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Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Second Baby Girl

As I watched my first daughter grow into such a beautiful, sweet child, it weighed heavy on my mind to decide whether or not to have another child for her to share her life with. She was extremely close to me, but as she grew older, she showed a little more interest in her father, who was happier to spend time with her when she was out of diapers and potty trained. He never changed her diapers, so rarely would take her places or do things with her unless I was nearby. Her father loved archery and for Christmas one year, I purchased her a little red bow out of the Sears catalog. With the purchase of her bow, a bond began between her and her father and she loved more than anything to see him smile at her hitting the target. We had started going to 3D shoots and enjoyed the time we shared, walking through the woods and watching everyone in awe of a little girl with a pony tail letting go of a tiny arrow and smacking a target dead on from a few feet away. She was the youngest to ever compete in the IBO World Championship held in Flatwoods, WV approximately 13 years ago.

Archery didn't last long when Charlie started to try to change her and the simple things that she was used to. He began to turn something fun into something he wanted for her and of course, for himself, which was more competition. The fun was replaced with a release and expensive bow that she had no interest in picking up. All she wanted to do was shoot her little red bow without conditions and new equipment. That was the beginning and end of archery for her...

My second daughter was born when my first child was 4. She was a quiet baby and slept all of the time. I remember asking the doctor what was wrong with her. I would find her in various places through the house sleeping... on the floor, at the bar, under her bed... He told me to feel fortunate that she slept, as many babies did not. My second daughter was extremely close to me and seemed to cling to me constantly. She was always a very sensitive little child.

I had become as much of a buffer as I could when it came to disciplining the girls. I knew too well what Charlie was capable of doing and was always on guard and on edge, watching and waiting for every moment and movement that he would make when one of the girls did something that he was not fond of. He was extremely tough on the girls and made them eat at the bar instead of the table with us because he didn't want them getting food or prints on the oak dining room table. Shoes were and had to be left at the side entrance door and he had a sign made that was professionally engraved that read, "PLEASE REMOVE YOUR SHOES. THANK YOU." This sign was placed on the kitchen entry door and when someone did not remove their shoes, I had to hear about it after they left. No eating was ever allowed in the vehicles. He had a habit of kicking their toys out of his path and then screaming about it. If he got annoyed at the girls, he would lift them up by their arms and sling them into their bedrooms.

My oldest daughter started to have coughing spells late at night. Charlie went to bed early and got up very early to go to work. I would take the girls to the basement with a snack and water and keep them down there until bedtime so they would not wake him up. My oldest daughter woke up one night and could not stop coughing. Charlie was livid. He jumped out of bed and screamed at her and yelled that HE had to get up early and could not sleep and slammed the bedroom door. I went in with her and tried to help her stop coughing. I finally decided that I was not able to do anything for her and took her to the ER. The ER doctor immediately diagnosed her with asthma. There were many trips to the ER until I figured out what worked best for her here with her nebulizer and how to control her asthma before it got to the point that she needed an ER trip. This was simply an inconvenience to Charlie and he still would get annoyed at her for coughing and more annoyed at me for not being able to quiet her.

One evening, I walked by my second daughter's room and saw her sitting on her knees on the floor with a Barbie Corvette and scotch tape. I went into her room and knelt down beside her and asked what she was doing. She told me that daddy kicked the car and broke it and she was trying to fix it. At that point, my heart exploded into tiny pieces and the realization came to me that Charlie had not only hurt me, but was hurting my children.

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