From the outside looking in, our family looked like any other family. We were happy. We created many wonderful memories together. In fact, up until the day my daughter told me her secret, I thought my marriage would last forever, and so did everyone else.
Have you ever heard the story about boiling a frog? A frog's body temperature adjusts with the climate, so if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will jump out, sensing that something is wrong, but if you put the frog in a pot of room temperature water, and turn the fire on low, the frog never realizes that it's being cooked and will die. That is the best way I can describe my marriage to a pedophile.
My relationship started off in January of 2012. I saw a guy I thought was attractive on a dating site and sent a message. When he replied, he told me he thought he knew who I was...or better, his father knew me and my family. We debated it for a minute because I was somewhat new to the area and didn't think his father knew me. Turns out he actually did. He was a long time friend of one of my uncle's and I had seen him and his son multiple times in my life. In fact, I even called his dad "Uncle."
Since I knew him and his family, I let my guard down a lot. After work one day, I went to see him and his family. His dad quickly struck up conversation about my family while he stood in the background. When I went to leave, he was reserved because he thought since I knew his dad that I wouldn't want to date him. Honestly I shouldn't have, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into at that point.
We continued dating over a four month time span. He said he was a virgin so our relationship wasn't very sexual in the beginning. I didn't introduce him to my kids for three months, even though I knew him and his family. My daughter was five and my son was one at the time. The first time he met my kids, he bought them happy meals from McDonald's. When he would visit, he would allow my kids to run around in the back of his truck and was very patient with them about everything.
I was beginning to view him as a good fatherly figure for my children. As for the relationship side of it, he would leave work and bike 10-15 miles to see me after work. We became very close in a very short time. I was still stuck between him and the man I had met before him though. The man I met before him had moved back out to Washington State to finish details with his ex so he could move back here to Ohio. He continued to drag me along and finally I had had enough of that and decided to date J (I will use a letter for each person so I'm not using their actual name. Well when C (the man I met before J) returned to Ohio I expected J to not allow me to see C. It was quite the opposite.
He encouraged me to spend time with C. So C would come over, pick me and my kids up, and we would go to carnivals, festivals, restaurants, etc,. During this time, I had moved in with J at his grandfather's house. I admired J for not getting jealous and his trust for me. I turned C away multiple times until finally I told him to focus somewhere else and find a girlfriend. He did and shortly after, she put a stop to us being friends.
My relationship with J turned more serious. We started talking about the future and making plans. Living with his grandfather was very trying. The house was filthy, we all had to share one room, the toilet didn't flush unless forced with water. Sometimes J's dad would let the gas or electric get shut off because he wasn't paying the bills. When I moved in, all they had for food was peanut butter, bread, cereal, milk, and pork chops. Period!
I started making changes. I bought cleaning supplies and started cleaning the house up, went grocery shopping, and discussed with J's grandfather that he needed to pay the utilities first before allowing his son to take the money from his account. We slowly started to get the house in better shape. I had also gotten J to stand up to his dad and not allow his dad to run him broke every week. His dad didn't like any of this.
Dericho hit. A storm with straight line winds. The electric went out for two weeks. J's dad, mom, and brother moved into J's grandfather's house as well. Granted it was very cramped. J's dad decided he didn't want me living there anymore because I was cleaning the house up. So he told J he had to make me leave. That night we ended up sleeping in J's truck. Kids and all. The next day J decided that he wasn't going to allow his dad to treat us like that and he insisted his dad stay at J's grandfathers and we assumed the trailer. This is where we would become a family.
We had a little bonfire pit behind the trailer and a big field to run. It was next to the highway, but the highway was fenced off and most of it was covered with trees. During the summer, there was a natural spring that ran under the highway from a nature reserve on the other side. It was ice cold water and was filled with small little creatures. Many days were spent there swimming and exploring the creatures that lived there. J would toss the kids into the water or let them have piggy back rides.
There was a large hill out front that led down into a field. J would take the kids there to roll down the hill in the summer and fall. In the winter they used it for sledding. J would entertain the kids while I was doing laundry, cleaning the house, cooking dinner, and/or taking a nap. My kids loved every minute of it and they all came back tired in the evening ready to eat and sleep.
The time we spent at the trailer was very trying, but also peaceful. It was just us and about six other trailers. We soon realized that J's dad had ran up all the utilities which were all in J's name. So I had to outsource for help with paying them off so we wouldn't lose our utilities.
