The Missing Marriage License And More Adventures Of The Texas Twins…

This week kicked off with a bang for me when a phone call regarding my annual mammogram came back “irregular.” 

Devastated to hear this news, I wasn’t willing to wait two weeks for an appointment at Solis in Fort Worth. 

Pulling over to my bank without realizing that they were closed in observance of Veterans Day, I spent a few minutes crying and feeling sorry for myself before taking action and began googling other Solis locations for an appointment that wasn’t two weeks out. 

How does anyone wait two weeks for a follow up appointment knowing there’s a problem without freaking out? If there weren’t other options and other locations, I would have been stuck waiting myself. 

I have numerous events on the books over the next several months and I’m “booked out.” Worrying isn’t in my schedule but, I’m a worrier by nature. For over a year now I’ve been worried about my dad or my niece. My dad finally met someone and is happy in Waco. My niece, Stephaney is another story. 

Fourteen months of one disappointment after the next with Stephaney have broken my sisters heart along with my own. We pray she will straighten up but, we have had our prayers answered yet. 

My clients are a priority over my health but, regardless of treatment options, I wasn’t willing to wait two weeks to get bad news from Solis.

I’m impatient. I’m a planner. If I was sick, I wanted to know immediately and come up with a treatment plan. I’d love to create an effective plan for Stephaney but, it’s out of my hands. She’s an adult. Stephaney also called complaining that I wasn’t visiting enough which while upset about my abnormal or irregular tests results left me somewhat snappy. It’s always “all about Stephaney.” 

Scheduling an appointment in Weatherford within 48 hours gave me a little peace of mind by knowing if there was an issue, I could address it quickly. Dr Herd would get me into Baylor in a matter of days if necessary (as usual). 

For a few months, I have been talking back and forth to two of my Grooms. It’s unusual to book a Groom for a Texas Prison Wedding but, it happens. It’s happening far more frequently lately. 

My husband worries about me meeting strangers but he shouldn’t because I’m rarely if ever alone and the people I’m meeting are people who have hired me. I know their names and their addresses. Because of this, they aren’t “strangers.” 

My Linda Woodman State Jail Client is meeting me with his newly released Bride next month in Fort Worth to finally marry. 

We had tried for months AFTER getting a date to marry in July to get a new date but, never could due to the fiancé being CLM to another prisoner. 

These TDCJ CLM Affidavits complicate matters and in the Linda Woodman case, prevented permission to marry. 

I promised Lloyd that patience would pay off and, it has. I’m really looking forward to meeting him in person after all of these months. 

It’s a true “Love After Lock Up” story for Lloyd who lives in North Carolina and is traveling to Fort Worth to meet my team for the wedding in Fort Worth. 

My Gatesville Groom, Michael was planning to meet my niece and our photographer, Leigh Ann Blais and I two hours early for his wedding Thursday so we could finish the groom photo shoot before heading to the Unit. 

My week was “mapped out.” But, plans change which is why I always have a backup. Although I didn’t feel we needed a backup for Michael since we were meeting hours ahead of the assigned time at Crane Unit, my assumption was incorrect. 

Wednesday morning with my SUV packed for Crane Unit on Thursday, I headed Willow Lake Event Center for a client meeting and added ankther new client for December before heading to Solis. 

The past twenty years of my life have been spent fearing the “C” word. I’ve had numerous precancerous surgeries to prevent the “C” word. 

At twenty seven, my precancerous uterus was removed. I had gone to a regular Pap smear appointment without a care in the world only to hear my Dr say “do you have plans tomorrow?” I was shocked. 

It was a weird question. It was also the first time in my life that anyone would tell me I needed emergency surgery immediately. 

Dumbfounded, I wandered around the parking garage trying to remember where I had parked my car. Cindy would take care of my son, I would need to call work. How long would I be in the hospital? What was the recovery time? Why didn’t I ask more questions? I would never have another child. NEVER. My son would be raised without a sibling. It was an overwhelming day of emotions. 

Dr Herd has operated on me over and over again due to complications of endemetriosis. I trust him. Even when I lived in California, I flew to Texas for my yearly check ups. 

