13th Year of Life…

My youngest niece is turning 13 this weekend. I can’t believe the baby of the family will soon be a teenager.

Her milestone birthday is making me reflect on how difficult of an age 13 can be…

Often times, hormones are going insane presenting new feelings and emotions.. at the same time you’re changing from a kid to a teenager. It’s a tough year.

I will certainly never forget the year I turned 13.

We were living in Gatlinburg, TN and I vividly remember receiving my first elephant figurine as a gift. It is pink and still sits on my dresser. That started my collection which has now grown into the hundreds. I own everything from earrings, rings to underwear with elephants!!

We had a 13th birthday party and all our church friends from Chattanooga came to Gatlinburg to celebrate. I was happy there. I loved school and I loved life.

Two months after my birthday… My twin sister and I went to visit our older sister over the holiday break. One night, Beth (older sis) walked into the living room and told us Daddy was in the hospital and we weren’t going back to Gatlinburg to live. She said when school started again after the new year, we would be starting back at a school where she lived.

I remember being so confused. I never remember Momma and Daddy fighting so the idea of them divorcing was pure insanity to me.

We were not told the reason for the divorce at the time. All I knew was Momma moved us back to Cleveland (TN) and my whole life changed forever. I still have no memories of them fighting or even arguing much. (I honestly feel like seeing them fight or even be unhappy around each other would have helped my brain process the life change better).

When I learned the truth about the reason for the divorce in adulthood, I can’t fathom how strong my mother is to never show the hurt and pain my daddy caused her.

She loved him in a way I might argue isn’t healthy… It is who she is though and I wouldn’t change that for anything. I only wish she would learn to love herself as much as she loves other people (but I digress).

The way I’ve been told the story of what led up to the divorce is this…

Daddy became very ill at work and ended up being taken to the hospital. Of course, Momma was called and went immediately to the hospital. One of his close friends also showed up to check on him.

I am told the doctors wanted to do a HIV test and when Momma asked why, the friend told Mom the doctors were worried because of Daddy’s lifestyle. She was floored!

The friend told Momma to look between the mattress and box springs when she got home that night. When she did, she found love letters to Daddy from a man.

She stayed and took care of him until he was well (and at that point he was still HIV negative) and moved to Cleveland, got a job and filed for divorce… All while dealing with not one, but two, teenagers.

I was confused and Amy was angry. I am sure it was not the best year of any of our lives!!!

We all made it though.. We’ve made it through all the lemons life hands up!  I am an

expert maker of lemonade.

teen

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