It was summer of 2008. I had just turned 21 years old that past May, and was working as a waitress at my then job of five years. My aunt was a controller for a car dealership and needed some part-time help with filing in the office. I gladly accepted her offer. One thing my aunt told me was that whatever I do, don’t date Garry Leonard. He was recently divorced with three young girls. She knew he would try to persue me, but I assured her, he sounds like he has a situation more than I can handle.
Well, she was right. He did persue me, and to make a long story short, in December of that same year, we were living together. The girls were living with their mother at the time, and Garry was seeing them every Wednesday and every other weekend.
By the summer of 2009, I had graduated from college and left behind my waitressing job. I became an Assistant Manager at a retail store in the outlets. Since Garry’s ex lived by my job, I would pick the girls up on his visitation on my way home from work, or drop them off home on my way to work. His ex would even swing by my job with the kids, and let them run in and say hi. Oh, the amicable days. They were nice, but they were short-lived.
That fall, Jill (the ex) had decided she wanted to move to Hawaii with Joe,Garry’s at-the-time best friend. She basically dropped the girls off on our doorstep with a notarized letter saying she grants him residential custody.
She was gone for over a year. Every now and then she would skype with Faith, the oldest daughter. Faith was nine years old at the time. We had even gotten Faith a cell phone at such a young age so that she could communicate with her mother regularly. That’s where we made our first mistake. The constant line of communication was the start of the downfall. Jill only kept in contact with Faith and even that was few and far between. She promised she’d be home for Thanksgiving, but she never came. Christmas passed, and they got a pack of skittles in the mail.
At such a difficult time in these girls’ lives, I decided to leave my job after only one year, and became a full-time mom to these girls. They needed a constant in their life, and with their father working around the clock to support his family, I made the life-changing decision to stay home.
It wasn’t until the alimony was fulfilled and Garry no longer had to pay that Jill and Joe decided to move back to New York. Who does that? Who leaves their three young children (ages 9, 7, and 4 at the time) and moves across the country for a year-long vacation with “Uncle Joey”, as the kids once called him.
Yeah, that whole f-ed up situation is how I stepped into stepmotherhood. Stay tuned, the story has barely gotten started.