The trailer was in horrible shape. There was no heating so we had to heat with electric heaters (unsafe especially in a trailer) and also sometimes the oven (even more unsafe). The people who owned the trailer park refused to allow us to bring in newer trailers. They had bigger plans for the land. Six months into the second year living there we received an eviction notice along with a demolition notice. We called the lawyer in charge and asked what our options were. He said move.
A few days later, a reporter from the local newspaper showed up at the door. She asked if she could interview our family about the trailer park. She didn't yet know that we were all being evicted. She wrote a front page story of our family and the struggles we had to go through during the eviction process. Thousands of photos were taken and we didn't live very many days that a camera wasn't in our faces. It showed a really good peak into our lives, our relationship, my children, and our home. She continued to follow us even after we finally found a new place. And then she did a follow-up story.
The next summer, me and J's dad made up, finally. He apologized for treating me so badly. We began spending time with him and J's mother. They fell in love with my kids. We invited them for Easter and enjoyed their company. Unfortunately, on Mothers Day, J's dad passed away. J took it very hard because he was planning to marry me and now his dad wouldn't be able to be there. I stayed with the family and we all worked through it together. I started crocheting my wedding dress and planning the wedding with a few friends. September 20th, 2014 I became J's wife. My wedding party consisted of J's brother, My daughter, and my son.
Shortly after we were married, we started discussing the living situation of J's grandfather and we decided the best way to care for him was to move to a new place with him and J's mother. So that's what we did. That spring, we moved into a new five bedroom house. I had his grandfather evaluated by the doctor and he decided grandfather had dementia and could no longer live alone.
Grandfather was use to living in a dirty house. He was a filthy living conditions kind of person with bad habits. J's mother refused to help clean or buy anything for the house. She acted as if her bedroom was her apartment but would take from the things we had bought. Grandfather needed us though so we put up with all of it. After two years at the house grandfather passed away from old age April 4th, 2017. J's mother still didn't show any compassion for him.
We told J's mother then that she needed to move out, that we wanted to go back to just the four of us. So she found an apartment and started slowly moving her stuff from the house to her apartment. My brother was staying with us helping with bills and My uncle had moved in also to help with bills. That's when things got really bad. J started to abuse our dogs first. Throwing them across the house and kicking them. Then he slapped my son and gave him a black eye and asked him to lie to the school and tell them he didn't know how he got the black eye. J and I were fighting on a daily basis. He wasn't paying the bills after he had decided to spend the bill money my uncle and brother had handed me. I didn't understand the sudden change in him, it was as if he was a total stranger.
One night, J told my daughter that she had to get rid of her dog. A fight broke out and J dragged my daughter up the stairs and into her room. The next day, my daughter came home early from school with a upset stomach. After picking them up, J went back to bed. I got a message from my mother asking for my kids. I told her no, that they just came home sick from school and they shouldn't be running around with her. She then told me my daughter had told her that my husband had been touching her inappropriately.
I thought she was being ridiculous. I went to my daughter and asked her what was going on. She said, "Mommy, dad has been touching me."
My head was swimming. I asked her, "Are you saying this because you're mad at him for wanting to get rid of your dog?" Her answer made my stomach sink.
She said, "No mommy, he even took pictures of me in the bathroom." What my daughter didn't know was that my husband had a previous charge of voyeurism. I knew then that she wasn't just saying it because she was angry.
My head became fuzzy. I didn't know what I was going to do, but I knew I couldn't do it alone. I sent a message to my mother saying "I need you now."
She said "On my way." After that, I'm not sure what happened. I remember standing at the foot of my bed staring at him and thinking about grabbing a baseball bat to wake him up with. My daughter needed me though. I couldn't go to prison and allow her to be alone in this. The next thing I knew, my mom was pulling me out onto the porch. It felt like she was there in a split second.
I started fumbling with my phone. My mother asked me what I wanted to do and I said "I need to call the police." My brother came home from work and my uncle came back to the house at the same time. I told them what was going on and they were really angry. My brother helped me call the police. When the police arrived, they had us walk away from the house to give our reports because J was still inside sleeping. Several hours later, we loaded up into my mother's car and went out to a friend of the family's house. We were safe, surrounded by people I trusted.
We started processing everything. There was no way we could sleep anyways. I trusted him, he knew me better than I know myself, I didn't have to explain anything, he just knew. He also knew how to prey on my daughter, knew what he could get by with and what he couldn't. He was a predator, not a husband, and certainly not a daddy. Over the course of the evening, my daughter repeatedly called him Daddy out of habit. Every time she would look down and say "I mean J."
