Out of the blue a few days ago, I read a “time sensitive” email from Dr Phil. The header caught my attention while emailing back and forth to a TDCJ Beto Unit Bride who had hired a No Show Officiant (obviously not affiliated with Texas Twins Events or my Team).
Hiring the right Officiant, Coordinator or both saves you the heartache of having your wedding day ruined by the many con artists proclaiming to be Approved by the Texas Department Of Criminal Justice. There are very few TDCJ Approved Officiants.
I waited to respond to the producer emailing me and chose to instead solve the problem of the Bride who had been stood up first. Why? Because she had paid someone in good faith who had taken advantage of her and I was determined to help her by juggling my schedule to find an available date on my books.
By the time I assured my new client that I would help her plan her wedding and Officiate at TDCJ Beto Unit, I can’t describe to you how relieved and thankful she was because there aren’t enough words to describe finding someone who cares about your story and will do anything to restore your faith in humanity after being disappointed.
I understood where this Bride was coming from because I’ve helped nine other TDCJ Brides who made the same mistake.
Can you imagine planning a wedding, dressing yourself to meet your groom and being excited only to have your Officiant not show up? Neither can I.
I’ve never missed a job I my entire life. My work ethics are stellar but, there are others out there who don’t possess the same values that I do.
I once had someone on LinkedIn comment on one of my posts “This isn’t Facebook.” Looking at the comment, I responded “my businesses are family owned and operated. There isn’t a “line” between family and business for me because I juggle both family and business at the same time. If you aren’t taking the time to read the blog before adding a comment, you’re uneducated advice is unwelcome.” I meant it.
With people posting half nude photos, political rants and everything else these days, if a photo of me with a couple on location in a Prison Visitation area bother someone, they can get over themselves.
Prison Weddings are my business. Occasionally, I think a few comment on something in a negative fashion in order to draw attention to themselves. You know, similar to a child throwing a tantrum.
I’m a counselor with Two Together In Texas and understand why many people who think they know it all actually know very little. Some folks will do anything for attention. My niece is one of those people. Her wild FB posts became so unpredictable and controversial that not only I but also, her mother continued to get screenshots from concerned mutual friends. Thankfully, Stephaney has since deleted FB and put an end to alarmed people trolling around to see yet another shocking post.
My sister sums up smart Alec’s daily with #Cindyism Quotes used on Pawning Planners Apparel. From Moochers, to Morons and everything in between, Cindy gets her point across with humor.
Our own family members who have done nothing to sacrifice raising the twins financially or emotionally and much less help with Stephaney continue to make stupid comments or suggestions about something they have no experience with.
Two days ago, my son attempted to give my niece, Leigh Ann advice about her two year old. The problem? My son has no children.
“Don’t TELL me HOW to PLAY, especially when YOU didn’t SHOW up for PRACTICE, and ain’t even IN the GAME.”
Moving from family problems back to business (as usual), I continued to skim through and answer emails. My life is like a tennis match of hitting the ball back and occasionally when it comes to my family, chasing it off the court. I can’t control the game or my family.
I’ve been ignoring calls from my dad about the “invisible intruders” and his issues because I’m still recovering from a hysterectomy two weeks ago, losing Anne forever, a subsequent kidney and bladder infection from my surgery catheter and an incision infection and all the other drama and chaos this family brings. Crazy texts emails and phone calls continue from dad but, I’m too overwhelmed to run over there everyday.
My circus has enough clowns- I need to close the tent as does my sister. Juggling work and family with a niece who consistently causes chaos is and has been emotionally debilitating, unpredictable and erratic.
Visiting my dad in the Psych Ward for fourteen days in a row was hard for not only me but, also Cindy who were his only visitors. Who knew there were Psych Wards for Seniors? We didn’t.
Cindy or I still field calls from dad’s social worker and it’s not like we need any additional family related responsibilities. God knows we are overwhelmed! From dad’s social worker to Stephaney’s issues and everywhere in between, trying to appear normal is similar to a play with the costume changes and scenery going downhill. Psych Wards and visits to homeless people searching for my niece don’t require a suit or tie. You dress down to fit in.
A secondary infection from my incision has caused me pain but, don’t bother telling my family that I don’t feel good unless it’s my husband or sister who know the antibiotics are killing me.
My son and his wife haven’t even bothered to ask how I’m feeling while yelling suggestions about forgetting Stephaney exists or what to do with Maryssa.
In my son’s defense though, losing Ann was shocking and a loss that will haunt him always. My son had an amazing relationship with Ann.
A few days after my emergency surgery, my daughter in law was in the hospital for Mono and Strep Throat. When something is going on with my daughter in law, she enjoys being the center of attention.
My son wanted my sister and I to go visit his wife who was sick with an infection serious enough for hospitalization. “Stephanie feels abandoned. Her mom was supposed to visit and backed out. Can’t you and mom come up here and help her feel loved?”
I was ordering flowers for Ann’s Memorial and dealing with wild texts from Stephaney while Cindy was talking to dad’s social worker. Dropping everything we were doing to prepare for Ann’s Memorial including telling Stephaney she couldn’t attend was upsetting enough.
We couldn’t have Stephaney showing up and talking to the Devil or telling everyone the world was coming to an end or that she was Jesus Christ. Stephaney is wildly unpredictable and when confronted, destructive. After all, she’s kicked down doors and knocked holes in walls over and over again before. The Memorial was a blend of four families due to divorce and new marriages and the last thing I needed was for my niece to jump up and command the attention of everyone in the room. I had to protect my husband from another funeral related incident similar to that of Gretta.
For those unaware of that catastrophic funeral, I had carefully dressed Gretta and spent a month getting Greenwood to release the body to my father in order to make funeral arrangements for thirty days.
The problem? My father didn’t have a Body Disposition Affidavit and, he and Gretta weren’t legally married.
To disrupt the funeral, Gretta’s sister, Kathy claimed that as the next of kin, she was going to handle the funeral arrangements.
By Texas Law, Greenwood was forced to keep Gretta on ice to give Kathy an opportunity to make arrangements. Daily visits to Greenwood for my father to update him for over a month were stressful on me.
Since many consumers are unaware of Body Disposition Affidavits, The Funeral Rule and other Laws regarding the deceased, hiring an experienced Funeral Clergy to walk you through your rights while planning your memorial is an important element in the “Planning Process.”
