to pull out my luggage. He said be good, don’t get into any trouble. Little late for words of advice. What I wanted to hear from my dad was, I’ve changed my mind we don’t need to ship you off, let’s try and figure this out here in Colorado, there’s no need to send you to California. I learned at a young age this wasn’t how my dad’s thoughts worked. Once he made up his mind he remained silent and moved slowly into action.  Little words were exchanged and body language showed discomfort. I never doubted if my dad loved me, even when I was never on the receiving side of hugs or an I love you from  him. The love memories came from watching him get up for work in a middle of a snowstorm so he could provide for our family. He was never able to make it to any of my school functions because he had to work, but I always had clothes and food to eat.  To me, that was normal.  In the neighborhood we lived in my friends dads weren’t around and if they were they weren’t working. My neighborhood friend’s dad spent time hanging out at the bar or in the streets. I never saw my dad come home drunk, be loud or crazy, or ever try to hit my mom, that was the life that my friends lived.  But of course I wanted my dad to come to my school functions and to tell me he loved me, but that wasn’t his way. Convincing myself over and over that his lack of affection was normal was how I coped with his lack of interest.

Our  way of connecting was to wake  up on Saturday at six in the morning to help him load his truck for the flea market. His everyday job was a sanitation worker with a route at Peterson Air Force Base but on the weekends he was a salesman at the flea market.  He often collected items that other’s threw away, cleaned them up and sold them.  My dad noticed how much stuff soldiers threw away that could still be used. My job was to help load and unload the merchandise into the truck and to unpack the merchandise from the boxes onto blue tarps that were laid out on the ground so people could see what we had to sale as they walked by.  We would park the truck next to our selling station and I would sit in the driver’s seat of the truck with the window rolled down with my hand criss crossed and my head laying on them watching my dad sale stuff waiting for him to call me over to help. “Mijo check and see if we have a size 10 in those combat boots.”

“Yes, sir” I said and sometimes to make him laugh I would salute him as I was given orders.  

When potential buyers asked the cost of the boots my dad replied “Well these aren’t just any boots, they’re government issued pilot training boots, brand new they cost $200, but I’ll sell them to you for $20.”  My dad always had a good story to back up his merchandise. This was the only time I got to see him like this because before I woke up in the morning he would be gone to work and at night he would take a shower, eat and go to bed. So I enjoyed getting up early on the weekends to help him.  I was ready to be part of this boys club. I loved to see my dad in acton, he could sale anything. At the flea market I had dad to myself and the attention I wanted.  Getting up at 6 a.m. was worth the time I had with my dad.

But on this drive  everything was different.  Maybe what I wanted from my dad on the ride to the airport was for my dad to tell me we had a change of plans, that he needed me to stay and help him get ready for the flea market this weekend. Instead he handed me my bags and said “good luck mijo”. As I grabbed my bag our eyes met and without saying any words I could read his eyes reminding  me to call if I needed anything. And with a last nod of his head I walked away towards the entrance of the airport.

My mom already started walking toward the front doors to the ticketing station to get my boarding pass and to check in my bag.  She turned to hand me my boarding pass and pulled another envelope from her purse and said there’s some money in there for you to get something to eat on your way. She gave me a hug that was a little bit tighter and a little bit longer than usual. I didn’t pull away from her hold still hoping one of them would change their minds.  She pulled away and started to walk away but as I turned my head I got a glimpse of her eyes and I could see that she had started to cry, I felt a knot grow in my throat and my heart started to raise in my chest, I needed  to walk away or I would have started crying at the sight of her.

