One of our songs….
This has a very valuable message, to be loved, you have to love yourself!!
I wanted to share this and my thoughts on it and how it really helped me this week reflect on my life, my choices and my changes over the years that have made me the person I am today. Cheryl is a mother, a grandmother a wife and a beautiful friend to many. She is someone I truly admire and I am proud to know her.
Conversation started Thursday
You probably have received hundreds of responses to your story. I don’t even really know what I want to say so this will sound like somewhat a ramble I’m sure. I’m not sure how or why we never became close friends back in high school because I swear sometimes when I’m reading your page I think my god we are A LOT alike !
I wonder if I ever made you feel any kind of way back then, as I remember watching your life and having mixed emotions like a mafucca ! As you know, I kept my son at 15. I vaguely remember at one point thinking that you were selfish but I recognized fairly quickly that I was secretly jealous. Jealous that you had the courage to admit you were too young. Jealous that you were given choices that I wasn’t. Jealous that you appeared to have resumed your life and I was home changing diapers and clumsily raising a baby. At 15. Wtf.
Maybe that is the reason we never became close friends. Your life reminded me of the life I might have had…and perhaps mine would have reminded you too much of the child you loved enough to let go.
At almost 40, I have finally accepted that every choice I made was the exact right one for me. And I can see that you are on that same path. Every choice you made was right for you. I can tell you already know that.
Having said all of that what I really want you to know is that I admired you then, and I admire you now. I love seeing pics of you and your family. When Shelly (Stone) told me you had connected with your son I was ecstatic for you !
Your stories almost always bring me to tears and I am anxiously waiting for this one to continue.
Until today I hadn’t realized how young your Dad was when he passed. That is truly shocking! Your Mama is clearly one strong lady.
Much love from the East !
Those were such powerful words and they really got me thinking. My life did resume. The cute guy from the beach stayed with me and helped me through some terrible times. He taught me how to have fun again. He came from a Pentecostal family and I never felt they approved of me but it didn’t change how he felt or treated me. With him I felt special and brand new. I didn’t get along very well with my older brother Mike after my Dad died. I understand now that he felt he was the man of the family and was trying to protect us but I felt like he was being a controlling asshole and I didn’t like it. On my seventeenth birthday in January we had a huge argument and he held me down in a snowbank and I was pretty annoyed. My boyfriend and I got a little place and my brother and I didn’t talk for months. I think we are both well over that foolishness. As an adult I now know that he wanted the best for me. He just didn’t know how to express himself in a way that didn’t sound like he was being an asshole. Kirk and I were talking with a couple from back home on a recent vacation to Grand Cayman Islands and we got talking about my brothers. Kirk was telling him about “Mikey” enthusiastically and I chimed in, well yes Mike is cool, he can be an Ass though. Priceless reply, “OMG Mike Watson. Mike and Sherry. We love them! They have a cottage by us!” Then preceded to tell us a drinking tale about Mike convincing the husband to wear a shock dog collar. Yeah. That’s my brother Mike. He is smart, disciplined, organized and I respect and love him lots. He did have a habit of starting arguments and then leaving, in turn leaving my brother Gerry and I to look like the jerks. I remember the time Mike and Gerry got scrapping and took out my mothers entire garden of Gladiolas, then Mike left. Gerry and I stayed, there were cocktails left! I always take Gerry’s side in a fight because at 11 months 363 days younger then me he is my baby brother!! Gerry and I are in fact the same age for two whole days.
I couldn’t have lived in that little place very long because I moved to Ontario when I was 18. My boyfriend very much wanted to be a cop and was accepted for Training in Toronto. A week before we left he got a letter saying there was a moratorium on hiring. We didn’t tell anyone at the time, we were excited for a change and planned to go anyway. I was excited to leave the small town of Truro for the big city of Toronto. I rather liked the idea of being anonymous. I didn’t have to feel like I had anything to hide. I could live a little easier not looking for my son everywhere I went. EVERYWHERE I went I looked for a dark haired boy with eyes I was certain would be unmistakable to me. If I was at the grocery store, Park, McDonalds I was searching, scanning the room. I am not sure what I would have done had I found him but that didn’t stop me from looking. Leaving was as hard as it was exciting. My Mom was sad of course and my baby brother was devastated. Mike had moved to London, Ontario about a week before I left so Gerry was feeling abandoned. My Dad actually fell into my brothers arms the day he died. A very traumatic thing for Gerry to try to overcome and both his siblings leaving him behind was hard on him. So Mike led the way to Ontario but he didn’t stay long, Mamas boy :). I stayed about six months in Toronto and then moved over to London. Mike and I both lived there for a short time before he drove home at break neck speed. Gerry came up at some point and lived between London and Toronto for at least a couple of years until he went home for a visit and never returned. My boyfriend and I had a charmed life for awhile until I started working at Great West Steakhouse and met some amazing friends. I liked to stay at the bar after work and chat with the girls. My sweet boyfriend would walk to get me and I started to really resent it. I missed a lot of time with girlfriends and I missed my friends from back home. Nobody knew I had had a baby that I gave up. I was normal and not damaged. I had some of the very best times of my life with that guy, he taught me how to live again but when things started to get sour he got very jealous and protective of me. He would tell me I was nothing without him and I couldn’t do it on my own. We drove home together when his mother was dying, things were already tense and we got home he was focused of course on his Mom but shut me out completely. Back home was full of memories and my comfort and my weakness was my baby’s father. I was quite simply an adolescent who wanted what I wanted when I wanted it and I made bad choices. I wasn’t grown up enough to be in the grown up relationship that I was and luckily we were smart enough to end it when we did so that we remained friends. My brother moved in with him after I left so we had a lot of contact. I know there were a lot of times that we could have easily gotten back together but it was not right for either of us. He was an Incredible guy but I wasn’t ready for him. I needed to find out who I was. Even after I was married, he contacted me when a mutual friend of ours died and we chatted for a long time and cleared the air, owned up to our mistakes. It was nice. I never felt we left anything unsettled. My friend said the other day that she thought we were fantastic together and we were for a time. I thought back and I couldn’t recall any bad times. I just wanted to spread my wings and he wanted to prevent it and so we struggled. He is married now with children and I hope his wife is as great as him!