For those of you wondering what a Body Disposition Affidavit is and does, visit this blog on my sister site– Burial Decisions, Body Disposition Affidavits & What You Need To Know.
By the time I finally got Greenwood to “allow” my father to pay them $12k to bury Gretta, I had already created all of the flower arrangements for the ceremony myself while running back and forth to Greenwood to expedite the release of Gretta’s body to the care of my father while also carrying the responsibility of Officiating the ceremony.
At Gretta’s graveside ceremony, Stephaney (high again), pushed me out of the way to conduct the ceremony herself while I was midway through it at the graveside. My horrified husband and father watched in stunned silence as Stephaney made herself the center of attention simply because she had bothered to show up.
It’s hard to surprise me but, Funerals and memorials are far more unpredictable than a wedding. “Controlling the Crazy” was necessary for Ann’s Memorial. If that upset my niece, I had no other option due to her own history of wild behavior in the midst of grieving family members.
Cindy reminded my son that she had rushed to town and already been to the hospital to drop off breakfast for my son and his wife. But, Cindy didn’t go visit Stephanie upstairs because she can’t afford to get sick. Because of this, in my daughter in law’s opinion, Cindy didn’t do enough.
There will be people in your life that you can never do enough for, accept this and move on. Don’t keep feeding the sharks because they are always hungry.
Selfish people suck the damn life right out of you. It’s always “me, me, me, I, I, I” with a self absorbed narcissistic person.
I had just had surgery and was already dealing with an infection and a day after surgery, the death of my stepdaughter. Cindy has the daily responsibility of caring for her twin granddaughters with a husband on the road six days a week but, Stephanie didn’t give a damn about getting us sick.
Cindy and I couldn’t afford to get sick visiting my daughter in law with our numerous obligations to family and clients but, to appease Stephanie, my son called us to go visit anyway.
It’s not well known that at 14, my classmate drank out of a Coke while contagious with Mono. Debbie inadvertently nearly killed me. My spleen was about to rupture by the time my dad finally took me to the ER. Just hearing “Mono” makes me want to run as fast and as far from anyone with it as I can get. It took nearly a year for my liver and spleen to heal. Since then, I don’t let anyone drink out of my drink or eat after me unless your family. Even then, I’m cautious.
Angry about my daughter in laws consistent selfishness, my sister called my son and said “your wife feels abandoned because she’s sick and no one is coming to see her? Where the Hell was everybody while my sister was in surgery with complications. You and your wife weren’t in the waiting room with her husband like I was. You and your wife haven’t even bothered to call or check on your mom to see if she needed anything but I have. Tell your wife to stop whining and get over herself. Have you forgotten that my sister and her husband are planning his daughters Memorial and still grieving after Wendy just got out of the hospital? What the is wrong with you?”
Cindy (as usual) covered every base and, the stress of planning Ann’s memorial while dealing with grief and recovering from surgery was something my daughter in law never once considered Friday when putting my son up to “guilt tripping” us into visiting her.
By the way, my daughter in law was “so sick” in the hospital Friday afternoon that she somehow managed to make it to Ann’s memorial the following afternoon.
Getting back to the other email while juggling my TDCJ Hodge Unit Bride, due to our scheduled wedding at 10AM next Wednesday and waiting on the Groom to mail a notarized ID to accompany the Absentee Affidavit, I was highly concerned that we wouldn’t get the Marriage License in time for the ceremony with a three day waiting period.
To overcome this and solve the problem, I instructed her to download the Two Together In Texas Online Marriage Course in order to waive the waiting period and discount the license by $60. Today, she sent a text that the notarized ID still hadn’t arrived but, hopefully it arrives Saturday or even as late as Tuesday before the clerks office closes.
The benefit of taking the Two Together In Texas course for my Prison Clients is waiving the waiting period. It’s essential in the event a situation occurs where you can’t purchase the license until the last minute that you take the course.
Without the Two Together course unless you Military Member or have a judge waive the waiting period, you must reschedule your wedding to obey the waiting period.
Back to the Dr Phil producer email, I attempted to explain the situation with my niece and how her behavior has affected our family the past seventeen years and, it wasn’t easy. I carefully explained the situation in an email sent after midnight. Why? Because I can’t sleep.
I sit up every night as my husband and dog rest peacefully wondering and worrying what will happen with our family? I’m concerned about the stress affecting Cindy’s health as well as my own.
My sorrow is so great for the past nine months of Stephaney’s latest meth relapse that my heavy heart prevents me from finding any peace. With my dad believing that people are living in his attic and my grandniece acting up, I’m not so certain that dad won’t be headed back to Wellbridge at this point putting three family members in the Psych Ward at the same time.
If you had told me anything like this would happen to my niece, grandniece or dad a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed it.
I did momentarily consider that the producer would wonder why I’m answering emails well after 9PM but, in my current situation, sleep is a gift I’m unable to receive.
Anyone dealing with a drug addicted relative and revolving door at mental institutes has difficulty sleeping.
The pain of watching my niece relapse over and over again for seventeen years while losing job after job and either harassing us or being put behind bars has now shifted to being committed seven times in the past year or Jail.
We are relieved when Stephaney in either jail of committed. We thank God for blessing us with a break from her running wild.
The month of peace we had when Stephaney returned from North Texas State Mental Hospital in Wichita Falls was short lived.
I solve problems everyday and answer at least fifty emails and phone calls for clients from Texas Prison Weddings, Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners and Texas Twins Treasures.
Many of the people calling or emailing aren’t clients at the time they contact me. Some have paid someone else only to realize later that they made a mistake.
For TDCJ inquiries, I advise everyone to verify credentials. Why? Because you need to know if you are hiring a qualified TDCJ Officiant. If you are contacting me AFTER hiring someone else, you will have to get a refund and file a new I60. I juggle 15-20 TDCJ Weddings each month and if you’re contacting me in the middle of the month, you are effectively bumped to the following month due to my schedule.
I’m the “fixer.” I help them get their money back and move on and if my Team has a problem or issue, I fix that too.
The only thing in my life that I cannot fix is my family. I wish I could in order to salvage the pain my niece’s decisions have brought to us but, I can’t. This failure has broken my heart.
My son is angry at my sister and I about Stephaney. Robert also thinks he knows better than we do how to “fix Maryssa.” A few weeks ago, my son and his wife wanted to move Maryssa in with them and “let her clean and cook doing manual labor to learn what life is about.”
