My Wedding’s Quinceañera

15 years ago (tomorrow), on my then 22nd birthday; my fiancé decided it would be the right time to get married. Clearly 3 years into a relationship that had already produced a daughter, was the perfect time to tie the noose… err I mean the knot.

It’s not like either one of us didn’t want to be married. Hell, we were already living as husband and wife that entire time anyway. It’s just… there were bills to be paid and a child to feed… If you really want to know the truth, we were doing our part in saving the planet by not creating superfluous paper. Sounds funny I know but, eh, it’s the least we could do for our children’s future, right?!

But seriously though, the reason’s we both had; although looking back I’m not so sure it was a “we” thing, were our reason’s and ours alone. Nobody, no matter how important they thought their opinion was, had the right to tell us when we should get married. Of course, that didn’t stop them. 37 years later in my life and those same people still haven’t stopped trying to manipulate and control me and my life. SMH!

Anyway, back to the day at hand… July 17th, my 37th birthday/wedding’s Quinceañera . Aww, I feel like I should throw it a huge party while wearing a bright multi-colored billowing dress and be surrounded by a bunch of drunken people, that may or may not be my family, and they will be gyrating and partying like it’s 1999. Because if there is one thing my anniversary/birthday is lacking, is the extravagant publicly humiliating celebration of leaving behind the innocence of childhood and diving head first off the deep end straight into the abyss of womanhood. *SIGH*

I have yet to figure out what it was that ran through my husband’s head the day he decided to forever taint my birthday with a wedding anniversary. I’m pretty certain that it was the countless bottles of booze that he ingested on the regular, but that is just too obvious an answer to be the correct one. So it must be something more diabolical; like say…I don’t know, the satisfaction he gets from knowing that I will never have another day for the rest of my life that is totally just about me! That sounds a lot more like the evil drunk I have spent my entire adult life with.

Or it could be that he was just trying to be what every woman dreams of… Prince Charming! Oh hell… now I feel bad for calling him names and being angry every single year for the last 15 years.  Way to go Jen, you fucking Romance Nazi!!!

Copyright InJensMind DO NOT COPY OR REPRODUCE July 17, 1997 @Shalimar Wedding Chapel Las Vegas, NV

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Mother’s Day 2012: A Letter To My Mom

It’s Mother’s Day again… don’t act so surprised, I mean, it does come every single year in May. Last year, I was talking about Mother’s Day and how I was struggling with my sister’s birthday coming up and how my husband always acted like “my” days didn’t matter.

This year is different, even though May 13th is Mother’s Day and would have been Jess’s 35th birthday. So before I get into the mom stuff, let’s have a moment of silence for my sister.

Happy birthday Jess! You will never be forgotten. I love you & miss you so much!

When I started writing this post my brain took me on a wild journey that could have left me stranded in the abyss of negativeness and uncontrollable rage. But, I decided I would save that trip for another time, a time when I wasn’t trying to write a dedication post. So instead of writing about how having two “moms” on Mother’s Day meant to me, I have chosen to write about just my biological mom… and quite frankly the ONLY MOM I have. (Another time I will elaborate but, today this post will remain free of that…)

My mom got pregnant at age 17, she gave birth to me 1 month and 5 days after her 18th birthday. She delivered me in McLaren Hospital in Flint, Michigan on July 17th, 1975. My father, who she had just married on Valentine’s Day of that very year was nowhere to be found. I exaggerate because he could have been found but, needless to say nobody cared enough to drag his sorry ass to the hospital so he could do his husbandly/fatherly duty. (I know I said I wouldn’t mention them but, that part was extremely important. It shows how brave my mother was.)

I have heard countless times about my birth from my mom… Don’t all children? I was breach, “You had your little feet on both sides and you refused to come out.” And now you all know when and where my stick-it-to-the-man never back down attitude started. There are many things over the years my mom has told me about the first 5 years I lived with her. There are even more stories that were passed on to me by people who think that I don’t remember. For some reason they act like I didn’t witness it for myself. Those people and their stories are irrelevant at this time.

Now I can’t sit here and lie to you all and tell you that I have loads of fond mother/daughter memories as a child and teen, because I don’t. I can’t tell you that I didn’t have my fair share of issues growing up without my mom in my daily life. My mom wasn’t perfect… no human being is. My mom often tells me, “I know I will never be mother of the year.” I always laughed that comment off. I thought it was silly that mom thought like that, because I have never cared one way or another. I figured that once someone apologized and you forgave them then it was done and from that point on it was no longer an issue. Maybe it wasn’t for me that she was saying it.