Unlike my twin, my own health issues have always put a literal “kink” in my schedule. I don’t have time to be sick. If I am, I want immediate surgery and treatment. Dr Herd and all my physicians know this. Don’t candy coat anything with me. Get to the point and address the problem with solutions. I can’t stand wish washy behavior which is probably why I’ve never changed doctors even when living in another state. What will I do when they retire? I have no idea. 

My twin goes to my OB/GYN, my dentist, my chiropractor and even my PCP. We hate change but one day, we will be forced into it regardless. 

Most of my life has been spent getting sucker punched over a new health problem. Twelve surgeries and twenty years later, the last thing I need is to get sick with the “C” word. I’ve been fighting it most of my life. 

I’ve even been tested for CA-125 and I’m negative. There isn’t a history of cancer in our family. Everyone in my family dies of a heart attack of stroke. It’s sobering but, a statistical fact. 

I just had a full hysterectomy surgery a few months ago. A few years ago, another endemetriosis surgery was followed three months later by a lumpectomy in left breast. These “health surprises” always scare me but, I’m a fighter. 

Age brings wisdom. Looking back, if I had undergone a full hysterectomy at twenty seven rather than the partial, I feel it would have alleviated years of subsequent surgeries but, I’m not a doctor. 

Cindy’s been spared the endemetriosis surgeries and partial hysterectomys and even lumpectomy and full thyroidectomy while my health continues to be one frightening fiasco after the next in a area hospital. 

Often, Cindy takes photos of me and posts “updates” or blackmail photos on FB. I call them blackmail photos because in my family if you look horrible, it’s a blackmail pic. Our FB friends already know that Cindy is never without her iPhone and updates. 

This “one healthy twin one not healthy twin” scenario isn’t unusual for identical twins as I’ve asked many of our friends about their health to better understand why it’s only me. 

Thank God both Cindy and I aren’t burdened with surgery expenses in the tens of thousands of dollars. Even with excellent health insurance, fifteen to twenty percent plus a deductible can be a hefty and unexpected expense. 

Health insurance is a must have for me and while I mentally estimated what breast cancer would cost to treat, I continued to remain somewhat optimistic regarding the secondary screening. My husband and I have squirreled away plenty of money to pay cash for a custom home but, would our retirement nest egg evaporate over medical expenses? We warily prepared just in case. 

The call from Solis came the day before our birthday which pretty much ruined my celebratory mood. I’m a worrier by nature. Numb again with more fear, I tried to act normal for our birthday with the nagging 50/50 option factoring my mood. Cindy understood. She’s been through this before with me. I get upset. She stays calm. We work through it. The recovery is the hardest part. I like to be on the go. 

Tuesday morning on our birthday,  Cindy and I drove to Grapevine to meet a Pawning Planners Client before heading to Dallas to deliver a Texas Twins Treasures chair to a client. 

By noon, we had finished business obligations and decided to go see a movie. Bohemian Rhapsody was entertaining and I felt, informative. Cindy and I enjoyed the show and headed off to do our holiday shopping. 

We had actually enjoyed most our birthday this year which is pretty rare for us. Why? Cindy’s daughter, Stephaney. 

Every year, my niece, Stephaney manages to ruin our birthday then Thanksgiving then Christmas. The holidays are Hell when you have an addict in your family. 

Stephaney started calling while we were walking into the movie. Everything with Stephaney is an emergency. “I need it now! When are you coming? What are you doing?” 

Stephaney had forgotten our birthday as she has every year the past seventeen years of her erratic and self destructive behavior. 

I told her we were busy and would bring a bus pass later. Cindy and I had decided that rather than being at Stephaney’s beck and call because she lost her car again, we would buy her a bus pass. 

I had also turned off our phones during the movie because they never stop ringing. 

From clients to our chaotic family and especially Stephaney, finding a moment to relax is incredibly difficult for my twin and I.

My son called as we were headed to the bus terminal. He wanted to meet us. I asked why? He had remembered our birthday and wanted to give us a card. 

Driving his new truck, my son is so proud of, it’s sad that he’s only four houses away from Stephaney and afraid to run into her. Stephaney has alienated everyone in her life. 