My mom was just like my dad when it came to showing emotion, they weren’t any good at it at all.  I watched her take out a Marlboro 100 cigarette from her purse,  light it up as she continued to cry. I never told my mom how much I appreciated how hard she worked to provide for me or to simply ask her to sit down relax from a hard day’s work. I wanted to run to her side, give her a hug and tell her thanks for everything she had done for me.  Giving me an envelope of cash was her way of writing me a letter telling me her feelings. Mijo I wish you didn’t have to leave, I wish you would have been able to figure out how to stay out of trouble so you didn’t have to leave us. But if you have to go I want to make sure that you are ok. Here’s a little something for you as you travel. Those were the words I imagined she had written on the bills as she placed them in the envelope. As mad as I made her in the past year she still would not allow me to suffer in any way.  My mom knew all too well what it was like to suffer.  She never came out and told me how hard it was for her as a young woman coming to America, I overheard conversations of how she entered the US with her unborn son to a strange new place where she knew no one. I could only imagine how many times she didn’t have enough to eat or a warm place to stay, but somehow she figured it out so her family would not struggle in the same way she did. The money was her way of telling me I’m watching over you. I started to feel a little guilty for all the crap I was putting my family through. Why did I have to take things as far as I had? It was because I wanted more from them, I needed their attention, but I sought it in all the wrong ways. I didn’t like feeling so lonely and I believed I had to figure out all of life’s lesson on my own. That’s exactly what I was doing, learning life on my own I felt alone and the people I surrounded myself with were there to help me not feel alone anymore. I searched  for my friends to acknowledge me. The bad part of this was that it usually meant me getting into trouble or breaking the law and I would have to pay for all the crazy things I did by being taken away from everything, including the people that helped me not feel alone.

I had never flown before and I was nervous.  I found my assigned seat, a window seat allowing me to look out unto the city that would no longer be my home.  I watched the flight attendant give out safety instructions and wondered if I would in fact be safe.  I started to feel anxious about meeting new people, would I have to start meeting new people right now in the plane with the person sitting next to me? What the hell would I talk to them about. Hello I’m Sergio I’m visiting California because I was kicked out of Colorado for stealing cars and breaking into houses or hey I’ve never flown before and what might help is a drink, could you order me a shot of tequila, they won’t sell to me because I’m only fifteen years old.  I decided not to speak to the person sitting next to me because I wasn’t up to wasting my time on small talk. I had life to figure out. Would I have to live up to my reputation or not in cali?  I realized I had the opportunity to change everything.  My reputation didn’t have to follow me to California.  I could create a new reputation.  I could reinvent myself into someone other than what people knew me as. Maybe I could make my mom and dad proud of the new person I had become, yeah this is what I wanted to achieve but could I really do it?

I was nervous to make the life change of moving to California.  I spent the last year of my life creating an image for myself.  People knew who I was in Colorado Springs.  After my flight to California everything about the world I lived in would no longer exist.  The world I lived in was small and it was instantly going to get bigger.  I was scared to death, I even second guessed my decision to leave the state.  Somehow the option of getting locked up seemed less scary than moving to an unknown world.  I knew what getting locked up felt like.  I knew the workers in the facility.  I made friends, and just by walking inside the detention centers people know who I was even if they had never met me. I had left a lasting impression in detention centers.  I knew what it felt like to sleep in a cell and  I knew what it was like to live in a facility and not see my family.  But California was an entirely new world.  I was afraid of the unknown.

The two hour flight passed in an instance, there was no turning back. Over the intercom the pilot announced to prepare to land, I turned my attention out the window and watched as the small objects got bigger the closer we came to land. I felt the nose of the plane tilt up and thud the plane made as it  touched the ground made me jump. Roar was the sound the plane made and then I was jolted forward by the breaks of the plane being engaged and I was in my new home. It was as if the landing joult was the last part of me leaving Colorado Springs behind, like being pulled from the bubble. Over the intercom the flight attendant said welcome to Los Angeles California and thank you for flying with us. I had no idea what to do next. I didn’t want to get left behind or lost so I followed the gentleman in front of me. I kept my head down as I followed his red tennis shoes and walked down the hall to baggage claim. I  waited for my bag to come up the ramp and onto the circle conveyor belt.  I couldn’t remember what my bag looked like, when I took my bag from my dad I  headed directly the ticketing desk, I totally missed to take a mental picture of it, and it didn’t help that my mom packed it for me so alI I could do was look for the one  bag that was the most familiar. Then I saw it riding down the conveyor belt right at me, It was a dark brown, square in shape with one handle at the top,  a big gold zipper that opened the top, and was covered in dust from rarely being used. It had set in our closet for years. I remembered playing hide and go seek and hiding behind it in the hallway closet, I reached over and pulled it off the luggage carousel and placed it to my side, it was time to wait.