Millennials are often so stupid that it’s difficult to have a conversation as to why their stupid ideas are unrealistic. I’m serious about this.
My daughter in law comes up with a plan to put a thirteen year old to work as a maid in her home to teach her a lesson?
How I kept from slapping her over this selfish proposition to use Maryssa I have no idea. Believe me, conversations with my daughter in law often result in all out arguments. Refraining myself from whaling on my daughter in law isn’t easy.
Why? My daughter in law is an entitled and selfish know it all who knows nothing. She’s lived in a protected bubble thanks to her overindulgent grandmother and my son who put her on a pedestal.
If anyone needs to know what real life and real work actually are, it’s my daughter in law! Cindy and I have to refrain from giving my daughter in law and occasionally my son a “piece of our minds” on a daily basis.
My son won’t take calls from my niece and he has no sympathy for her. Stephaney has been outcast from our family.
Yet, my son and his wife think they can “fix” my thirteen year old grandniece by making her into a slave? I was so angry about this that a colossal argument ensued.
Cindy and I refused to take calls for over two weeks from my son and his wife over the most idiotic idea to help Maryssa that we have ever heard.
My husband will no longer allow Stephaney in our home. Cindy’s husband threatened to leave with the clothes on his back if Cindy’s moves her home. We cannot save Stephaney from homelessness. Our responsibilities are to protect and care for Cindy’s twin granddaughters and our husbands. Everyone else is on their own now including Stephaney.
There won’t be anymore “moving home” from our adult children who continue to want to move home.
My son and his wife moved into our home after their home burned down. If you think biting my tongue is difficult when seeing my daughter in law- you have no idea what having her live in my house for three months was like.
After ninety days of picking up after my son and his wife, I told my son they had to leave. I was a maid and cook for ninety days with my daughter in law refusing to clean up after herself and make further demands of me.
My husband can barely get through dinner with my daughter in law. After ninety days, my husband advised me that it was either my son and his wife leave or he will. I’m dead serious. My son was angry at me about it but, I’m not going to lose my husband over my adult son.
I’m OCD but, my twin sister isn’t. Cindy is full of fun and laughs even though our lives have never been easy. Laughter is her best medicine.
The producer for Dr Phil asked us to upload a video describing the past seventeen years. I had hoped to appear professional and in control but, I didn’t. Discussing my niece runs from anger to despair.
Masking the raw reality of discussing where we have been and what we have been through on video was the hardest thing to do without showing any emotion.
I called Cindy after she returned home to discuss the Dr Phil Show and whether or not Stephaney would agree to appear on the show. It’s a toss up with Stephaney as she is far from reliable when off her meds again.
It’s important to note that both my husband and Cindy’s husband never had children. Steve has raised Cindy’s adult daughters and grandchildren as if they were his own as has my husband. Had they not married us, our husbands wouldn’t have ever been faced with the problems our adult children and grandchildren have brought into our lives. Our husbands don’t understand why we can’t stop trying to save Stephaney. Neither of them no longer care what happens to her. After all of her issues, they simply have no empathy left.
Five days ago, I watched my niece handcuffed in the alley. She had been missing for over twelve hours and refusing to answer my calls and texts as usual.
While Cindy and I worried about her, the shock of seeing her handcuffed behind my home for the fifth time in seven months was more relief than embarrassment or anxiety because at least we knew where she was.
My upscale neighborhood and snooty neighbors watching from their balconys and guests houses wasn’t uncomfortable for my niece because Stephaney is more than a little familiar with Mental Warrants.
For seventeen years, I’ve hoped and prayed that my niece would be stable. Four months ago after a stint in Wichita Falls State Run Mental Ward, I took my niece job hunting and found her the best job she had ever had on the same day at an upscale restaurant. She didn’t have a car but, work was within walking distance and she was thrilled to find a job quickly to address her numerous traffic fees and fines.
Cindy and I bought her work clothes, shoes and makeup to look her best for her new job and mistakenly believed that Stephaney would pay down her bills, get on her feet and for the first time in her life, fly right.
Sadly, we were devastated less than a month later to find that she had gone off her meds and began self medicating as soon as she had a car.
Tolerance has a shelf life. After years of hoping my niece would get her act together, our entire family is at odds over Cindy and I consistently hoping for a miracle. Doing the same thing over and over again won’t get you different results. Ask us, we know from experience.
Setting boundaries is the only way we have to control the “crazy chaos” my niece brings to our family and inadvertently to her twin daughters.
Our heartbreak over this cannot be explained in mere words. We were so sure that “this time we finally fixed her.” We didn’t.
We had failed to save Stephaney yet again and lost her again. Wandering the streets lost, aimless and drifting through life without any income.
My neighbor stopped me to ask about the girl who walked to my home while I was walking Foxy. Stephaney waving her hands and arguing with the Devil is something so unusual in this neighborhood that I’m certain many other neighbors have noticed her too. One of those neighbors called the police.
Trying to find my niece is never easy and always requires paying homeless people who I show a photo of Stephaney to on my phone.
A few of the homeless simply lie about having seen Stephaney just to get the money while others tell me “oh, I’ve seen here by that old hotel on Hwy 80. It’s a dangerous place. You shouldn’t go alone. She doesn’t look like that now. Her face is hollow and she’s jumpy and talks fast. Is she on something?”
My niece who looked so beautiful and healthy when we picked her up from being institutionalized in Wichita Falls didn’t look beautiful being arrested in my alley.
Disheveled and disoriented, Stephaney had once again crossed over to the “dark side.”
Unless you’ve directly dealt with an addict who struggles with mental illness, this description will be lost on you but, if you have, you know exactly what I mean.
From crack houses to freeway overpasses, the last seventeen years of trying to find Stephaney when she’s off the rails is a harrowing and dangerous dive into the dark side for my sister and I.
Last week before the arrest on a Mental Warrant, we found Stephaney under the bridge off Las Vegas Trail. Wild eyed and angry, she had refused to get in either of our suvs.
Cindy actually drove past her own daughter without recognizing her while I was looking under the Cherry Lane Bridge talking to her on BlueTooth.
I had told Cindy that “the homeless lady in Como said she was wearing a dress. There’s a brunette under the bridge but, she’s wearing pants and I don’t think it’s her.” The minute I heard this, I told Cindy to turn around because I knew it was my niece and, I was right.