Cindy and I drove to the group home anxious as to how Stephaney would behave to drop off the bus pass to Stephaney Tuesday after bringing her yet another new phone on Monday evening. 

How long would Stephaney be able to keep up with the latest phone we had just bought? Less than 24 hours. 

Stephaney continues to find trouble at the Group Home. Most other guests are afraid or intimidated which I’m guessing is based on her behavior when Cindy and I aren’t visiting. 

Visiting the group home depresses my sister and I. Stephaney is at her lowest point and it’s all because of her own choices. 

Ringing the doorbell as Cindy waited in my SUV, I took a deep breath. Angela opened the door and as I attempted to hand her a bus pass and schedule, Stephaney pushed her way past her and grabbed it. 

I was shocked at Stephaney’s appearance. Mascara under her eyes and wild hair told me she had most likely found drugs. I’m so sick of my niece being wild eyed, angry and agitated that I can’t even describe it in words.

Stephaney had a hoarse voice and tried to shout “wait I’m going with you.” I hung my head knowing in her current condition, another argument would surely be next for me or her mother, Cindy.

Jumping into my SUV, Stephaney said she was hungry. We don’t go to restaurants anymore with Stephaney because it’s so embarrassing. Her food is wrong. The service is terrible. I could go on and on. 

Instead, I drive her to 7-11 where she grabs one of our credit cards and walks in alone and huffy. Stephaney is a mess. I know it. Cindy knows it and we both wonder how long it will be before Stephaney us kicked out of the Group Home? 

I feel sorry for the other people living there as does Cindy. We’ve had years of Stephaney knocking holes in the walls, accusing us of talking about her and the terror she brings to our lives. 

There’s a good reason Stephaney can’t live with us. Stephaney’s own behavior. 

Stephaney throws a credit card in the front seat and says “in going to ride the bus. I will do anything to keep from going back to that house!” 

It’s now 4:30PM on our birthday and Cindy notes that it’s too late to look for a waitress job. This agitates Stephaney who stomps off to the bus bench at the corner of 7-11. 

Rather than driving by and having her glare at us, I go behind Walgreens. I know in my heart that Stephaney will lose the bus pass or cell phone and somehow manage to find drugs. I can feel it. I don’t want to tell my sister this and upset her but, I wearily accept that disaster is coming. Stephaney is either going to get picked up again or in an argument with someone. 

The bus pass was for Stephaney to look for work but, by Tuesday evening at 10PM, Cindy and I quickly realized that wasn’t what Stephaney was using it for. Joy riding the city bus, Stephaney had already lost the new phone she hadn’t paid for within 24 hours of zcindy buying it.

How did we know this? A phone call to my sister from a strange Houston number gave Cindy and I the “heads up” that her daughter was just riding the bus with no plans to look for work in mind and acting insane. We felt sorry for the poor person loaning her the cell phone to call us. They were most likely shocked too.

As usual, Stephaney was screaming the Devil took her phone and bus pass and that she needed our help right now. It was 27 degrees outside and Stephaney was in Southside (the wrong side of town). I told Cindy to let her figure it out. I meant it. 

I took my anxiety medicine and tried to go to sleep wondering if Stephaney would freeze to death or get picked up? 

It’s horrible but true that Cindy and I worry constantly but worrying won’t change an addict. They don’t care what they put their families through. 

Our husbands no longer allow us to go into dangerous areas to save Stephaney at night.  Our husbands are sick of Stephaney and her phone calls. 

Stephaney and her demands. Stephaney and her arguments. Stephaney yelling and screaming in our driveways as concerned neighbors rush into their homes fearful. Stephaney is highly unpredictable and easily agitated. 

When I had handed Stephaney the weeklong bus pass, I as usual, begged her to go find work. The Group Home isn’t free. It’s $500 a month.

Stephaney NEEDS A JOB but, in her current condition, I doubt she would find one even if she was looking. 

Five hundred dollars for housing that my sister and I won’t be paying because we are fed up and our finances are tied up since we are raising Stephaney’s twin daughters the past fourteen years without child support from their mother or father. 

Deadbeat Dad and a Deadbeat Mom? Check. The expenses of raising someone else’s children are significant. Ask anyone taking on the role. 