The plan was for my aunt and uncle to pick me up from the airport.  I had only met them once when I was very young and I wasn’t sure I would recognize them. However family blood runs thick and the moment I saw my aunt I knew she was part of my family.  She and my mom shared the same eyes and the same smile, it was easy picking her out of the crowd.  I was welcomed with hugs.  My aunt and uncle were going to take me from the airport  to the bus station  where I would ride the greyhound to Santa Barbara.

It was late at night, well past 2 am when we got to  the bus station, but it didn’t seem to matter that it was late there were still people everywhere, waiting to go all over the United States, I thought that that was sort of cool. It was cold outside but nothing like the cold from back home.  The air wasn’t as harsh as Colorado’s cold nights.  My uncle purchased  me a ticket to Santa Barbara and hugs were once again given. Meeting my aunt and uncle was the easiest part of the whole trip. Maybe it was because we were family and I could feel the connection that I was with family.  I loaded onto the bus for another three hour trip. I knew immediately to keep my bag close to my body and to be aware of where my wallet was at all times. With my possessions close by I sat by the window and tried to look out into this new world, but it was too dark outside.  I had a lot on my mind and wondered about the last call that I got from my pregnant girlfriend. I never thought I would be a dad, well not at 15.  I thought at some point I would find a nice girl and we would get married, buy a house and then have a baby.  But that wasn’t how it was going to turn out for me. Why would I change now I never did things the normal way, why would this be any different?. Man I wasn’t ready to be anybody’s dad my head was so messed up I was scared I would screw them up more than I was. I was pissed that she wasn’t on the pill.   How did this happen? Did it mean that I had to marry her, I don’t even know if I love her.  All I could think of as soon as she said I’m pregnant was I don’t have any money, I don’t have a job and I’m getting kicked out of Colorado Springs. Are you keeping it, “Yes” she replied. It was crazy because she wasn’t any better off then I was. I didn’t want to be one of those guys that wasn’t around when his baby is born or a dad that wasn’t in the picture. But it looked like that was how it was going to turn out.

When I stepped off the bus and looked at my surroundings I could see the sun making it’s presence, the mark of a new start.  The sun reflected on the ocean, the light snuck up on the flowers and trees and eventually covered them with a warm blanket of light.  I stood up and took a deep breath of the morning air and felt oddly at peace with my life and my new home.  I fell in love with the view California had to offer .  It was stunningly beautiful.  The houses were different than back home.  They were red, orange, peach.  Colors I never knew homes to be.  They were adobe houses and I felt my attraction to them.  I could smell something fresh in the air.  I don’t know what it was that I could smell, but I knew I belonged there.  The ocean was beautiful, it called my name. California would be a new start.

 

Sergio

Sergio

The guy in the chair, who lost his ability to walk, but found his mobility through a change in his heart. A change when his mind was awakened by the gift of Purpose.
“And your life will be brighter than the noonday.
Its darkness will be like the morning.” Job11:17

Looks Like We Made It 1.4: Pregnant at 13

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Looks Like We Made It: Looking For Home 1.2

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Writing Hurts

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Writing Our Book Part 4

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Take Care of You in 2017

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Merry Christmas Prayers

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Writing Our Book Part 3

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Hands That Are Thankful

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We Are Meant to Change

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Writing Our Book

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Looks Like We Made It: Looking For Home 1.2

Please note that while we are sharing our memoir it is a work in progress.  The title “Looks Like We Made It” is a working title.  The words in the chapters are are also a work in progress.  This is not a final copy, but rather a chance to share our story.

Looking For Home

Looks Like We Made It

Chapter 1.2

Norah

I stared out the window on a crisp Colorado fall morning, the leaves changed in color and all had almost fallen to the ground, waiting for the wind to blow them away. Some leaves remained on branches, but very few. I often wondered how they hung on. I loved fall, it was always my favorite season. The sun shining through the almost naked trees and the beauty in the colors calms me. With the cold weather approaching some leaves would freeze and be held to the ground. I too had changed in color, but I was still attached to the tree by a small branch prepared for the wind to take me to a beautiful place not aware that winter would soon come and I would be frozen to the cold ground. I was headed in a different direction and speed I was not expecting.