Two weeks ago, my son called and asked if I knew where Stephaney was. I said “yes, Cindy and I dropped off groceries and drinks along with toiletries to the abandoned house.” She had apparently went to find drugs again.
My son told me that Stephaney was so high that he didn’t recognize her until driving past.
The fact that he actually turned around and picked her up in the Texas heat told me that at least he had the courtesy of driving her where she was going rather than pretending not to see her and letting her walk around “out of it.”
Stephaney was living in the maids quarters above the garages of an estate that has been abandoned eight years the past four months. In April, she was sober and walking to work.
By July, she was wearing unmatched shoes and yelling at invisible demons while destroying the property. The police could do nothing about her staying there because no one can locate the owner.
The neighbors (not surprisingly) are horrified that a transient who behaves oddly is walking around in “the neighborhood” at all hours of the night.
As usual, I didn’t know where Stephaney was when my son decided to picked her up off Cherry Lane. We can’t control my niece and, we’ve never been able to.
For months now, either my father, my niece or my grandniece have been in or out of a Psych Ward. Frankly, it’s shocking that Cindy or I haven’t lost our minds with all of the shit going on!
Our dad met a “friend” in the Psych Ward who moved in with him. Cindy and I said nothing about this. Asking us about his estate and finances, Cindy and I called our brother to give him a heads up on this lady instead. It’s high time that someone else in the family other than Cindy and I “pitch in on the problem solving.” Our brother is isolated from the daily drama because he lives in North Carolina. But, he has a phone and can certainly give dad advice.
The stress of visiting a relative or dropping off clothes and cigarettes has worn Cindy and I down to nervous wrecks. We hate visiting Psych Wards and acting like it’s normal. Just getting out of our SUV and walking in is similar to being punched in the stomach.
If you’ve ever visited a friend or relative in a Mental Institute, you know exactly what I mean. It’s hard to act like nothing odd is going on around you. You don’t stare at other patients or react when they touch you or sit with you or even think you are there to visit them.
You learn to “roll with it” at visits to Mental Institutions. You find yourself wondering how you wound up here? Why your dad or your niece keep wanting to get out? They are taken care of and getting counseling. They are making new friends. How bad can it be? Stephaney is homeless and until my dad met his new friend, he was lonely.
When we picked my dad up from Wellbridge, he was thrilled to be getting out. Stephaney always wants to get out. We reminded her she doesn’t have a job so what’s the hurry?
There isn’t anything normal about having two family members in two different Psych Wards at the same time. Last month it was dad and Stephaney. This month, its Stephaney and Maryssa.
Since Stephaney was committed four days ago, things took a turn for the worst again with her daughter, Maryssa who has been acting out since Stephaney got on the sauce in October.
Maryssa has been talking back to us, yelling at us, throwing a fit over having her phone taken away and threatening suicide.
At thirteen years old, Maryssa’s behavior yesterday was so distressing that Cindy and I had her committed at Mesa Springs for observation.
What happened? Makenna who is struggling with ovarian cysts was in the guest bathroom at my home going to the bathroom. Her twin sister, Maryssa who is banned from cell phone use had found her papas old phone and hidden it behind the toilet Makenna was sitting on.
Thinking that Makenna would find the phone and alert Cindy or I about it, Maryssa attacked Makenna knocking her off the toilet into the shower and wailing on her with both fists. This attack was solely to prevent Makenna from noticing the hidden phone behind the toilet.
Maryssa is showing too many signs of past behavior from Stephaney. We were told they can’t test teens for Bipolar One until they were seventeen.
We warily realize that Maryssa may very well be Bipolar. We can’t go through another life of Maryssa acting like Stephaney. We won’t.
While trying to pull Maryssa off Makenna, several punches were thrown at me. This type of violent behavior has never happened before with either our adult children or my twin grandnieces except with Stephaney (of course). I was horrified and Makenna was traumatized.
Cindy and I immediately decided to take Maryssa to Cook’s Childrens Hospital for an evaluation. We can’t tolerate this kind of inexcusable behavior in our own homes and targeted against our own family.
Not accepting any responsibility for beating her twin sister up while she was on the toilet and obviously not in a position to defend herself.
Makenna had refused to hit Maryssa back while her sister sat on her after breaking my toilet. Covering her face with both hands while I attempted to pull Maryssa off Makenna, my horror over this incident may never go away.
Maryssa was threatening to kill herself again or run away if she couldn’t talk to the boy who was the reason we had taken the phone away. Maryssa is quickly becoming a manipulator who had a great teacher, her mother.
This boy was messaging Maryssa through Instagram. If you’re a parent, you need to review Instagram or Snapchat messages of teens. It’s a real eye opener.
Makenna stayed home with my husband to prepare for her surgery this morning while Cindy and I spent 6 1/2 hours at Cook’s while Maryssa was evaluated.
If you’ve never done this before, it’s a slow and painful process. You’re upset that something terrible has just happened and the staff is upset that you’re upset.
Maryssa has yet to apologize for starting a fight in order to grab that phone and stick it in her shirt while sitting on top of her sister and whaling on her simply because Makenna might have found the contraband phone.
It’s something that Makenna will never get over. Being beaten up by your own twin over a phone and an idiot boy is inexcusable.
My sister and I are so upset over Stephaney and Maryssa now that we haven’t visited either of them at their separate Psych Wards. We simply dropped off clothing and toiletries and left.
Cindy and I are relieved to not be sitting for an hour in the lobby with other miserable and frightened guests visiting loved ones at a Mental Institute or Psych Ward.
After months of visiting our dad, Stephaney or Maryssa, if we never saw another Psych Unit again it would be a Godsend!
Our friend, Tammi Leggett has been through this same situation for two or more years. Tammi finally sent her daughter to Wilderness Camp.
Yesterday, I sent another email to the producer from Dr Phil and asked that they send Maryssa to camp and skip Stephaney. Why? Because Maryssa is young enough to have a shot at successful treatment while Stephaney may not be.
This idea came to me while telling Cindy that Tammi had taken her daughter to Mesa Springs. We both knew the Hell Tammi had been through.
Makenna is now afraid to be in the same house with her twin sister who obviously is missing a sensitivity chip.
Tammi knows the Hell we are going through. If we have to send Maryssa away to save Makenna and the rest of our family for treatment, we will.