The last thing my sister or I want or need at 10 o’clock is another phone call from Stephaney screaming that “someone stole my new phone and bus pass. I need you or aunt Wendy to come pick me up!” 

I had advised Cindy to let Stephaney figure it out Tuesday night and meant it. Cindy and I barely slept and while I reminded my sister that Stephaney had yet again managed to ruin our birthday, I reminded my sister to take her blood pressure medication. 

I worry constantly my sister will have a heart attack over Stephaney and her consistent disruptions to any peace we have in our lives. Thank God for our clients, other family members and our businesses to occupy our minds. 

I reminded my sister that if Stephaney had actually lost the phone and bus pass, she could walk and use the library computer to contact prospective employers and find a way home from Hulen Mall too. 

I also had assumed that Stephaney had bartered the phone for meth. Addicts don’t care. I hate addiction. I don’t understand it. My sister doesn’t understand it. Why would anyone throw their life away to get high? I will never understand it. How is Stephaney getting drugs when we won’t give her money? 

The truth is that Stephaney has now had nearly a week to look for work and hasn’t bothered to put in any effort. It’s far easier to have Cindy or I buy or provide everything Stephaney needs (as usual). 

At thirty one years old, we are sick and tired of saving Stephaney and actually hoping her DWI case results in court ordered rehab. 

I’m secretly hoping they pop her with a drug test Monday because I’m certain that Stephaney is on meth. Certain of it. Stephaney denies meth use. She gets angry and screams in your face and calls you stupid or crazy and a liar because my niece, 

Stephaney thinks that no one can tell. Her mother and I know when she’s on drugs and so does anyone else except Stephaney. 

Sadly, we are helpless at straightening Stephaney out and the only time she’s off the sauce is when she’s institutionally sober. 

By Wednesday morning, I was preparing to drive to Weatherford and go back to Solis. 

Taking my anxiety medication before headed out, I had decided not to cry regardless of the results. Thankfully, I hadn’t heard from Stephaney and assumed she was back at JPS after checking the jails. It’s horrible that this is the only way to locate her when we haven’t heard from her but, it’s our reality. 

Driving to Weatherford, I attempted to mask my anxiety from Cindy. Crying upsets Cindy since I’m always the strong one. Cindy and I both smile and laugh to hide our pain. Very few people know the struggles we have endured trying to Save Stephaney. 

My niece, Leigh Ann and her daughter, Madyson joined me at Solis. Thankfully, two hours later, I was told I had a cluster of cysts but, they were benign. Relieved to such an extent that I started crying anyway, I called my husband and updated him. 

In the back of my mind, I wondered why we hadn’t heard from Stephaney but, assumed that no news was good news. It was wishful thinking on my part. 

Walking out of Solis, I heard a squeal and subsequent crash. Walking into the street a horrible wreck had taken place and I had to help a teen driver from his vehicle and put him on the curb before checking the other vehicle. The other driver and his passengers were not hurt. 

The teen had been hit with the airbag and was somewhat disoriented. I gave him a bottle of water and asked him to use my phone to call his parents. Soon, other drivers and passers by joined us to try and get rescue services although Cindy and Leigh Ann had both called 911. 

By the time his mother arrived, the teen had calmed down enough to talk to his mom and thank me for getting him safely out of his vehicle and on the curb. 

For the window of time spent helping this young driver, I completely forgot about Solis and the fear of another surgery. 

After a sleepless night Tuesday worrying about Stephaney again and what would happen at Solis, I am thankful that my niece, sister and I were in the parking lot at the exact moment the accident occurred to offer our help. 

Divine intervention? I think so. That young man would’ve wandered right into traffic had we not been there. 

Leigh Ann wanted to take Fall Photos for her photography page so, we headed to Holland Lake Park. 

My grandniece, Maddy keeps us laughing and decided to throw her shoes off the bridge. This kid is a handful. I was so happy about a clean bill of health that it showed on my face. 

Thursday morning, at 7:30AM, my phone rang and as I looked at the caller, my disbelief was profound “Stephaney’s latest new phone.” I answered. 

My niece was screaming that I was supposed to pick her up? I explained that I hadn’t made plans to pick her up and was going out of town. Agitated, Stephaney hung up. 