That morning I thought I had the flu.  My mom went to work leaving me home alone even though I was throwing up. The morning air was cold and, I wiped the frost off my bedroom window in order to watch her drive away. I quickly got right back in my bed half mad that she left me alone and half glad that I was all alone. Even though at times I wished she was what I considered to be a normal parent I was safer spending less time with her. I couldn’t have a single conversation that did not include how tired she was and how I could be doing so much more to help her out. The more I did, the more resentful I became, especially when what I did was never up to her standards and she never thanked me. I quickly reminded myself she was now a single parent and could not afford to miss a day’s worth of pay.

This structure that once held laughter, good food and salsa music, this place that often smelled of pine sol and simmering sofrito was quiet, dim, and fragrance free. The year prior the place I called home became infested with sobs, angry outburst and bitterness. Salsa music no longer played unless my mother played it to pretend she was whole and happy. She was good at pretending. I no longer smelled the scents of my father’s favorite things in life, a clean home and his favorite Puerto Rican foods cooking. My mom’s way of showing love was through acts of service and she served my father in hopes to keep him happy and lacking for anything. He was her pride a joy, a service man. Growing up her eyes twinkled when he dressed in his class “A” army uniform. It had been a year since I had seen her look at him in this way. This house had changed not only in name but mostly in feelings. A year prior our home changed into a house when my father packed his personal belongs, when he was asked to leave. My mother could no longer live with a man that she could not trust.

When I sat in my bed, I was all alone. I felt out of place in this unfamiliar environment. All of the possessions inside looked familiar and even inviting but I was quickly reminded that the things inside are all for show. Being at our house made me feel desperate to exit.  Each one of my family members pulled in separate directions in search for a place to live, a place to call home. Our family house was a place that we each resided in, a roof over our head not a place we lived. A place where you live would imply that life was happening and it wasn’t.  We slept on occasion under this shared roof but we did not share the same family connection we had when our father was here.

I had to get out of bed before I threw up again, I walked passed my mother’s room on the way to the bathroom.  This once was my parents room, once a shared space. Now it felt like a dark cave. I avoided going in this room unless my mother would call me in there. Growing up my parents bedroom was where I would most often find my father under the blankets on weekend mornings. Being in the army we moved a lot, but my parents bedroom still held the same meaning to me, even if it wasn’t physically the same room. My dad loved to sleep in after a long weeks worth of work. It was known by all of us that as soon as dad got up we would be doing something fun as a family. It was a Saturday tradition to go shopping, to a movie and out to eat. Some mornings I would hear my parents talking through our bedroom walls, this is how I knew family fun time was approaching. I would jump in the bed with them both, if their conversation wasn’t over they would start to speak in spanish. They knew that I could understand most of what they were saying so they invented their own code language of spanish to discourage me from trying to figure out what they were saying. It was their own secret language. When my dad wasn’t moving fast enough for my liking I would start to push him with my legs. He was so much bigger than me so I would squeeze my body between my parents position both my legs, one his mid back the other on his butt and rock him back and forth acting as if I was going to push him out of the bed. I would continue this as I begged him to get out of bed, “come on daddy get up please, let’s go now, you take forever to get ready.” In time he would give in to my begging and sit up and off I would run to my room to get dressed. But there was no longer any signs of my father in that bedroom, nothing to show that an Army soldier once slept next to my mother.

I was hunched over the toilet wishing my dad was there. I wanted someone to take care of me. But my dad became the parent I saw every other weekend. Some of our weekend visits felt long and drawn out, we were growing apart as father and daughter.  I dreaded hearing his car pull up and tried to prepare myself to act as if I were excited. My parents separation and divorce came right at a time that I believed most girls grew attached to their fathers, at thirteen years our relationship suffered. It was uncomfortable being alone with him. Our time together felt unnatural and forced. Our conversations lacked closeness. I grew up watching sitcoms like The Cosby’s and Growing Pains and I would often dream of my family sharing that kind of closeness. Why couldn’t we sit around a dinner table and share conversations that were relevant to a pre teen girl. These television families would always find a solution to whatever disagreement they had. My family’s lack in good comunication forced me to close myself in, I couldn’t share what was really going on in my life, I couldn’t be the real me, instead I pretended to be his innocent baby girl. A obedient child that always did what she was told.

