Child support is exhausting. The sheer reality that it needs to be laid out in print by an attorney for another human being (that consented and discussed the prospect and desire of children with you and proceeded forward with the idea with joy and no hesitation, going as far as announcing YOUR big news to friends and family before you could even make it home upon the of discovery) that they now must partake in a small part of the financial aftermath of the act from a distance, is depleting of mental energy and health. It is in and of itself, a labor. A psychological and emotional task. A time consuming, strenuous job. It is work. It is filing and then re-filing, packet after packet of never-ending reporting and stress, conferences-both periodically and contemptuously, lies and excuses, and overall, an unequal and unfair response to the responsibilities of parenting. It is taxing on any person to span years of your life tied in legal battles; tediously putting details into order, culminating numbers and gathering facts, and spending copious amounts of time endlessly standing strong for what’s right and just to obtain an appropriate and fair order. Imagine yourself constantly and tiresomely pursuing even the smallest sliver of justice while being dragged through the mud at every possible public, private, and social media opportunity by a male chauvinist man-child, his less than reputable and even less entitled girlfriend after you, and his overly obsessed, abusive family vilifying you in every creatively false way possible, all the while being strung along by a less than just legal system for this more than deserved order. An order that you’ve barely seen pennies of during the entire almost decade you’ve been clawing through their mud though they were to have claimed on many occasions that you were to have been reveling in it. Of course this is barely a sliver of the actual life you’re constructing and creating and living in, but the toxicity of the situation seeps into the watercolors of your world nonetheless and the conferences leave stain your days.

The Current Issue:

In more recent years, and even more recent months, I’ve come to find, it’s another war entirely when you find yourself not only battling the monster that is the “deadbeat dad” but you now have to contend with the “deadbeat employer”. Having a fresh new battle to contend with when the culprits you are now facing are negligent and immoral business owners who decide to disregard their court ordered wage attachments; signed, sealed, and delivered directly from the county are a little bit more frustrating. I don’t recall ever finding any particularly outstanding business articles or headlines that stemmed from corrupt conduct or from the profit of mistreatment of children due to the heresy or opinion of an irresponsible employee that made their company soar. I had always envisioned “family companies” to be of a family orientated nature. That families, whether of their lineage or not, were of an utmost important nature in the world around us and something we should aspire to protect and uphold, not tear apart secretly behind closed doors because we didn’t feel the need to abide by a court’s decision that a child was entitled to be taken care of simply because an individual employed by the company had decided to abandon them and continue to reproduce without care. But, no, these bullshit companies won’t even work with or take care of their own families when it comes down to it, so why not take the side of your buddy when he wants to toss a child to the wind and say “screw it”?

When these payments are willfully, purposefully, “forgotten” and remain unsent, it is, of course, the defendant, who is legally responsible for these payments and falls into arrears and may end up in contempt of court. In my opinion, rightfully so, if you can’t stay on top of your own obligations instead of relying upon someone else to take care of your responsibilities for you. But shouldn’t the employer also hold some of the liability as well? Aren’t they the ones that have actually received the paperwork for the court order and are responsible for disbursement each pay period? How else does the payment get withheld from the actual paycheck, or direct deposit, and get sent to the office in Harrisburg for domestics collection? Because they are, in fact, liable under Pennsylvania Statute. Section 4348 Title 23 Domestic Relations Paragraph (i) (3) 3 states that a payment must be sent within 7 business days of the date that an employee is paid. It is now well over several weeks since my payment has been sitting carelessly in their office. “Forgotten” as they claim every time this occurs, which I assure you, happens quite often. What I find the most peculiar is how frequently a person whose job consists of distributing payments, can forget to mail out or distribute a payment. I believe it has been close to a dozen in the last year and a half. Now (i) (4) does state clearly that this order is binding upon the employer in case they were completely oblivious to that fact, which I’m sure they’re not. In my best understanding, which is to what I’ve witnessed and heard previously, as my ex had been employed by this same company before, is that the employer and him are in agreement about their willingness to not submit the payments, as they simply do not want to. This was much easier years ago, as he paid him strictly under the table in cash. Either way this scenario helps no one. I understand the logic, of course. They believe they are hurting me, this is what they are striving for. But in the larger scheme of things, they are going to ultimately ruin themselves. As of this point in time, his balance is now over several thousand dollars due to games like these and I fully intend to do everything in my power to enforce these laws to the best of abilities for the sake of my child and all children who facing these egregious actions. Section 4348 Title 23 Paragraph (k) states the effects of noncompliance of the employee including adjudged in contempt, committed to jail, fined by the court, liability for any amount they have withheld but not forwarded to the domestic relations office, and attachment of funds or property of the employer.