I called Cindy to tell her Stephaney had the phone all along and was so out of it Tuesday that she didn’t even realize it. Sickened with fear and worry over what would happen next with Stephaney, we shook it off and loaded up my SUV to head to Gatesville to meet Chris three hours ahead of schedule. 

Chris was really excited about his photo shoot but he also realized getting out of his car that he had forgotten his marriage license.

I called the Unit to advise them that the Groom would be late and decided to go junk shopping with my family while we waited a few hours for me to leave Cindy and Leigh Ann behind and head to the Unit checking myself in on time. 

We found a few really great props for Leigh Ann’s Christmas Photo Shoots this month. I loved this frame.Dropping off Leigh Ann and Cindy at Walmart in Gatesville, I headed to the Unit. 

Checking in, my Groom arrived an hour later and we both walked to meet his Bride. His vows were memorized and touching. 

You could see the joy of finally marrying the love of his life. “Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.” Antoine De Saint-Exupery.

The Groom followed me back to Walmart to pick up my family before heading black to the courthouse we had met at hours earlier. 

He finally relaxed at the courthouse and really enjoyed his Groom Photo Shoot.

I can’t wait to show you the amazing photos Leigh Ann captures of our Groom at the courthouse. Leigh Ann loves photography. Here’s a few of Leigh Ann’s edited photos from Thursday (below). Leigh Ann spends hours on editing photos and thinks I’m impatient about asking “when will they be ready?” I like to ship out photos to clients within 3-5 days. My niece, Leigh Ann and I were thankful that we had enough sunlight left to get a few really good shots. 

Stephaney is always in the back of our minds but, on location, we shake it off and enjoy our clients. Cindy and I have become great actresses at hiding our frustration with Stephaney in front of clients and our family. 

Our Groom was shocked and delighted that we had packed a trunk full of props but, we are our own Photo Booth on Wheels. 

From bouteniers to bouquets and anything in between, surprising our clients with a bounty of fun at photo shoots delights them. 

I have always created my own floral designs but, we’ve added a variety of new props for the holidays. 

Using my thrift store frame, my grandniece, Maddy, jumped in to “strike a pose.” Madyson is an Instagram model and loves to pose and yell “cheese!” 

It’s not unusual for clients to know who Cindy, Leigh Ann and Madyson long before they meet them in person. 

Our clients follow us on social media and read our blogs so, they feel like they know our entire family. By the time we meet them in person, we are all like old friends together. Today, it’s off to the orthodontist to get braces for Maryssa less than two weeks after Makenna had hers removed. 

Ironically, my cousin Cynthia is taking we daughter, Rene to the same orthodontist we chose for Makenna and Maryssa. 

I had taken Makenna to Parker County Urgent Care while Cindy ran Maryssa to the orthodontist. Makenna still isn’t feeling well with vertigo. I’m guessing it’s too much caffeine. Makenna keeps googling diseases and is terrified she’s sick with something. 

The stress Stephaney has put on our family has a ripple effect even though the twins haven’t seen her. They hear her yelling at Cindy or I on our cell phones. 

My niece, Stephaney called while Cindy was across town from Makenna and I about taking her to an appointment. I didn’t have anything on my schedule for an appointment and wasn’t that why we bought a bus pass? These constant disruptions from Stephaney occur all of the time. 

I told Stephaney that I was busy as was my sister taking care of her children and had a full schedule after dentist and doctor appointments with the twins including developing photos from four weddings this week and a baptism. 

Stephaney wouldn’t take no for an answer and told me she needed medical records to prove she’s been committed 11 times this year to offset sentencing. It’s always “all about Stephaney” with Stephaney. 

While waiting on my film, I called JPS myself to “inquire” on the cost to obtain these medical records now needed at the 11th hour for an 8:30AM hearing Monday that I’m also driving Stephaney to in Parker County. The cost? $576. 

I called Cindy at the orthodontist and advised her of Stephaney’s idea for us to pay for her medical records. My sister was instantly lit. 

Over the past year, my sister and I have spent thousands on Stephaney. We are officially done. 