My mom became distracted and disconnected in her newfound freedom. She wanted to prove to my father how she didn’t need him any longer. She was working full time and started to make friends. Most of our conversations were based on whether or not I had done my chores. She did not react well in an untidy home. So to her a clean house was priority even over homework. This became a task that was mostly mine. Deep down in her Puerto Rican upbringing it was the woman’s “job” to do the household chores not the men’s. We had a big house at the time my parents separated. They bought this house to make a permanent home for our family. Growing up we had lived in several army bases, I could only recall one other time we lived in an actual house. It was a house my parents built from the grown up in North Carolina. We did not live there long, I often wonder why. So this being the family home my parents chose after building a home, was very spacious. It had three stories and we each had our own bedrooms. I loved this house, I especially loved the stairs, one lead to my bedroom and the other to the family room. I loved the stairs mainly because prior to this home stairs only lead to basements. Basements for mostly storge, nothing fun. These stairs lead to rooms that reflected each occupant’s personality, rooms that once were filled with the laughter.   

I would pass my brothers in the hallway that separated our rooms as we headed out to school, or at least they were pretending they were going to school for my mom’s sake. When school was over they were always out with their friends and girlfriends. The saturday mornings in our pjs eating Captain Crunch watching Tom and Jerry were long gone. Waking up I would pass by empty bedrooms. Not only was my dad missing from his bed but if my brothers had come home in the evening they would be long gone before I had much of a chance to interact with them. I had no idea where they went and they never included me in whatever they did. Being the youngest of us and a 13 year old girl I required the most guidance. The kind of guidance that would prepare me for life, love and relationship. I was not prepared for any of the above and I set out to find a place where I could feel connected to someone where I could share who I was, I wanted to belong. I did not want to feel alone in the world, unloved, or uncared for.

As the distance in my family grew wider and wider. I continued to search for the attention I desperately needed. I found every reason to not be at home because inside those walls resided only people and not a family. There was a huge void in my life that my boyfriend instantly filled the day I met him.  He became my entire world, he became my home.

Norah

Norah

A wife to a man in wheels. Sharing my life with all of the struggles in hopes to open up the highways of understanding, compassion, love, and hope.  Follow me as I tread through.

Keep Rolling On With Us On Social Media

Today marks 22 years of marriage and to many more! #keeprollingon

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We share our stories not so you know what we've been through, but so you're not afraid to share your own. Tell us, what's your story?

Posted by The Wheels of Grace on Monday, February 22, 2016

Why I Used to Cry Every Day

  Is there something that makes you cry? You cry when you hear about it, talk about it, think about it.   For me that subject was Graduate School. Graduate school made me cry. Last time I wrote, I shared my dream I have now for me and my parents. And...
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My Strength is in Him

  What do people see when they see you ? What do they see when they see me? It’s a question I often ask myself.  Not that my self worth relies in how people see me but in how they see Him in me.  I leave work, meetings, church, or social events hoping I...
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Reasons I’m Thankful for My Wheelchair

                                      Reason’s I’m thankful for my wheelchair   1. At work I’m the only one that gets paid to sit on his butt 2. I...
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Welcome!

Welcome to The Wheels of Grace! Hi, I am Ashley and I have two incredible parents with very unique stories. We created this blog to help share their story. Well I actually created this blog, but they have been somewhat helpful along the way. If you want to know...
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Your Passion is Like Sky Diving

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Wheelchair Down the Stairs

  It was a day like any other. I went running with my mom and I was out of breath. When it was over I was thankful to be back at my house, ready for a shower. Until I realized I locked my keys inside. More importantly was that my mom was ready for a shower...
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Looks Like We Made It: Let’s Go Home 1.1

Please note that while we are sharing our memoir it is a work in progress.  The title “Looks Like We Made It” is a working title.  The words in the chapters are are also a work in progress.  This is not a final copy, but rather a chance to share our story.

