The guy that swept in and built my mom back up after her and my dad got divorced was a serious con artist. Oh, he could talk the talk-he could tell you anything you wanted to hear-but, when it came to walking the walk, he fell way short every time.
Con artists are really good at knowing what to look for. He could see that mom’s self-esteem needed rebuilding. He could see that I was looking for a male role model to show me some attention. He could see that Jamie needed somebody to talk to about “bro stuff” and girls.
It didn’t help that he and mom dated back in high school so there was some type of comfort level there. I imagine after being married for seventeen-ish years, jumping back onto the dating scene can be a bit scary. Shoot, just the dating scene in general is overwhelming at times-even for me, much less a fresh victim of adultery divorcee. (If that is even a real description.)
Don’t get me wrong, he stepped in and really rebuilt my mom’s confidence, her self-esteem, her self-worth, a bunch of things she needed. And I am grateful to him for that. He stepped into our lives when we needed him the most. He spent time with all of us without playing favorites. He seemed to be this extremely family oriented man who most girls would dream of. He did fun things with me and showed me the attention I was so desperately trying to get from my own dad. He had me so convinced he was this man that I spent most of my life wanting in my own father that I was considering him adopting me. (Not that my dad would’ve ever gone for that, and thank God too, because that would’ve been an even bigger mess).
But the best thing he ever taught my mom was that she didn’t need a man to be okay! She didn’t need somebody else to hold our family together. She was okay alone.
He was a real piece once he moved in and didn’t have to keep up the illusion of whatever guy he was pretending to be. The dude was a habitual liar. You never knew if what he was telling you was the truth or another one of his made up stories just because he could type thing. He couldn’t keep a job, he talked about inappropriate things in front of Jamie and me and he practically lived off of my mom.
He just had a whole mess of his own problems that he was running from that sometimes he couldn’t keep up his stories with the reality of what was really going on.
To be fair to my mom, a short while after they reconnected from high school, the dude went to prison. So, you really can be anybody you want to be on paper or over the phone without having to worry about keeping up the appearance. Mom fell in love with who he was saying he was. If he had pulled all of this in person, mom would’ve seen right through him a lot sooner than she did.
I don’t really remember when things started falling apart with him. I just remember one story that personally impacted me the most. It was new years eve and mom had a bunch of people over. I had some friends over, too. I think she left to run my grandparents home and was coming back to pick him up to take him home, can’t really remember exactly, when he kissed me. Like made out kiss me! My mom’s boyfriend! Talk about weird and confusing and disgusting. I was terrified! I didn’t want my mom to be mad at me. (Not that she would’ve been nor was she when I eventually told her). I knew he was drunk so I texted him the next day asking if he remembered things when he was drunk and he said yes. Then, I asked him if he remembered kissing me. I don’t really remember what all he said other than “please don’t tell your mom” and I just knew I had to tell her. Plus, the friends I had over that night were encouraging me to tell her too, because they just knew it wasn’t right, regardless of what he said. I’m not even sure what I really expected to get out of texting him. I would never trust him again after that. And at that point in my life, trusting men in general felt hopeless and pointless.
Dear Lord, people are always going to let us down. We’re humans and imperfect. Help me to remember that when others let me down, You never will. When others forsake me or abandon me or violate me, You never will. You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Help me to find healing and comfort in Your unchanging ways. Also, help me to remember that people are indeed imperfect and make mistakes or do things that aren’t right or justified. Help me to forgive them like You forgave me. We all fall short of Your glory, but Your mercies and grace abound everlasting. I’m extremely thankful for that! In Your name I pray, Amen!