While dropping off clothing and toiletries to Maryssa and took a call from Stephaney. Cindy was (not surprisingly) furious at Stephaney for years of adding more heartache and unpredictable behavior to her when Cindy has taken on the responsibilities of caring for and raising both of Stephaney’s twin daughters for nearly fourteen years.
While Stephaney was off partying, we were buying school supplies and clothes, running the twins to doctor appointments and raising her children the last fourteen years.
Neither of the twins parents pay court ordered child support. Saving Stephaney and buying her food because she won’t work is just too much even for us.
Whatever we buy Stephaney isn’t good enough anyway. “Why do you and mom keep buying me Dollar Tree food? I want fresh fruit and steak.”
Dollar Tree food isn’t free to Cindy or I. We’ve been spending up to $600 a month buying food and toiletries before buying cigarettes for Stephaney. Her brand Camel Crush are $6.75 a pack. She’s angry when we buy other brands. She doesn’t care that by providing everything to her, Stephaney is literally taking food out of her own children’s mouths.
The tens of thousands of dollars Cindy or so have spent on rehab, jail phone calls and more regarding Stephaney are shocking. There isn’t a money tree at either of our houses. Cindy doesn’t benefit from child support.
Try telling someone that spending an additional $400-600 a month buying everything they need is affecting your ability to provide for their children and step back for a tirade. All of these Psych Ward “Stints” are costing thousands of dollars. Thousands. “I’m your kid!”
At thirty one, being a kid was gone a long time ago. How on earth my niece feels entitled to having her own brand of cigarettes when she refuses to work blows my mind.
The only reason we buy Stephaney cigarettes is in the hope she won’t smoke meth if she has cigarettes. We no longer hand her money because we know that she will go buy drugs.
Adding approximately $49 a week to the cost of food, drinks and toiletries “rounds out” the numerous expenses for Stephaney coming out of our households.
I’m so tired of budgeting our households to ensure Stephaney doesn’t starve and rather than appreciating our help, being told what we didn’t do. Stephaney wants to “move home” but, that will never happen again.
I remember watching the parents who sued their deadbeat son to get him out of their house. Who could blame them? He felt entitled to mooching off his parents and they wanted their house back.
Boomerang Kids and Millenials expect free rides but, there aren’t any free rides in life. If you want to eat- you work.
Moving your adult children home often means they aren’t ever going to leave. Why would they? Free room and board, laundry service, fresh cooked hot meals and zero responsibility.
All of these “chances” have been exhausted with my niece. We are done. It’s the shelter or transitional housing, jail or a Psych Ward. But, whatever we do isn’t good enough.
Begging Stephaney to get a job invites an argument. My sister and I have been called “the worst mothers in the world” by my niece.
The truth is that our mother and Stephaney are actually the worst mothers in the world. We are the mothers we have never known.
Cindy started the call with Stephaney yesterday in a tone I’ve rarely heard from her but, after nearly seven hours at Cook’s and another two hours at Mesa Springs without any sleep before running Makenna to surgery, we were both mentally exhausted and horrified about Maryssa.
Makenna has cysts on her ovary. Thirteen years old and already struggling with the pain of endemetriosis and cysts, Makenna has been sick with pain for months but, as usual, the bad behavior of her sister and her mother turned our attention on Stephaney and Maryssa which prevented Makenna from telling us she was in pain. By the time she did, I drove Makenna straight to the hospital.
At Harris Southwest, Makenna told me “I didn’t want to tell you I was in pain because you and Meme have been so busy trying to fix grandpa, my mom and my sister that I was afraid to tell you something was wrong with me and cause you more stress.” I started crying.
My entire life has been spent dealing with chaos. Makenna who is a stellar student and has never talked back or challenged Cindy or I, the perfect kid, was worried to tell us that she was in pain. My sadness was profound.
While at Harris Hospital with Makenna, Maryssa was messaging someone on Instagram unbeknownst to my twin sister. Cindy was texting me for updates about Makenna’s condition while Maryssa was planning to sneak out. We had no idea.
People tell me all of the time “how do you and Cindy handle family, business and all of these issues? I would have a nervous breakdown.” Well, friends, when you are overwhelmed, you miss things. You don’t notice that Makenna is staying in bed instead of playing or that Maryssa is always on her phone. We did.
Cindy and I had no idea that while taking calls and listening to complaints from dad or Stephaney from a Mental Institute or juggling clients, buying and bringing cigarettes and clothing for dad or Stephaney or driving to daily Psych Ward visits to dad at Wellbridge or Stephaney at Trinity Pavillion the twins were needing our attention far more than their mother or our father! Realizing this would be a “literal game changer” for Cindy and I.
Ironically, calling Cindy at midnight to tell her Makenna had a cyst and kidney infection, my sister went to tell Maryssa what was wrong with Makenna, my sister realized that Maryssa wasn’t home.
Horrified, Cindy sent a text to Maryssa that read “I don’t know where you are and I’m calling the police!” Maryssa wasn’t concerned about Makenna. Maryssa wasn’t even in Cindy’s home. You have no idea how disturbing not knowing where Maryssa was upset Cindy. I had Makenna in pain with me in Fort Worth and Cindy was trying to locate Maryssa sneaking off with a stranger who found her on Instagram in Weatherford.
Had Makenna not been at my home and in pain, is have been in bed by 10PM and no one at Cindy’s house would’ve been waiting up for news on Makenna much less noticing that Maryssa wasn’t even home!
We have no idea what to expect next from Stephaney, Maryssa or our dad. It’s terrifying to admit but, true. Between the three of them, we could literally write a book about the different Psych Wards and craziness we have seen in visitation rooms.
Nothing I can say would adequately describe visiting a friend or relative in a Mental Institute. Nothing. Two family members in a Psych Ward at the same time for the last two months? Come on! Jesus take the wheel.
Cindy was calm answering Stephaney who had kept calling while we were doing intake with Maryssa to unanswered calls. You can’t take a phone into a psych unit.