Let's Go Home

Looks Like We Made It

Chapter 1.1

Sergio

I laid in my cell and stared out the square window from my bed. There was nothing to really stare at but the light posts illuminating the black asphalt. I watched as the wind blew an empty Big Gulp cup across the lot, until it slipped out of sight and into the unknown darkness. I was about to become that empty Big Gulp cup, I was to be flown far away from home, to land in a place that I had never seen before, empty. I wrapped myself tighter in the blanket as if maybe this would prevent me from being blown away. I didn’t want leave home, I didn’t want to make new friends. Why didn’t I tell the judge that I didn’t want to move?  Everyone was telling me that this was going to be good for me, that I needed a change, bull crap, they just didn’t want to have to deal with me anymore. This was as much for them as it was for me.

Why didn’t I run a different direction instead of trying to run through the parking lot of the mall. The cops were onto to me and knew the car I was driving was stolen. I thought if I could ditch the car I could out run them. I turned down a road so my friend and I could jump out and run. The car slammed into a big metal trash can and as I jumped out a loud voice told me get out with your hands up, my instinct was to get as far away as possible. I was close to my uncle’s house, if I could get there I could hide out. But I would have to cross the mall’s parking lot, it was too risky to try and go around. With my heart rate raising and my lungs trying to keep up with my running I stopped and hid under a tree until I could see the cops pass by, then I could make a break for the other side. I saw the lights turn to go around the side of the building and I darted out into the lot and ran as fast as I could go, behind me I could see a set of headlights turn my way and start to speed up in my direction. I was in the middle of the parking lot with nowhere to hide. In an instant I was surrounded by red and blue sirens. Busted. Get on the ground, get on your knees and put your hands in the air. At that moment I wondered how long my sentence to juvenile detention was going to be. It was my last night I would be able to walk around in Colorado Springs. I wouldn’t get a chance to tell anyone goodbye.

I had pushed the limits of the law and a long-term sentence was coming for me. I had been slapped on the wrist several times, but that was over. I was out of chances. I thought I would be sentenced to a juvenile detention center for at least a year. But my fate was different than I expected. I didn’t get another slap on the wrist but I didn’t get locked up either. Instead I was banished. My probation officer must have been on my side or he felt bad for me. He did everything in his power to allow me to move out of the state of Colorado and never to return. My parents took this plea and arranged for me to move to California with my oldest sister Angelica.

I was detained in Zebulon Pike before I could leave to California. I called my girlfriend to tell her I was leaving and didn’t think I was ever coming back. She had news of her own. I’m pregnant, the only words I remember her saying. The phone went cold against my ear and the chill spread throughout my body. I was in a situation I had no idea how to handle. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t help her. I was struggling to take care of myself. I was being sent away and there was nothing either of us could do. After the chill I began to warm up and I calmed, instantly heading into denial. The baby wasn’t mine, she had been with other guys, was she actually pregnant? I couldn’t care for her, or the baby even if it was mine. I never thought I was hurting anyone but myself. I thought I could handle the situations I put myself in and they only affected me. I was very wrong. I was leaving behind a trail of broken hearts and broken promises.

The only light in my cell came from the window facing the parking lot and underneath my door. When my cell became slightly darker I knew it was because the guard was standing in front of my door. I heard the metal key being inserted into the lock of the door as it was being turned. It was an odd time for the guard to be letting me out. He was brief with his words and they should have sounded like freedom

“Mr Sanchez get your stuff, it’s time.” He said, but it wasn’t quite freedom, it was the start to an unknown life.   

It was so late at night I felt like he was sneaking me out, but it was so there wasn’t a big ruckus from the other youth. I was guided to the staff work station to get my personal belongings but before I was given my clothes I had to sign a form stating that all my stuff was there. One black muscle shirt, one grey hoodie sweater, one black pair of jeans, and one set of white shoes. Sign here and get dressed your mom is waiting to take you. As soon as I was ready the guard lead me to the front door where I could see my mom on the other side waiting, BUZZ as soon as I heard the door unlock I pushed it and walked through letting the door slamm behind me. My mom greeted me with a half smile and together we walked down the long hallway to the last door that had to be buzzed to open. As soon as my face touched the cool air of the night I felt an unusual chill come over me.