Insert my years of partying here and you can ask my friend PoPo for the details. I had lots of great friends in London but Jen (PoPo) who remains one of my closest friends to this day was most certainly my partner in crime. The two of us worked hard and played hard. She taught me a lot about life and a lot about having children because she was a mouthy bratty child that required a lot of patience and would cry if she was yelled at. Mouthy, yet sensitive. It sounds a lot like my thirteen year old daughter. She is exactly what I needed in my life. Most girls were looking for Mr Right but PoPo and I were looking to learn about life through parties with the occasional Mr Right Now thrown into the salad of our youth! We did however decide to prepare for the future by becoming responsible pet owners, I had a budgie and a dwarf rabbit and she had a cat.
I had gotten a promotion at work from Waitress to Manager. We worked at a large Steakhouse that was housed in an old Rail Roundhouse (where they turned the engines). The owner decided to make me Public Relations Manager. This basically meant that after my work day I was to schmooze with the regulars in the lounge. I ate and drank for free. We had great regulars, most of them businessmen that hung out at the bar to talk bullshit with the other regulars and avoid going home to watch TV with their wives. I cant complain, for a girl who loved to socialize this was a damn good gig. I did however have one goal, on Mondays I wanted to make it home in time to watch Melrose Place at nine. In three months I only made it home once and I was so tired and probably a little drunk on Black Russians that I fell asleep. This one night I came home exhausted and I was just putting my nightie over my head I saw a flash in my mirror and a tap tap at my bedroom window. I loved my apartment, it backed onto the Thames River, and in back where my bedroom was there was a pretty row of rose bushes. I had a big window in my bedroom and two sets of blinds, there was maybe an inch between the two sets. I guess that was enough because when I went to my bedroom window and pushed my blinds apart there was a man pleasuring himself. Disgusting! I mas more then disgusted I was terrified. Paralyzed with fear. I don’t know how long I stood there frozen before I went to call the cops and my friend PoPo!
This period in my life became the source of many a joke but it was scary and it caused me a lot of anxiety. I wasn’t able to sleep at night and if I was alone I would stay up until it started to get light outside. There were nights I would be exhausted and I would force myself to stay up. The sleeplessness started to get to me and I started to have anxiety attacks. I feared falling asleep. At this point I had had to call the cops on several occasions. They had been trying to catch this guy for a long time and had other area complaints but the search dogs kept losing his sent because they figured he was crossing the river. I recall the horrible day they cut the pretty rose bushes down in back of the apartment so that the offender would have nowhere to hide while he was seeking his prey. I never feared the creep outside my window, I feared coming home or waking up to him in my bedroom. I have watched enough horror movies. The cops “assured” me that he PROBABLY didn’t want to hurt me!!
One Saturday night at the Steakhouse it was a zoo ,we were always crazy busy on the weekends! Staff kept telling me that there was this strange guy hanging around who wanted to talk to me, apparently he said it was snowing hard outside and he wanted to shovel the steps to keep them safe. I sent one of the bussers outside to shovel and he came back and told me it hadn’t snowed. I checked myself and it was clear…weirdo. He didn’t leave and insisted he speak with me. I firmly told him we were busy, we didn’t need his services and asked him to leave. A couple of days later he walked in to be seated at lunch. He was ill kept and not very clean. I was on the phone at the front desk and called the waitress over to explain that she may have problems with this guy because he was in Saturday night bugging me. A couple minutes later she returned and said he wouldn’t give her his order and insisted on seeing me. I huffed and sighed but went to his table and he was sitting there in the middle of our lunch hour with his pants undone stroking his penis. Lovely. He ignored my order to leave so I called the cops. They came and questioned him in the parking lot and then spoke with me. I told them about the guy that was coming to my window and that I was pretty sure it was the same guy. The female cop told me they probably were not connected and she thought it was a waste of time for me to press charges because he was a deviant of no fixed address and it wouldn’t go anywhere. They figured this guy had seen me walking to and from work because I used to walk right by a Men’s mission. This is on Michelle’s top ten list of “where NOT to pick up men” The sad thing about this is some of the cops I spoke to during this time were so passionate about catching this guy. They told me to call 911 so the dogs could track him immediately but when I would call 911 they would tell me it wasn’t an emergency and to hang up and call the regular number. It was frustrating for me and I can only imagine how frustrating it was for the cops that had been sent out countless times only to come back empty handed.
A few days later I put it my official resignation. I needed my Mom, I needed sleep, it was time for me to move home to Nova Scotia.
For my Mom. xo
To be continued……