But, now I am going to award her. I am going to give her something that is better than Mother of the Year. Because she deserves more than a title that comes and goes every year and here is why…

My mother did the best she could with what she had. She made mistakes. She didn’t always say or do the right thing. She made choices that weren’t the best. But…

  • She NEVER abused us. There was no emotional blackmail, no beatings, no psychological terrorism laid upon us by her whatsoever.
  • She ALWAYS loved us unconditionally.
  • She worried and fretted and if at any time one of her kids were not speaking to her she would ask about them to the ones that were. (In other words, she’d always ask me.)
  • She APOLOGIZED for all the things she did or didn’t do.
  • She NEVER repeatedly did those things after apologizing. (That is something many do not do.) When she said sorry she meant it.
  • She NEVER did to us what was done to her.
  • She lost a grown child who wasn’t speaking to her and lives with the guilt from that. (Even though she shouldn’t torture herself over things she had no control over.)
  • She went back to school, taking college courses at age 55.
  • She is the ONLY person helping to care for her 77-yr-old mother and her 79-yr-old step-father.
  • She has 7 grand-kids, 2 that she has never met or been allowed to know. (Jess’s older daughters) 2 that are just starting to open up to her. (Jess’s twin boys) All 7 living in other states away from her. Yet she holds out faith of one day having all of them close by in her life and loves each and every single one of them with her heart and soul.
  • She’s not fake… She doesn’t smile in your face and at the same time try to turn people against you behind your back.
  • No matter who tried to stand in her way she never stopped being who she is.
  • She wakes up every day, goes out and gives the world her all.

Plain and simply put… She is my best friend, I love her, and I am blessed to call her mom!!!

Dear Mom,
Happy Mother’s Day. I love you more than you probably even know.
Words; even from someone as prolific as I am, just cannot express the
love that I have for you. I don’t need for you to be anything that you aren’t,
I never did. You and I know the truth of our relationship. We both know what
we went through. You have given me more than any one ever could by just you being you. You don’t ask me to be anyone or anything that I am not. You don’t
try to change me. You’re not embarrassed (yet… lol) by me. I know that you
love me and the kids and even Gustavo. I couldn’t have asked for a better mother. I don’t feel the need to punish you for the past, we have long since moved on
from all that bullshit. 
I am who I am today partly because of you. Nobody in
the world can ever take that from you no matter how much they think they can, they can not! I am proud of all you have accomplished and what you will do. I am honored that you have allowed me to be included in all that
you do. I am proud to be your daughter. I am proud of all that you are and all
that you aren’t. Simply stated… I AM PROUD OF YOU!!! I wish I could be there to say this all in person and hug you tightly. But, that just isn’t in the cards right now so…
May you have the
happiest of days today and every day.
And never ever ever forget that
I LOVE YOU!!!

My Twin Nephews Turn 1 Today

One year ago today, I became an aunt for the 4th time when my sister Jessica gave birth to twin boys, Harley and Marley.

Of course I am an aunt to all my husband’s nieces and nephews as well but, this special post goes out for the birthday boys.

I haven’t gotten a chance to hold my nephews let alone spoil them rotten or even throw them a huge party. As sad as I am about that, I am much sadder that their mom isn’t there to do those things neither.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 6 months already since Jess passed. It still feels so surreal to me. She would go M.I.A. for months at a time and if I don’t think about it too much it’s as if she is still here. But, when I see a movie or hear a song, I get slapped back into reality. She’s gone and isn’t coming back ever! That fucking sucks!!!

Jess left behind 4 beautiful children and it hurts my soul so much that I haven’t had a chance to spend the time that an aunt should get with her nieces and nephews. On top of that I don’t even have pictures. Well, luckily my mom has a chance to spend time with the boys and I can get pictures from her but, it’s just not the same as being there or taking the pictures yourself. I will take what I can get though because that’s what a loving aunt does… happily accepts what is offered her with a saddened heart but, keeps her tears hidden from the world and still says thank you.

But, today I won’t complain and I won’t cry because I can’t see my nephews on their first birthday. Instead, I will sob silently for my sister while the Happy Birthday song will loudly flow from my still grieving soul. I will sing so loud that the heavens will have no choice but, to open up and send angels down to sing along with me! 

Happy Birthday Harley and Marley… Your aunt Jenni loves you very much! And because your mom loved how crazy I could be and was so ecstatic every time I listened to New Kids On The Block… I must post a birthday video for you both so that you can know a small portion of your mom and my childhood memories.

Birthday Reflection

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When I sat down and wrote the poem ‘Nobody’s Birthday’ all I could think was how my birthday has sucked since 1997 when my husband decided it would be a “great” idea for us to wed that day.