I could see my mom’s car, a fire engine red Ford Taurus sitting in the parking lot. I knew my dad had to be in the car by the exhaust coming out of the back tail pipes. I got in the back seat and no one said much except for my mom telling me my flight plans. You will fly to Los Angeles and your aunt will pick you up and take you to the bus station to Santa Barbara where your sister will be waiting for you. I stared out the window the rest of the drive to the airport. I was trying to grab one last image of the town, the place that I called home. The drive was normally thirty to forty minutes long but this night it seemed like it was more of a five to ten minute drive. I read the road sign exit to I-25 next right and when I heard the blinker come on I felt a pressure coming from deep inside my chest. I could hear my heart pumping every time the blinker sounded, if I wanted to stay this was my last chance to open my mouth and say something.  I needed to convince my mom that I could change my bad ways and start listening, I would have to convince her that I would stay away from my friends. But nothing would come out of my mouth. There wasn’t anything I could think of that I hadn’t said before and failed at. Mom please don’t make me go! I looked out the window trying to figure out what to say, the sign that read Airport 2 miles hit me in the face, come on Sergio think of something to say. I had to change my mom’s mind, that’s the only way this car would turn toward home. My mom was the leader of our family, she carried the weight of making sure we had food, clothes and shelter. Even if it meant that she had to work two jobs and that she went without. Her past had conditioned her to work hard and provide. She taught her kids there wasn’t any room for wishing or hoping, if you wanted to make something happen in your life you made it happen with hard work and sacrifice. There was no room for showing love by hugs and kisses she showed it by providing. But in that moment I didn’t want a strong mother, I wanted my mom to stop the car, pull me out of it and give me a hug and kiss and tell me let’s go home.

 

 

 

Sergio

Sergio

The guy in the chair, who lost his ability to walk, but found his mobility through a change in his heart. A change when his mind was awakened by the gift of Purpose.
“And your life will be brighter than the noonday.
Its darkness will be like the morning.” Job11:17

Looks Like We Made It 1.4: Pregnant at 13

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Looks Like We Made It: Looking For Home 1.2

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Writing Hurts

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Writing Our Book Part 4

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Take Care of You in 2017

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Merry Christmas Prayers

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Writing Our Book Part 3

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Hands That Are Thankful

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We Are Meant to Change

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Writing Our Book

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Writing Hurts

This week I spent some time editing our book, which is almost always an emotional endeavor.  I reached back into my past when I was 13 years old, the time in my life when my parents were separated and I became pregnant.  During this time so much of my life changed in rapid speed.  

I have read, reread, and edited these pages numerous times that they have became familiar, but I must push passed the just telling my story stage, into navigating my heart. While venturing my heart I was able to spill my emotions on paper. I do not want to leave out any details that would show how far I have traveled to get where I am today.  I made one promise when deciding to write a memoir, that I would open myself up fully by being transparent and honest with who I was and who I have become.   The desire has always been to share the good, the bad and the ugly with the hopes of inspiring others to do the same. For others like me to believe in themselves and fight to gain control of whatever situation they may encounter.  So why did this process bring me to tears even when I have already exposed so much of myself for years now?  As I continued to write I am pained by all this character endured.  As if I am an entire other person empathizing with my 13 year old self.  This part of the book is leading into how my path changed.  As I continued to type I started to sob uncontrollably and not able to read my own words.  