Isn’t raising her twin daughters the past fourteen years enough responsibility? Not for Stephaney. She thinks nothing of what Cindy and I sacrifice to provide for the twins. In fact, Stephaney is often jealous of her own daughters. 

Stephaney demanded that I pick her up and take her to JPS. To prevent Cindy from driving round trip to Fort Worth, I volunteered. No, I wasn’t happy about it but, I will do anything to prevent Cindy from getting stuck with Stephaney. 

Cindy decided to follow me as we caravanned our suvs to meet Stephaney dropping mine at home, we called to see where she was. 

Apparently, Stephaney had been riding buses all day but the urgent need for getting her medical records on the last business day before her hearing hadn’t occurred to her. 

We finally found her at 7th street near Starbucks. I had bought 2 packs of what I believed were “her brand” of cigarettes. Buckle up, this wrong brand of cigarettes is always an issue. Apparently, I bought the wrong brand. This started an argument. 

I offered to buy whatever Stephaney wanted at Starbucks but, the wrong brand of cigarettes had her sulking that “she didn’t want anything. She wanted her brand of cigarettes!” Sulking over cigarettes? Now you are catching on. 

We can make our clients happy but, no one can make Stephaney happy. Whatever you do, it’s never right or good enough. Don’t hold your breath waiting on a thank you either because it’s never going to come. 

I’m so sick and tired of Cindy and I never doing enough for Stephaney who always expects too much. 

My niece has NO JOB. She’s living in a Group Home and she’s also lost everything in a year of making her bad choices. Cindy and I were both lit about her being picky regarding cigarettes that she certainly wasn’t paying for. 

Stephaney insisted that Cindy and I to drive her to JPS so, we did. Angry about the wrong cigarettes, my niece barely spoke to either her mother of myself. This being angry about something she didn’t pay for agitated Cindy and I to no end making the twenty minute drive miserable. 

If I had been driving, I probably would’ve stopped at a convenience store and given Stephaney the money to buy her brand to end the drama. 

I can guarantee you that other jobless folks “don’t smoke their brand.” Why? Because they can’t afford $7.25 and up a pack that’s why. 

Arriving at JPS, Stephaney told Cindy to “wait because she wanted to return the cigarettes for her brand.” My sister who really is on the edge after a year of Stephaney refusing to work and support herself said “No. You should be thanking us for bringing you cigarettes whether they are YOUR BRAND OR NOT and as usual, you aren’t. It’s not our job to support your bad habits. I’m not waiting here either. The bus is over there. We bought you a bus pass and you have us drive way over here when you could have taken the bus here yourself all week long while we have been working. It’s Friday and Wendy and I have been busy taking care of your kids. I’m not spending what’s left of the day taking care of you. Grow up. Get a job. Buy your own cigarettes. You are in this shape because you chose to do drugs. I had ONE RULE at MY HOUSE and that rule was to stay off drugs. You chose to break the rule and ruin your life. You are in a Group Home because you are otherwise homeless. For fourteen years, I’ve hoped you would find a man and get married or make a life for yourself but, you didn’t. You lived rent free in MY HOME. You broke my rules and ran wild for over a year now and I’m finished trying to clean up your messes. You are never coming home. It’s my home. It’s a home where all three of my grandchildren live. I will not have you screaming at me in my own home and bringing your friends over to steal from me ever again in this lifetime. I have paid my dues. I raised you, I’ve been raising  your children for fourteen years. I’m choosing to make a choice and the choice is raising your children. Wendy and I chose to take on the responsibility of the twins. We are choosing to cut you loose. Find a man. Find a job. Get your life together before you wind up in prison or tent city. Either way- don’t expect Wendy or I to continue bleeding money on you.” 

My sister actually drove off which was shocking but, Cindy and I have been through Hell with Stephaney this year. 

Financially, the cost of trying to save Stephaney while raising her twins without child support is nearly $10k on Stephaney alone but, don’t try to reason with an unreasonable person. You will never win. Stephaney wants an apartment. 

Cindy rented Stephaney an apartment four years ago and while also paying all of the bills, Cindy and I both split the expenses for food and cigarettes on Stephaney. We also begged Stephaney to get a job. 

Stephaney claimed not having a car prevented her from working. I bought her a bike. This started a colossal fight. 