Cindy told Stephaney “Listen to me and listen good. I’ve been raising YOUR kids for nearly fourteen years. Without Wendy’s help, I could never have afforded to feed and clothe them. I’m sick and tired of Psych Wards, Jails and excuses from you. You’re an adult so I can’t force you into long term treatment but, I’m going to tell you that Maryssa beat up Makenna over a phone last night and Maryssa is now in Mesa Springs. Your daughter is acting out because of your behavior. You are going to tell that social worker at Trinity Pavillion that you want to go into long term care or I never want to speak to you again. I gave up my job and my income to raise your children. I gave up my life and tied myself down raising your children. My sister and I have put you into treatment over and over again. In three months, we’ve visited you in a Psych Ward, our father in a Psych Ward and my granddaughter in a Psych Ward and we are sick and tired of Psych Wards and problems. If Maryssa doesn’t stop acting out and acting like you at thirteen, we are going to seek long term care for her too. I’m serious about this. Go to a shelter, get long term care and get your shit together because we can’t take it anymore!”
Ten minutes later while buying clothes for Maryssa, the social worker called Cindy to tell her the DA would be calling us to appear in a hearing Monday to request long term care.
Stephaney had finally requested long term care and rehab! We are apprehensive about this but, have no choice. We can no longer deal with Stephaney’s problems while trying to raise her children. We either have to walk away from Stephaney and leave her homeless or, she has to want help and more importantly, ask for it!
Today though, Stephaney called Cindy to tell her that being in the Psych Ward is making her suicidal. Backtracking from the long term commitment, Stephaney “wants to go back and pack up her things at the abandoned house before going into treatment.” This lame ass excuse is to run off and go find meth and drag us through Hell again. We aren’t stupid. We’ve been on this Merry Go Round a hundred times.
Cindy told Stephaney “if you don’t get help. I’m serious that you can go to Hell. We are finished with you.” She meant it. We will no longer buy her food or take her calls if she doesn’t follow through.
I’m so sick and tired of dealing with my niece running wild that if I see her coming down by alley, I’m calling the police myself. At thirty one years old, dealing with my niece has become to much of a cross to bear for both me and my twin sister.
Psych Wards keep our relatives for 10-14 days then release them. For Stephaney, these short stints make her crazier upon release. It’s a bandaid that never heals the wound.
At thirty one, its high time Stephaney face her own demons and get help. In order for her to do this, she has to want help.
Cindy and I are the only two people left that cared about Stephaney which left her no choice other than to seek long term treatment or lose us. Trying to back out of long term treatment isn’t going to get her any sympathy from us.
Stephaney is a creative manipulative sociopath. Most drug addicts are. If Stephaney doesn’t go into long term treatment, we will join everyone else in our families and walk away.
Maryssa’s behavior last night is still so disturbing that I can’t sleep. Makenna is still crying about being attacked by the one person she considered to be her best friend. Her twin sister can’t stop crying.
All this anger and violence over phone messages and a stranger invading our already fragile families? I’d like to find that guy myself and tell him what he’s doing to a thirteen year old girl. Maryssa needs a wake up call.
Mesa Springs called to get approval for anger management meds. Cindy and I both agreed to give her anything to stop her from terrorizing us when she doesn’t get her way.
Families fall apart when Addiction brings the drama of having an addict for a relative. Whether it’s your son, your daughter, your mom, your dad, your uncle or your brother, Addiction destroys families.
Addiction also isolates the addict. They lose their friends, they lose their jobs and finally, they lose their families.
Stephaney has lost everyone except Cindy and I. Makenna won’t speak to her unless she gets help and Maryssa calls or texts to complain about us taking her phone away.
Makenna hates social media while Maryssa is addicted to it. So much in fact that her Instagram account was upgraded to Public Figure.
Two weeks ago, Cindy found that Maryssa was answering messages from a stranger and took her phone. Maryssa started screaming and acting crazy when Cindy took her phone away.
This type of behavior has never happened before but, Maryssa was pushing boundaries. We didn’t realize it then but, we do now.
Makenna trying to protect her twin, was keeping an eye on Maryssa trying to use everyone else’s phone. The fact that Maryssa searched for and found an old phone gives you a better idea of how determined she was to get in touch with this boy who claimed he would hurt himself if she couldn’t talk to him.
Maryssa is now in a place where there are no cell phones. Maryssa is facing a fork in the road. Making good decisions or, bad ones.
As her elders, it’s Cindy and I who must protect Maryssa from the internet and catfishing from people who pretend to be something they aren’t.
Thirteen year olds have no business messaging a stranger. Phones have created a window to weirdos who prey on young girls and know just what to say.
Be aware of this people. It’s real and it’s happening today right now somewhere near you. Strangers are telling your kids to sneak out of your home and meet them at a park.
My sister and I have always been overprotective and overbearing but, Stephaney was sneaking out at thirteen. Cindy and I are often in bed at 10 and up at 5.
At thirteen, Stephaney stole Cindy’s suburban and a number of credit cards from not only Cindy but, also me and my grandmother.
At the time, Cindy and I wanted to press theft charges but, our grandmother warned we would ruin Stephaney’s life. Our grandmother was wrong. Lucky for our grandmother, she’s dead and hasn’t been drug through courthouses, jail visits, Psych Wards and everything else that Stephaney has done. Her advice to protect Stephaney from repurcussions created a literal monster.
Looking back, we should have pressed charges and forced Stephaney to be accountable for her actions. Perhaps if we had, Stephaney would’ve chose a different path in life.
Letting kids get away with wrongdoing creates the idea that it’s okay. It isn’t. Holding children accountable for their actions is essential to teaching them right and wrong.
What Maryssa did to Makenna was wrong. Although children and siblings often fight or argue, hitting and/or name calling is unacceptable.
Cindy and I finally solved the Stephaney Problem ourselves by finally saying we had had enough yesterday and that it was time for her to choose to straighten up. We realized we didn’t need Dr Phil for that. We might need Dr Phil for Maryssa though.
What we needed was to stop worrying about Stephaney killing her self with bad choices. What we needed was to stop enabling her to hurt us over and over and push our boundaries.
Going to find her and worrying that she was dead in a ditch is any parents worse nightmare but, going to dangerous places to save someone who didn’t want to be saved was a mistake on our part.
Cindy and I should have made Stephaney change diapers and help us with the children but, we were saving the children and while saving them, removing responsibilities from Stephaney. She was fifteen years old when pregnant with twins.
We overcompensated Stephaney’s inability to take care of two new babies. Stephaney had the freedom to run off with friends while Cindy lost sleep caring for twin babies with health issues and spending hundreds of dollars a week on food and clothing, medicine and doctor appointments.
One of Stephaney’s so called friends suggested meth to lose the weight she had gained during her pregnancy.