I have been cordial and mature and professional to the best of my abilities throughout the years. I have been lenient on some occasions and factual on all. Because I’ve always had my shit (and my paperwork) together, I’ve always been accused of trying to ruin his life and being hard on him, when I’ve actually been nothing but fair when I should have been anything but. At this point, I am no longer hesitating to get annoyed and to push these laws if this what needs to be done. When you are in your thirties and have no responsibilities, (you don’t live on your own, have no bills, etc.) and you make very good money, you have no excuses as to why your one monthly payment is not being made. The rest of humanity makes their dozens of monthly payments and bills on time every month with no hassle. And when we don’t, we have consequences. Late fees, drops in our credit score, utility shut offs and car repossessions if it’s extreme. If I miss a payment on my monthly medical premium, my medical insurance will be shut off. My monthly medical premium, that is calculated based on my income and the child support I am supposed to receive. I laugh at people that think support payments are simple monetary payments to me, like someone handing me a small handful of cash. That payment dictates what I pay every month for my medical insurance, what I pay for daycare, what I write on the income sheet for the childcare and school food programs (which I am now leaving blank because I refuse to submit income I am not receiving to a state food program for my child and dozens of other children), and every time the payments cease, as they always do, I am tasked with calling and reporting it all over again to the agencies and medical assistance for adjustments.

There are clearly so many issues in our world that haven’t even begun to be repaired and may never be able to come close to a fixture, but I believe if we can start somewhere, anywhere, with how we treat and care for our children, we can come close to some semblance of humanity in the future and at least give them the care and tools they need to help us with those repairs. Companies and employers ignoring wage attachments and defying their obligations to the courts, for whatever reasons, should be penalized by the court systems and held in contempt on the first offense. Their businesses should be audited, if cash payments, “under the table” are frequently suspected to be unreported, and they should be held accountable to as much as the defendant owes in these circumstances as much as they would be to pay their own debts, as well as court fines and fees.

This is the reality of dealing with an inadequate “parent”. This is the reality of handling the other party’s unending negligence and irresponsibility. This is the reality of seven and a half years filled with contempt conferences, enforcement conferences, modifications, court dates, reviews, and hell. Whomever thinks trying to recieve even the slightest bit of child support is a cakewalk, is either very uninformed or very ignorant. The expression “pulling teeth” isn’t even quite descriptive enough for the process of trying to enforce a law evading sociopath. The misconceptions of the situation, the agony, and the extremely disappointing end result are disheartening at the least. But this is my reality. My sometimes brutally draining, maddening reality. I have been posted about, lied about, talked about, fought with, and disrespected continuously, all because of this. All because of a “cash flow” that I never even receive 95% of the time. This is page upon page of proof of the lying and whining being spewed and defended in my direction. I post it now because I was previously unaware it was required to prove my complete innocence and honesty to parties entirely uninvolved and misinformed.

( click on Overview title for full view of PA statute)


The Other Woman

PhotoGrid_1495675023842“Despite any of our differences and no matter the unnecessary drama or hateful positions he’s tried to put us in against each other, I never wanted this for you. It’s easy to blame yourself for going back or forgiving time after time, but there is no one at fault for his disgusting behavior but himself. No matter how many times he says “YOU made him this way”, it will never be true. He threw a phone at my head too while I was pregnant and when I ducked, it smashed against the wall. He has been this monster his entire life before you and will be the rest of his life after you. I know in your heart you thought it was doing right by your daughter by letting him with her, but now what’s right, is the safety and future of you both. Her sadness for him will ease over time, but the memories and fears that he will have instilled in her will haunt her forever in her relationships if you don’t show her the right path now. When our girls are older, we can’t choose who they are with or what they put up with for them, but when they are young, it is our duty and our RIGHT as mothers to protect them from ANY and all toxic environments. She may get mad at you or blame you at times for not seeing him, and it will break your heart, but her emotional and mental health relies on you making those hard decisions. There’s a sickness that runs through their veins, but you don’t have to let it poison your baby. You have control now. You are smarter and better and stronger than all of this. You have the ability to end it once and for all and walk away with your life. It’s not about removing a parent out of spite, it’s about choosing and valuing your life and safety for you and your baby’s sake.”

It could have been me. Most likely would have been me, if it hadn’t been for you. You slammed in between us and took away any thoughts of me and my growing belly. His world shifted to close around you and push me out.

I could have kept him. Probably would have tried, if it hadn’t been for you. You captured all of his attention and became the obsession he had always been searching for.

I could have went on with the lonely nights, the monstrous words, the push and shove. More than likely would have endured years of suffering, the frightening and confusing of my child, the destruction, if it hadn’t been for you.