 

In an emotional fit of jealousy and anger he had finally realized that calling me his wife for 3 years before we were actually married was not the brightest idea… only because I was getting more and more aggravated with it. I figured if I was to be strapped with the title of wife I should at least have the document proving it.

Albert Wenzell- The Marriage Proposal

You see when my husband and I were merely boyfriend and girlfriend he fell in love and proposed, I obviously wasn’t against it because I said yes and of course I loved him too.

 

The date he chose for us to get married was February 14th, 1996, a year and 5 months after we had begun dating. In February of 1995, we found out we were expecting and I guess that might have been the moment when things started falling apart…it was in my screwed up head anyway.

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You see I had this idea of how a relationship and love should be; funny because I didn’t exactly grow up around any stable loving relationships in my life, so where I got that idea from I will never know… maybe it was The Brady Bunch or The Cosby Show.

For years I have held it against him that we never got married on the day we were suppose to and as the world will tell you… Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned and I was scorned. It always made me madmade me furious that he chose not to marry me on that date simply because of a few words my callous father had said about him… “He’s only marrying you to get his papers.” Which was a fabrication that he had created in his own mind, for my husband already had papers 7 years before even knowing me. So not only was that comment a lie and unnecessary it was clearly meant to hurt me and my relationship.

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But, every month that passed that I was not married I was told the most horrendous things by people who claimed to love me because I was an unwed mother.

 

You just have to love family whose ideas and warped sense of love taints perfectly loving relationships. I loved him and he loved me, we were faithful and raising our daughter together as a married couple…what more could a piece of paper give us?!

Those depraved mental games eventually infected my brain, as I began to wonder why we were still not married 3 years after our relationship began. So in a last dire attempt to rescue what was left of our relationship he married me, on my birthday. He was drunk out of his mind and couldn’t repeat the vows; I was angry in every one of our wedding pictures and was trying to hold back impending tears. It was the beginning of me dreading my birthday.

Year after year passed and more than not I would end the day upset and in tears because it seemed like nobody cared that it was my “special” day. No gifts, no cards, occasionally a cake and a happy birthday. The kids would do their best to make up for my sadness by showering me with several homemade cards and as much as I loved them it just never felt like enough. Call me selfish but, I wanted to be appreciated and pampered just for that one day.

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There came a point when not only was it my birthday that went uncelebrated but, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas too. Now instead of hating just my birthday I began hating the entire year; day after day, month after month, year after year. My husband would always say, “It’s just another day.” God, how I hated hearing that!!!

Then this year as my birthday approached; I became melancholy just like I do every year, knowing it wouldn’t be any different. We were still struggling with extra money and as usual I would get the short end of the stick; that’s where my poem came in to play.

Instead something happened…something magical and unexpected. It occurred to me that this year was different from all the other years because I WAS DIFFERENT. I had accomplished many things this year that I didn’t even know I wanted to carry out until they happened. Clearly my mind was holding a secret that my heart hadn’t uncovered until a few days before my birthday. Nobody’s Birthdayis a sad, depressing poem but, it unlocked my ability to see what truly mattered this year…my life; every single day of it not just the one day that comes and goes.

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I am a mom, a writer and a friend and every day of my life I show exceptional love, kindness and understanding towards my friends, family and fellow writers. Some may not have seen that and that’s ok because frankly they hadn’t seen anything I have said or accomplished in quite some time now. I have made leaps and bounds in my personal life as well as my professional life in 5 short months; my hard work was finally paying off and that my dear readers is something I never expected to see this year.

Needless to say, I had a great birthday because instead of expecting others to celebrate me… I celebrated me, something I have never done in my entire 36 years of life. I am proud of myself.

Isn’t it wonderful when you finally appreciate yourself for who you are and what you’ve accomplished? Did you find out something about yourself this year? Are you proud of who you’ve become?

Nobody’s Birthday

Nobody had a birthday
and she hoped it would be cool
even though every year she’d
turn out looking like a fool.

Nobody threw a party
and invited all her friends
hoping that this year someone
essentially attends.

Nobody sat and waited
for a birthday card or two
the mailman must have lost them
only bills were getting through.

Nobody grabbed some plates
and a knife to cut her cake
but, when she looked around her
there was nothing to partake.

Nobody took a picture
of all the gifts she got
but, when she viewed the photo
there was nothing in the shot.

Nobody listened kindly
for a birthday song sung proud
she must have lost her hearing
for she heard no words out loud.

Nobody sat reflecting
wiping the teardrops all away
how dare she think she’s special
just because it’s her birthday.

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