Within months, Stephaney would face a seventeen year battle with meth. We would pay the outrageous phone billls from the jails. We would send money on her books while caring for her children and begging her to get a job. We would pray that when she was screaming at us and calling us names, she would get arrested again and, we would cry tears to fill rivers.
We were victims of Stephaney and her demons who “put on a happy face” for our clients, families and friends. Our fear of anyone knowing what was really going on was that they would blame us for Stephaney’s wild behavior. We chose to pretend everything was okay. My blogs are now blatantly honest because we are sick of the charade.
Seven years ago, I created Texas Twins Events to give my sister an opportunity to work with me. We brought the twins on location because we could.
The twins were in all of our events as flower girls, ring bearers and ushers. We fiejddd crazy phone calls when Stephaney was on drugs or sane from jail.
We never told anyone what was going on unless they knew. We were ashamed of what my beautiful niece had chose for her life and, we put on that happy face for the twins. We pretended to be normal in an abnormal world and somehow, we survived.
We rebranded and expanded Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to create The Pawning Planners and later expanded Texas Twins Events to include Texas Prison Weddings.
My businesses give Cindy and I am opportunity to share joyous events while making money. We finally have time to spend together after a lifetime of either one of us working while the other raised children.
All of our clients welcomed our children and grandchildren to their events and without ever knowing it, gave us an opportunity to enjoy working together and spending the time with our family while helping others. Yes, it’s a crazy story of reality. Having fun and leaving the worries of our crazy family behind, we finally had an opportunity to “leave our worries behind” and work on location. It was the best decision that I’ve ever made.
My sister finally had fun and smiled with me at hundreds of events. We found the joy that Stephaney’s behavior had robbed from us. We turned off our cell phones and walked into Parties and celebrations instead. Our clients became our friends.
Honesty about what the back story actually was surprises people. I got Cindy and the twins out of the house and on the road. We coped and we cried and we succeeded at a business plan based solely on helping anyone have a Dream Event.
My hope was that Stephaney would work with us as a bilingual translator but, her unpredictable behavior prevented that.
Last September for the first time in her life, Stephaney was driving the twins to school. It was a huge step. She was finally helping my sister and I.
Working a stable job and living back home, Stephaney was clean and sober because she was on probation with mandatory drug testing.
For the first time in years, we were proud of Stephaney and hopeful that she would help with the twins.
Late September, the drug testing and hair follicles were stopped. The next day, Stephaney was back on meth.
Within weeks, we realized her behavior was similar to those dark days three and a half years earlier. Cindy popped a drug test and at 10PM, kicked Stephaney out of her home.
My niece was once again, homeless. She moved in with her girlfriend and within weeks, lost her job. Stephaney went through a string of jobs and odd behavior along with a DUI and other arrests. Due to an unusual last name, everyone in a small Texas town, knew that the twins mom was off the rails.
We pulled Makenna out of school last December to home school her because her anxiety over her moms erratic and often embarrassing behavior was too much.
Maryssa changed schools after playing the Choking Game. Maryssa also went to Sundance for suicidal ideation. All of this because their mom for once in their lives was finally acting like a mom before throwing her life away and smoking meth.
I don’t understand addicts. I cannot understand the choices they make. I never will. My mom was a heroin addict who chose drugs over her children. My sister and I hate drugs.
Many of you have reached out to me sharing similar stories and admitting that you hid your pain and sorrow of having a drug addict in your family from friends and coworkers.
It’s a stigma to have someone in your family homeless and jobless because they are an addict. Why anyone would throw their life away to get high I cannot ever understand.
Cindy and I raised our children with the stability and love we had never known. We gave our children every advantage we had never had but, love isn’t enough.
Cindy and I had no one to ask for help and left home at fifteen taking waitress jobs after leaving Womens Haven to support ourselves. We didn’t have anyone to bring us food or give us gas money. We only had each other.
Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who has helped my sister and the twins more than anyone will ever know. Matthew has the kindest heart of anyone I’ve ever met.
My husband and I sold our home and he gave me the money to start Texas Twins Events. He happily waves at our caravan heading off to Events. He hugs me when I cry that I couldn’t fix Stephaney. He invited Cindy and the twins to spend the night with us to get away from the drama and he’s the glue that holds us together.
Cindy’s husband is on the road six days a week and the second kindest soul. Together, we’ve sacrificed to give the twins a good life. A stable environment and love. We have tried to protect them from Stephaney and more drama but, if Stephaney was stable, we encouraged her to spend time with us and the twins. We’ve all done the best we can but, it’s Stephaney’s turn to put in the effort.
If by being the parents we never had, we somehow allowed Stephaney to continue making bad choices and saving her over didn’t consistently hurt and disappoint us over and over again, visits to the Psych Ward only added to our despair.
Cindy and I are so accustomed to Psych Ward Clothing shopping that I keep scissors in my glove box to cut off strings and laces on clothing we drop off. It’s sad to admit this but, it’s true. I’m sick of visiting people at Psych Wards.
When Stephaney was first committed, we went to visit everyday to try and give her positive reinforcement. The second time? Every other day. The third time? Once a week. The fourth time? Once. The fifth time? None. We are sick of being everybody’s cheerleading squad and telling them it will be okay.
We are exhausted from buying more cigarettes and clothes because Stephaney doesn’t know where the other five or six sets of Psych Ward clothing went.
Today, Cindy said everything she’s wanted to say for years. Her sorrow and grief over trying to save Stephaney is too much for any mother to bear.
We must now focus on the twins and Maryssa’s anger issues. She isn’t angry at us but, she focuses her anger at Stephaney on us. A stranger saying to right thing at a time in a young girls life where her family is torn and taking advantage of her naivety? Not on our watch.
Maryssa doesn’t need a phone. She needs counseling and she needs to apologize to her sister.
Makenna is recovering from the trauma of last night and hopefully, Maryssa has time to think about sacrificing her sister to get to that phone.
I’m overcome with sorrow that things had to get so desperate for us that we were willing to walk away from Stephaney like everyone else has.
My hope is that one day Stephaney can step up and finally be the mother the twins have never known.
I’m off to Court Monday and at Prisons for weddings next week. We have a family meeting at Mesa Springs Friday. I’m hoping it isn’t the usual “it’s everyone’s fault except the person responsible” again at a Psych Ward but, we shall see.