Stephaney also moved a homeless guy in without telling us that we were now supporting her AND the deadbeat. 

How did we NOT know about the roommate? We weren’t allowed inside. Stephaney is a LOT of work. Stephaney doesn’t like being alone and Stephaney thought nothing of moving someone into the apartment her mother was paying for. 

Cindy also spent $2k furnishing “Stephaney’s apartment.” Stephaney and the derelict she had moved in hitchhiked to Oklahoma and attempted to steal an 18 wheeler. The apartment was lost and listed as debt on Stephaney’s credit because Cindy was smart enough not to co sign the lease. 

For years, Cindy and I have sacrificed over and over again for Stephaney. Other family members “suggest” moving Stephaney back home. They haven’t seen her lately. They also haven’t been yellled at or thrown good money after bad trying to rehabilitate Stephaney. Cindy and I have. 

My husband has good advice to these “know it all” relatives. What is it? “If you are so worried about Stephaney, go pick her up Monday so my wife and sister in law aren’t dealing with the mess she got herself into. Move her into YOUR HOUSE. You try fixing her because we are out of options. Please don’t call my wife and tell her what you think she should do while sitting in the comfort of your home. My wife can’t control her niece. My wife can’t control her father. Her sister can’t either. What we can control is raising Stephaney’s daughters and providing them with the stability that their mother or father could never could have given them.” 

He’s a smart guy. He listens when others call me to ask “how is Stephaney?” They don’t bother going to visit her or taking her to lunch and much less driving her to court appearances. 

These folks just want to nose in and snoop while giving idiotic advice. I hope they never find themselves in a similar situation. 

The pain is never ending. You worry everyday about the person you can’t save. How may grandparents are raising their grandchildren? More than you realize. 

Why? Because their kids made lousy parents and bad decisions. Raising grandchildren in your 40’s, 50’s and 60’s isn’t easy or inexpensive. Love Is Sacrifice. 

Many of these grandparents also take phone calls from the deadbeat parents of the children in their custody. A few of them struggle through visits trying to act normal. 

Cindy and I have been “those grandparents.” Meeting at the McDonalds and trying not to argue with Stephaney in front of the children. Trying to calm the storm we knew would come. We’ve tried to convince her that one day the twins just won’t care anymore and sadly, that day has come. 

You are told you “stole their children” when you actually saved them and when the parent who has never HAD to be a parent wants to guilt trip you, they demand to “see their kids.” 

We are happy to let Stephaney “see her kids” when she’s stable.  The rule is she has to be sober and clean to do so and…the twins have to want to see their mother. This isn’t going to happen without intervention. 

After the last year, neither of the twins is remotely interested in visiting Stephaney at this point. Cindy or I didn’t do this but, Stephaney continued to tell us both “nothing that’s happened this year is my fault.” 

Getting an adult to accept that all of this actually is her fault? Not as easy as you might think but, the judge may be the eye opener Stephaney needs. Her mother and I have exhausted our efforts.

I spoke to Stephaney’s attorney this week and attempted to explain how difficult having a conversation with her actually is and was shocked to hear that Stephaney had told her attorney that she was dying with Stage 4 Cancer. Stephaney is manipulating. Stephaney has never had cancer. 

When she wants to be, Stephaney can either be pregnant or dying of cancer. The hysterical pregnancy claims are always unfounded. 

In Oklahoma, Stephaney claimed to be pregnant. Why? To guilt Cindy and I into paying a $200k bond. It didn’t work. We aren’t raising anymore of Stephaney’s children even if she does get pregnant. 

Claiming to have cancer? I’m the only person in our family who has survived this dreaded disease. Explaining this to her attorney, I added that Stephaney is a player. She knows the game and plays it well. How well? For seventeen years now, my niece has never been sentenced to prison. 

This “fact” isn’t lost on me every time I enter a Unit. I wonder how my niece has managed to evade prosecution? I’m not alone. 

My sister wonders the same thing. At least when Stephaney is in the Psych Ward or Jail, we know she’s safe. The Group Home has an open door. Stephaney comes and goes and who knows where it is she’s going? We don’t. We know this- it isn’t to find a job!  

