I'm sure she was in love with my Dad when they got married, but things kind of fell apart after my dad started cheating on her. I was only 3 years old when it all started. My earliest memory is of 'the other woman' coming over to my house to talk with my dad. My Mommy happened to be out (she left after they had a fight) and this woman was trying to comfort my brother and me. I was in this woman's arms when my Mommy came home...then all hell broke loose. My dad was in and out of the house a million times after that. During the time he was out I can remember my Mommy sitting in her room crying. I can also remember the times we would sit in front of the other woman's house, my distraught, heartbroken Mommy screaming obscenties at the front door. At the time I didn't understand it, I just knew that my Mommy was crying and that wasn't good. It wasn't until I was 10 years old that they finally got the divorce. During the seven year separation we had visitation with my dad. Every Sunday he would pick us up, take us over to the other woman's house and we would sit there and watch TV. To break the monotony, sometimes he would let us be the remote control for him, sitting next to the television waiting for him to let us know whether to change the channel or not. I do have a few good memories but I think I blocked most of it out. When I was 13 years old I started to notice more around my own home. My Mommy played favorites. My brother could do no wrong and had, generally, nothing to do around the house. I, on the other hand, could never do anyting right and had so many chores I couldn't keep track of them. I would complain to my dad who started to beg me to come and live with him and the other woman. At first I used the excuse that I didn't want to change schools. I was going to Catholic school and knew they couldn't afford the tuition. Then they both started saying that they would figure out a way to make it work and I could still go to my school. Each and every day I would get a call from my dad asking if I decided yet. In the end I stayed with my Mommy. My reason? She never left me so how on earth could I leave her. I saw what happened to her life when my dad left, how could I do that her again? My Mommy sacrificed so much in her life to make sure my brother and I had, not only what we needed, but what we wanted. We both attended Catholic school all twelve years of schooling, we both went to camp every summer, we both had bikes, we both had TVs in our bedrooms from the time I was 10 and my brother was 13. We were even the first kids on our block to have a computer - a good ol' Atari 2600XL. We never hurt or wanted for anything. I don't think I'll ever know a woman as wonderful or as strong as my Mommy. I have my own daughter now and am expecting another one as I type. I couldn't imagine having to take care of them on my own. Over the years I have come to understand why she did some of the things she did when she was hurting so badly and I've come to respect all that she did and all that she gave up for us. I only pray that God grants me the strength that my Mommy now has...and that I don't need to go through what she did in order to get it.

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