Past family meetings with Stephaney in rehab or a Psych Ward have been a fiasco of Stephaney blaming everyone else for her choices so, if I sound cynical, there’s good reason for it. My sister and Stephaney’s sister have been at far too many family group sessions over the years where “sharing” our pain and suffering was never the focal point. The “blame game” of the person who actually has a problem is the focal point. “We aren’t here about what Stephaney has done to hurt you. We are here to help Stephaney heal and focus on the future.” Really? Then why the Hell drag the victims into these Family Group Sessions?
Looking forward to meeting my Beto Bride and giving her the wedding she should’ve had to begin with and finally meeting my Hodge Bride.
UPDATE: Sunday morning we went to visit Maryssa at Mesa Springs. Not surprisingly, everyone loves her and she has no remorse for her actions. Her physicians put her on Epilepsy medication which we are uncertain about since she isn’t Epileptic.
Leaving Mesa to head to Trinity Springs Pavillion and drop off clothes for Stephaney’s hearing, our visitation was a bust. I told my niece “Since September and your decision to get back on Meth, one of your daughters has been acting out and defiant. Your other daughter has withdrawn and rarely leaves the house anymore to such an extent that we home school her. Accept responsibility for your choices. You chose drugs over having a relationship with your children. We no longer feel sorry for you or your choices. Cindy and I will get on our knees and beg that judge if we have to in order to keep you out of the picture and focus on the twins. I’m seeking long term mental care followed by drug rehab at Cenikor where you will be forced to go to work and get your life together. You will not see the twins until you’ve proven to us that you’ve changed. You have chosen to throw your life away. You’re an adult. Our focus is on the children. If you think visiting one Psych Ward after another on our day off isn’t exhausting and distressing, it’s because you’re as usual, only considering your own needs.”
Having someone scream at you “what do you mean that problems with my daughter are my fault” was the reason that Cindy and I left Trinity Pavillion and Stephaney. You can’t just walk out of a Psych Ward visit, you have to wait for someone to let you out. We did.
Getting wanded or patted down for a Psych Ward visit is similar to getting cleared for entry to a Jail or Prison. It’s an invasive process. You are closely watched by counselor since as you listen to the patients complaints or needs. Don’t react or a counselor will come over to ask if the patient is okay? Stephaney was addressing her mother and I at our visit with her usual answrs of “##ck this” but…. the counselor wanted to make sure that Stephaney was okay?
No one bothers to ask if WE ARE OKAY at Psych Ward visits. Sitting there in stunned silence trying to act normal is harder than you think. Psych Wards are “all about the patient. Forget their family and the victims they’ve traumatized by their actions.” I find the entire scenario of other victimized family members aka “visitors” around us to be deeply saddening and disturbing. Some are being yelled at by patients who like us aren’t being asked “if THEY are okay?”
Both visits didn’t go well with Stephaney or Maryssa but, that’s why they are both in treatment. It is my hope that if forced to work and support herself, my niece realizes that she has missed most of the twins lives.
The only way we have ever kept Stephaney sober is via “institutional sobriety” while on probation. Maryssa is young enough to salvage but, Stephaney isn’t.
Sobriety for my niece, Stephaney is going to be “all on her.” Monday Morning Psychiatric Hearing with Stephaney: my twin sister, Cindy, niece, Leigh Ann and I were up at the crack of dawn to find a parking space this morning.
Checking in, we were met with the DA who told us that Stephaney could Waive the hearing. Shocked that she would do anything to to get out of Trinity Pavillion, we waited over an hour and when the DA relayed that three witnesses were on hand to testify, Stephaney’s Court Appointed attorney suggested Voluntary Commitment and Waiving the hearing.
By the time Stephaney’s attorney walked up to us to advise us the hearing was cancelled, we were beyond furious.
While he was explaining “Stephaney could be out in two days or ten.” We told Stephaney’s attorney that we were angry, disgusted and repulsed at her history and consistent ability to destroy our family.
While talking to the attorney, Stephaney called Cindy laughing and asking “what are you doing?” She knew damn well what we were doing but was shocked to hear “we are done.”
Stephaney continued to call Cindy or I. We were so furious at her cunning deceit to lie about seeking long term treatment and tricking us that we no longer care what happens to her.
No more buying food or cigarettes and no more money from us. Today was the first time in our lives that we are walking away for good.
My niece told her mother “I can’t do it on my own when I get out. I don’t have any money.” My sister told her “we no longer care what happens to you. Starve. Live in the street. Go to tent city or a shelter but, we aren’t lifting a finger until you go to long term treatment. You are dead to us until you do. Wendy and I are raising the children and dealing with the effects of your bad choices. Figure it out because you now have no one including us that give a damn about you. Your smug ass attorney can thank himself when you wind up dead somewhere. We are done. Hope you’re happy because you now have no one that cares about you left in the world. Seventeen years of your drama has aged us forty. Good luck and goodbye.”
My concern about Cindy’s blood pressure and well being led me to make a Dr Appt and have her medications checked under this latest round of high stress. Oddly, I have always had low blood pressure.
My father is still convinced that someone is living with in his attic. His girlfriend from the Psych Ward left his home and I consider that a win. I will see my father tomorrow after the hearing for Stephaney but, expect there to be no change to his beliefs. I no longer argue with him regarding these “invisible intruders.” It’s easier to go along with him. I believe though that the cause of this paranoia is based on a fall he took a few months ago in his home.
I’m planning to get dad to agree to a CT Scan and MRI regarding the fall without disclosing my belief that there’s a medical reason. I will update you on whether he agrees or not to the testing.
Angel left a comment on FB that surprised me while giving me hope. “Wendy, I wasted most of my life on Meth. I want you to know that I’ve been clean and sober for years and regardless of the statistics, if your niece, Stephaney wants to change, she can. I’m living proof of that.”
I’m sure it was hard to make a public comment about something so personal but, Angel was right.
The statistics of meth relapse are terrifying. If only my niece will make positive changes, perhaps one day she can be a part of our family again but, I’m being cautious about getting my hopes up as is Cindy.
I’m thankful for our wonderful clients who became lifelong friends and the honesty of those who took the time to share their story and their pain letting us know we weren’t alone trying to save Stephaney. You are all in my prayers. I realize it was painful for you to reach out and share your story and, your pain.
From Denmark to Chicago, your stories of successfully getting your family member clean gives us more hope than you realize. For years, it’s been a helpless situation with Stephaney.
Hardships can and will either destroy you or define you…