*blows in mic* Ahem, Hello, can you hear me? Hey! Now, that I have your attention————
Allow me to introduce myself……….
I am Jessica House.
Daughter. Sister. Wife. Mother. Sisterfriend. Cousin. Veteran. Believer.
Born & Raised in Montgomery, AL. The second oldest out of 7 brothers & sister.
I am the product of parents who divorced, yet remarried against my desires. What??? I mean what child doesn’t want their parents to be together. Don’t judge me because I had the guts to say what you was really thinking, just saying. Anyways, where was I? Oh, yeah my parents divorced when I was 12 (even though they had been separated since I was roughly 2). It was one of the hardest events that I had to deal with in my childhood life. I was a rebellious child towards my stepdad, mostly, but loved my stepmom. Now, I’m not saying I didn’t love my stepdad as well…let’s just say certain “influences” made it difficult to respect him as a father figure in my life.
Growing up with an active father and mother, had its pros and cons. Add in two other people into the equation whom you’re suppose to love and respect just as your mom and dad TOO and that’s where things get tricky. My stepmom, whom I’d known and loved since I was two became my “mama”. It was rather easy to connect to her- for one, she is a woman and two, we resembled a lot so you couldn’t really tell that I wasn’t her biological child. However, when my stepdad came into the picture, that’s when things got a little bit “interesting” to say the least. Why interesting you say? Well! For starters, he is……11 years older than me. I met him when I was 11 years old. When I first met him, I feel head over hills in awe of him. He was SO CHARMING and he ADORED the heck out of my mother. He.made. her. happy. It was the first time in years that I had ever saw her THIS happy. So, I knew he was a keeper. Time passed on, and my parents both remarried in 2013.
After the wedding bells, things quickly transition from great to horrible. Not in regards to my mom’s marriage, but the parenting styles. See, remember when I mentioned I had an active dad and mom? Well, one of the cons of that was “taking their personal opinions of one another and incorporating it into the relationship between me and my “step parents”. There would be numerous occasions where their opinion and points of view would be forced onto me. As a child, it left me confused, mad as ever about something that happened in THEIR relationship. I started to harbor horrible feelings about something that had nothing to do with me. I became very rebellious to both of my stepparents. I acted out in ways that was physically with my step mom, and with my stepdad, I would always remind him that “he was not my daddy”. Even though, in reality, he accepted me and my other siblings and raised us as his own. Keep in mind he had no biological children of his own.
Resentment took over my body and begin to have a little hate towards them both. I promised myself that I would never be a stepparent and I didn’t want to be with a man who had baby mama drama. It wasn’t until I reached my adulthood that my perspective changed. As I walked into the chapter of adulting, I began to practice self reflection and evaluation.
I became a wife at age 19, May 14, 2010. Ayyyeee! He put a ring on it! I was found and made whole by my king, Tyrone. He swept me off my feet. He had crazy ambition and an intellect that made me want to invest my entire life being my his side to see his dreams through. His words of encouragement made me feel like I could accomplish anything. He believed in me. Whoa, that was big for me! But, there was one problem: he. had. a. child. Pump the brakes! A child? A whole child? I had so many thoughts running through my head: What’s his relationship like with the child’s mother? Does he still have feelings for her? Does she still have feelings for him? How is this going to work? I can’t be no step mama. What if she doesn’t like me? What if she treats me like I treated my stepparents?
But….I loved him. Because I loved him, I was willing to see another perspective. I was willing to subject myself to all of the questions that were in my head, even if the outcome was not what I expected…because I loved him. In the beginning, it was easy. He had no contact with the child’s mother so easy-peasy, right? As years went on, Tyrone was determined to see his daughter. And as his wife, I wanted to same thing. So we went for custody for her. That entire process was the most traumatizing thing ever. We got torn to shreds and then built back up in front everyone. All because he wanted a relationship with his daughter. Every time we got hit with adversity, the same thought would hover in my inner thoughts: “This is why you shouldn’t be with a man with an outside kid”
But I loved him….
So, I preserved. The custody battle was over and even though it was horrible we was able to have joint custody and a consistent visitation schedule since she lived out of town. The relationship between Tyrone and his child’s mother was nonexistent. Pretty much, they hated each other’s’ guts. I prayed for God to allow reconciliation and guess what? God came through! Fast forward to 2017, Tyrone and SB (child’s mother) reconciled their relationship.
We are now at a place, collectively, that we want to do BETTER for our daughter, CC. Going through this process, changed me. It developed my character and also helped me prepare for motherhood. Because of my experience being a step child and my love for Tyrone, I was determined to do things differently. I couldn’t fathom the fact of having CC suffered from the decisions of her parents. I was so determined to change the interpretation of co-parenting. We were all committed to change the definition of co-parenting in our black community.
I mean if white people can do it, why do we as a black community struggle??