In 2008, Stephaney was tazered 7 times because she was out of her mind on meth and died. Weatherford PD transported Stephaney to Campbell and called Cindy. It was Super Bowl Sunday. We will never forget it. 

Stephaney had been tearing the town up to such an extent that for several months, Cindy abandoned her own home and moved into mine with the twins. When your out of control Relative can run you out of your own home, it’s bad. 

Signing the death certificate for Stephaney, my sister was suddenly told that the doctor had “saved Stephaney.” Furious, Cindy screamed “Why? Why? She’s terrorized me for years and now you’ve brought her back to drag me through more of it. I’m trying to raise her children. I was relieved it was over and you’ve brought her back to drag me and these poor kids through more of her tornado of chaos.” 

My sister knew what the doctor didn’t. Dying wouldn’t change Stephaney. Rehab wouldn’t either. Only probation kept my niece off drugs. Or Jail. Or a Psych Ward. 

Unsupervised, Stephaney is Hell On Wheels. Without mandatory drug testing, Stephaney will throw her life away for meth. Stephaney has done so over and over for seventeen years now. It’s a horrific choice but, one she continues to make. 

Stephaney has never had to pay rent. Stephaney was completely off the rails hiding from invisible people when she was tapered in the back seats of unlocked cars. 

In 2008, Cindy and I never imagined things could get worse with Stephaney but, we were wrong. 

Ten years later, Cindy knew that we would never be able to control Stephaney and, she was right. We’ve had another ten years of Stephaney’s drama. We’ve had ten years of trying to find her here, there and everywhere. Stephaney expects Cindy and I to pay for everything because “we are her family.” 

Our sorrow over Stephaney is profound. Any parent of a drug addict can relate to the despair and disappointment of being unable to save their child. 

For those of you who will never know the reality of a relative with substance abuse tendencies, count yourself lucky. Blessed even. Thank God my other niece, Leigh Ann and my son didn’t follow Stephaney’s lead. 

Stephaney, if she been born first would have been the only child for Cindy or I both. Why? She was always difficult. Always. 

Next week is another whirlwind of clients, venues, family time and more adventure for my Texas Twins Team. We are back at Bell Tower, Botanic Gardens and working three elopements on the courthouse steps. 

I worry about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why? Stephaney’s no longer allowed in our home. My husband has had too many years of Stephaney either drinking every alcoholic beverage in the house and starting an argument or just starting an argument sober. 

I have NEVER HAD a drama free family get together in my own home. Why? Stephaney. 

While Cindy and I feel guilty about not being able to have Stephaney in our homes for the holidays, our husbands, other children and the twins don’t. 

Stephaney is wildly unpredictable. From rage to paranoia, we never know what to expect from Stephaney. 

Last year, Stephaney brought a hammer to my home to “keep the people chasing me from hurting you.” 

My horrified husband watched me try to calm her and offer food while wondering if my niece was going to crush my skull. 

Only someone who has dealt with a meth addict would understand how crazy a person can act while YOU ARE TRYING TO ACT NORMAL. 

Drug Psychosis is REAL. I’ve seen it. I am terrified of Stephaney when she’s “out of it.” 

The police think Stephaney is crazy but, once in the Psych Ward for three days, Stephaney stabilizes. Why? No access to drugs that’s why. 

Upon release, Stephaney finds meth again and it all starts over. It’s a horrifying Merry Go Round of waiting for her to kill herself, wind up in a Psych Ward, go to jail or disappear for days on end again. 

Cindy and I no longer give Stephaney money for ANYTHING because we know she will buy drugs. We buy what she needs but cannot trust her with money. Sadly, if she ever gets a job, she will have money and if she isn’t on probation, she will find more meth. 

With a short week due to Thanksgiving, I’m also working Thursday with Cindy for a Carswell AFB couple who are only in Fort Worth one day. We will as usual, work it out. 

I’m hoping we have time for the movies this year but, if not at Thanksgiving maybe at Christmas. 

I’m thankful my results were benign and consider being healthy the greatest birthday gift I could ask for…I have prayed for years that Stephaney would straighten up and be a part of our family but, I’ve learned that Stephaney will need to put the effort in to cleaning her act up.