I could have been abused until childbirth and then some. And most likely would have carried my depression over into my parenting, if it hadn’t been for you.

Many times, you thought you had won by capturing something I never really wanted. You gloated in the illusion that he was more devoted to a child you bore than mine. And you bathed in the idea that you had succeeded in having a life I could never have truly accepted.

You wanted to bring me down so badly so many times, because of how low he had brought you. You craved desperately to prove that you had gained something, gained anything, instead of having lost it all.

That could have been me. Possibly would have been me, still crying through the nights as he failed to satiate his needs of promiscuity with girl after girl. I would hate my body and myself, if it hadn’t been for you.

Bruised and bleeding over the years, tears enough to fill buckets. Fear turning to rage turning to anxiety, hysteria, depression. Wanting to protect a child from a monster I could not protect even myself from. It could so easily have been me. Probably would have been me, if it hadn’t been for you.

When you came, you built your own great wall between him and I. A fortress meant to keep me out, but unknowingly locking you in. Trapped alone with the beast. You thought you had made a castle to look down on me from, but it revealed itself to be no more than a dungeon you were trying to reach out from.

That could have been me, chained and barred from real life. It probably would have been me; emotionally starved and mentally scarred. Staring at cell walls illustrated with carvings of my name next to the tallies of torturous days. If it hadn’t been for you.

That could have been me. Most likely would have been me, creating excuses for him and littering the ground like leaves in the fall with chances.

Much more could have happened to me. Maybe would have happened to me. Miscarriage maybe, continued trauma, of course. Subjecting my baby to all manner of violence and degradation; making her a witness to such horrific events. Living in fear and regret; mind and heart in constant turmoil.

I endured much more than enough during our repeated relations, but finally you carried the rest. While you suffered in the presence of violence and a sociopath, I finished out my abuse from afar. You carried your regrets, your sadness, on your shoulders while you were pushed to your knees, while I was free to heal and build myself up safely. You gave your heart and forgiveness in ways I would never have been able to. You may have wanted to win at something non existent between us, but really if it wasn’t for you, I maybe wouldn’t have been saved.

She is the Love of My Life

wp-1484023420703.jpgSeven years ago, at 2:11PM on a snowy Saturday afternoon, I birthed the most curious, confident, and breath taking 7lb, 11 oz. creature I had ever laid eyes on two days before my scheduled induction.

I had spent most of the night before at home; my contractions starting around 9PM while I was at Pizza Hut with Jackie. We ventured to Walmart after dinner and I decided to head home instead of the hospital after a stressful phone call worsened my contractions. After several false alarms, I was much more eager to spend the night in my own home, holding each contraction while bent over my bed until it passed. My technique worked only a few hours before my body finally lost control of all muscular functions and after I began to pee on the floor continuously without realizing (mistaking it for my water breaking), Thundercats were go. 

After a quick stop to fetch my wonderful birthing partner, Ashley, and retrieve a 4AM snack of chili dogs from Sheetz, we made it to DRMC at about 5AM. The only song I can think of having heard during the drive up was “Imma Star”(completely appropriate for the entertainer I was about to give the world), while I gripped onto the dash and held my breath during contractions.

It’s hard to recall the exact amount of minutes we endured for each answer within the next few hours. I know only that we were informed we wouldn’t be leaving, shortly after arriving, and that I waited for what felt like years for my epidural. I most certainly believe I could have held off on an IV though. Hating needles as I do, I burst into tears at the sight of it and could have jumped out of my skin after the third unsuccessful stick. Bruising and bleeding from the inside of my elbow to my wrist and onto my sheets, I finally was left with a searing needle in the back of my hand. I still feel nauseated envisioning the multiple stabs. 

The epidural insertion wasn’t much more pleasant, though for this needle, a nurse held onto me and pulled me into a pillow against her while I bent forward to expose my back. I had already been crying and sobbing so long and so hard, that I had trouble keeping my oxygen in my nose with all of the tears and mucus pushing out the tubing as I tried relentlessly to hold it in between my loud, ugly sobs. There is nothing quite like the relief that almost immediately followed as they laid me back against the tubing. I know the exact place on my belly where the alcohol wipe went from cold to warm and then warm to non-existant. Most of the small talk and occurrences in between are a blur, except for my nurses watching Juno and Stepbrothers with us while checking in on me periodically. 

I believe it was close to noon when they finally came in to break my water. I hadn’t expected it to be as painful while medicated, but I can still feel the snag of the hook bursting it inside of me and the rush of warm, thick fluid filling the bottom of my bedsheets. I was extremely thankful for many reasons to have a bed that required no transference and that could easily be taken apart and reassembled without much disturbance to me. Especially when I needed clean sheets.