The next day, we had to see a child's advocate. We didn't realize it at the time, but the people we would meet would become close like friends. They would be the ones to help us rebuild our lives. After our statements were recorded, we went back to the house to await the detective's call. When they called, they asked if I would be willing to wear a wire and go confront him. I said, "No, he will freeze and not tell me anything." They asked if I was okay with my daughter messaging him to get a confession. I said "No, she's been through enough." So they went and asked him if he would come downtown for questioning.
Several hours later, I got a phone call from the detective saying that J was on his way to the county jail. I asked what happened in the interview. He said, "I can't tell you much, but I can tell you your daughter wasn't lying about anything." I completely lost it. I started crying so deep I didn't know where it was coming from. My daughter, standing there strong as ever, trying to comfort me. Her comforting me? Can you imagine.
I told everyone he admitted to it all and then I almost passed out and had to throw myself back on the couch. A little bit later, I decided to tell my other two brothers what had happened. They came to talk and were infuriated that I didn't tell them before the police arrested him. It was in my daughter's best interest though and would give her more closure. She didn't need to lose anyone she loved when she needed so much support and comfort herself.
I sent my uncle to pick up J's car, but wasn't as prepared as I thought I would be. My daughter and I's stomachs both hit the floor when we saw his car come around the corner. My son got angry that we were stealing his daddy's car and wanted to know where his daddy was. I had to break it to my son that Daddy got arrested for doing bad things to his sister. He was angry with both of us, saying things that he shouldn't, so we allowed him to take time to himself.
Later that night, we finally got to go home. Home didn't feel like home anymore though. Little signs here and there that he had been there not long ago. That night he had slept on my side of the bed with my pillows and blankets. He left a frozen bottle of water on the floor next to his PS4 controller. His pants and belt from the day before laying beside the bed. Dirty dishes on the TV stand. Pictures and our names littered our shelves and walls. We just went straight to bed. None of us slept very well but we did sleep.
The next day I had my niece and best friend come help me clean house and get rid of memories. Anything of J's or had J in it we put in one pile and told his mom to pick it up. She kept stringing her pickups along. Asking me questions and feeding me information about J. Telling me he wanted to apologize to me, that he still loved me, that it was real, and that he was having nightmares of me. He also tried to call me from the jail. I rejected the call. Eventually, I rejected his mother altogether.
I had to come to terms with it being okay that I missed him. I missed who I thought he was. I missed my best friend/husband. That was okay. I had to mourn the loss of him as if he had died. My children started sleeping with me for comfort. It allowed all of us to sleep better. We all felt like zombies. Never enough sleep and just nodding our way through the days. The story of our lives being repeated over and over again. Everyone that knew him said they would never have had a clue as to what was going on and thought we would be together forever.
We started counseling. Started working through some of our unspoken emotions. The schooling situation was a mess. Attendance was getting out of control. We had to move into another house. The thought that maybe a new house and new school would help things. It didn't. My daughter still had trouble going to school so I signed her out of public school and enrolled her in online schooling. She is now doing well, but her brother isn't. I believe I'm going to have to put him back in public schooling.
On December 12th, 2017 J was sentenced to four years in prison and must register as a sex offender every 90 days for the rest of his life. We don't think that is nearly enough time, but that's what the judge decided. Every day after that we awaited for his information to be put online so my daughter would have the comfort of knowing that he really is in prison.
Our world was shaken apart and now has to be put back together piece by piece. I wrote a letter to J that I never sent and I don't think I'm going to. He doesn't deserve a response from me. He doesn't need a peek of what's in my head. One day he will look for me when he gets out. I know this because I know how he is. When he got me flowers in the hospital it said "Nothing in this world can keep me away from you." I believe that. I am preparing for that day. I plan to get my concealed carry license by then and have a few more weapons other than baseball bats to choose from.
He had my daughter believing that I would be mad at her. That I couldn't live without him. After finding out that it had been going on for two and a half years! I said, "Why didn't you tell me sooner?"
She said "Because you love him and can't sleep without him. You need him."
I said "I love you more!"
He underestimated me once. I'm sure he will do it again. When that day comes, I'll be waiting to dish out the perfect justice. I will show him that no matter how clever you are, you should never mess with a mother and her babies. She will eventually make you pay for everything you ever did wrong.
*****I need financial help with filing my divorce. If you would like to help please visit my gofundme page.
Thank you for reading :)
*****Warning: To all mothers. I asked my children on a daily basis if someone had done anything that made them feel strange or uncomfortable. As they grew, I made sure they knew everything I could possibly tell them about predators and about sex. I kept a one on one private conversation with them. I thought for sure if anything happened they would tell me. You never know who is doing it. Could be someone you trust. You never know what is keeping them from telling you. So please be extra aware of your babies and their safety.