My family and I have been working on our book for years now and we get together and read aloud some of our edited work, I almost always cry at Sergio’s and Ashley’s words.  This week was a challenge for me, I wrote for the most part alone and there is something about writing out your feelings of loneliness.  I cried more than usual, actually shocking myself when my cries turned into sobs.  After talking to myself and doing some self reflection I realized where these feelings were coming.  I initially started crying because I was grieving my past.  I was treading down the dark road with no light and I was alone. In time my tears changed to tears of joy.  I am grateful that I gained the ability to break away for the chains that held me down.  I am now free to live my life with an open heart.  A heart willing to receive grace and mercy.  This is who I am today,  I am no longer a confused young girl, I am a saved woman.  I cried this week because I am still living out my dream of one day seeing a completed story full of loss and pain come to full circle to becoming one of compassion, grace, love and overcoming hardships.

When I felt that I was weak for getting so emotional over my past I realized that I was actually being strong and brave by allowing my emotions to naturally grieve the person I once was and to celebrate with tears that I am not her anymore. I am proud of myself for wanting to open up my life for others to read with the dream of one day inspiring and touching lives.  When we started this process I knew that at times it would get hard.   That was an understatement as I quickly learned how emotional writing about your own life can be.  I push myself through and in the end of the each writing experience I am able to see why I survived, and why I had to endure so many obstacles in the first place.
I encourage you to share events in your life that have made you stronger.  Start by sharing the tough stuff that has shaped you and that has opened your heart.  As you navigate your heart stop and reflect on how much you have changed.  Think of those times when you felt that you were at your lowest and how freeing it feels to see yourself come full circle.  So many of us have experienced similar situations and yet we do not know it.  Someone we may encounter is going through hardships right now.  Reach out and share your story, you never know who you may inspire to Keep Rolling On.

Norah

Norah

 

 

A wife to a man in wheels. Sharing my life with all of the struggles in hopes to open up the highways of understanding, compassion, love, and hope.  Follow me as I tread through.

Keep Rolling On With Us On Social Media

Today marks 22 years of marriage and to many more! #keeprollingon

A photo posted by @thewheelsofgrace on

We share our stories not so you know what we've been through, but so you're not afraid to share your own. Tell us, what's your story?

Posted by The Wheels of Grace on Monday, February 22, 2016

Gifts

              In November Sergio asked me what kind of gift I would like for Christmas.  I quickly responded that I did not want any gifts this year.  I had already decided in my heart that I truly did not need a thing and...
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Ain’t Too Proud To Beg

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Welcome!

Welcome to The Wheels of Grace! Hi, I am Ashley and I have two incredible parents with very unique stories. We created this blog to help share their story. Well I actually created this blog, but they have been somewhat helpful along the way. If you want to know...
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Take Care of You in 2017

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Trying to Get Published: The Magic of Memoir

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Ending 2015

The end of the year always brings people to reflect on their lives. We like to determine what we have accomplished and what we have yet to accomplish. It is the time to question why we didn’t get everything done that we wanted to do as well as reevaluate if...
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Writing Our Book Part 4

We are getting closer and closer to our goal of finishing our book!  We wanted to share a little bit more about what out book is about.  Watch below for our story!

Keep Rolling On With Us On Social Media

Today marks 22 years of marriage and to many more! #keeprollingon

A photo posted by @thewheelsofgrace on

We share our stories not so you know what we've been through, but so you're not afraid to share your own. Tell us, what's your story?

Posted by The Wheels of Grace on Monday, February 22, 2016

One Sided Coin

Recently I felt myself in a free-fall and had no idea how to slow it down, let alone stop it. I was over whelmed at work and I felt the demand it has on my every day life. I was overwhelmed with taking care of my family while trying to balance work. I...
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Life’s Highway

Do you ever get the feeling that life is moving at a high rate of speed and that there is no way to stop or slow down the speed? There’s no time to catch your breath or refuel your tank, no time to smell the flowers, and no time to enjoy the sun rise or set....
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First Day of College

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48 Hour Challenge

Have you ever wondered how determined you are? I participated in a 48 hour challenge in which Jeff Goins from challenged all of his readers to learn something new in 48 hours. The winners of the challenge had the opportunity to win his Art of Work Course. I...
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Mother At 14

As I worked through my shame a few weeks ago, this week I set to grow with grace. Reflecting on my journey of pregnancy and the birth of my only natural child, always takes me to a deeper understand of love. The kind of love that covers all pain. Not just the love...
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The Golden Rule

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