I don’t remember clearly how many CMs I was and when throughout my labor. After being dilated 5cms for two entire weeks, I lost track after our arrival at the hospital. I only knew I was getting close in numbers when something shifted in me and the epidural began losing all effects. I had read that “bearing down” was a way to birth in a sitting position and compared to having a bowel movement. I can not imagine a truer way to describe it. The nurses insisted of course that I didn’t need to pass anything, but the way I was feeling had me convinced and so they let me try, completely unsuccessfully, and then decided it was time.

I was directed to refrain from pushing until I was given the OK but the last thing in the world I could do in those moments, was follow instructions from someone not buried in my pain. They began to roll me from side to side-for how long, I’m not sure-but with each roll, I held my breath while on my side and pushed. I remember becoming aware of having the shakes at this time but unsure of when they began to take over my body. There was little I could do to die them down at this point. When I was finally rolled onto my back to push, I was determined in my mind to birth her in as few pushes as possible. Not highly recommended and I was scolded several times for not breathing while I strained to release her. My doctor entered in the middle of my 10-20 minutes of pushing (again, I really am not sure) to take over the the actual birth. I know that I started to yell that I couldn’t do it and that I pleaded with her to help me, but I was forced to press on. 

Another miscellaneous fact I had heard is that many women claim to orgasm during childbirth. Though this was definitely not my case, my first great push showed to me that it was possible. The nurses began to tell me how much hair my baby girl had and I was so thrilled and relieved that I had gotten her head out so far. Until I was informed that it wasn’t out, at all, she just had very long hair. That was that for me, and I decided to finish the childbirth immediately. And I did.

When she came through, everything happened in slow motion instantly. I remember hearing a sound similar to the cracking of a whip, which I later learned was the sound of her right clavicle breaking as she tried to exit through a not quite big enough door. At the same moment, blood and placenta was sprayed across my body, face, bed, and room. And Ashley was crying. I was instantly brought back to reality to begin pushing again to relieve the placenta from my body, which I remember as being pretty painful in itself. The several layers of stitches that followed only illuminated my numerous cuts and tears, even more so given that I was still shaking terribly and the doctor struggled to hold me down to sew me correctly.

My next flickering memory is of being given my brand new baby for just a few moments. The energy I had exerted and the shaking of my entire body still forceful, I was unable to hold her for very long right away. It was a heart-wrenching introduction though when all I could think and say to my precious new girl was that she looked like the biological father, though that incredulous idea disappeared altogether as she was cleaned and given back to me minutes later.

When at last I could be still and come back to my senses, I thought I could die at the sight of her. She had such perfect and distinguished features for a newborn. My nose, a puffy little bottom lip jutting out, and a full head of hair topped with very long pieces indeed. She had the most perfectly shaped ears, cheeks, and hands. But I was drawn most to her tiny beautiful feet. As I held her against me, my fingers traced the soft bottoms of them over and over. She was more than I could ever have imagined or deserved. I knew instantly that I would die for her and live for her. From the moment her skin pressed into mine, I knew that no matter the cost, I would never fail to protect her from what was necessary and I would never fail in honesty with her heart.

Seven years ago, my entire life was thrown upside down and I was given the chance to be who I was meant to be, with my own beautiful angel by my side. I have always wanted to show her the world and teach her everything I could, but it is within her that I’ve seen the world and learned to be better. Her undying passion for creativity and entertaining–a determined and talented ballerina who aspires to be the next Michael Jackson–inspires me. Her understanding of grammar and pronunciation outweighs that of many adults and reminds me of how much I value intellect myself. She has always aspired to use larger vocabulary and her extremely inquisitive mind in every topic she comes across. Though her current fascination with life after death and biology leaves me at quite a loss for answers for her. Three years ago, she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up and she knew then who she was and what she would stand for, in the sense of an adult finding themselves. Neither has changed, only grown stronger. In her breathtakingly defiant affirmations about herself and life, I am found questioning any moment I am not carrying out my life the same. She has no fear of consequence from doing what’s right and for following her heart. I aspire to be as fearless and selfless as she, though I know my heart can never match hers in size. Her empathy towards caged animals, and children in poverty is astounding to me and I find myself needing moments to process the ways she not only discovers these injustices, but how she understands them so clearly. She is not to be swayed in her thinking and her judgment is never clouded by the misdirection of others.

I have never been more terrified in my life than I am as a parent. I watch the very life of me, my complete heart and soul, walk away every morning to a world she is creating for herself. I know that her spirit and resolve are greatly unmatched in strength and I pray everyday to see the outcomes of her dreams and ambitions for this world.