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When my daughter was about a month old, I decided to take her to my hometown and introduce her to her godmother and other adopted family (none of which are related by blood).  I made a pit stop at THE gas station in town before heading out to her house.  I had to pick up sodas and some snack bits for the visit.  The typical set up of most gas stations is that the back wall is just coolers for the ‘cold’ drinks and that’s where I headed.  With my daughter on my hip, I maneuvered to bend down and grab the twelve pack of sodas from the cooler.  When I stood up and turned around, Jack A. was standing behind me.

My first response was that I cringed inwardly and backed up a few steps.  My daughter started crying from such immediate stress that she could feel coming from me.  Her cries brought me back to the moment and I forced myself to realize that I wasn’t a child anymore.  Our conversation went as follows.

Jack A.: Is this your daughter?

Me: Yes.

Jack A.: Your mom told me you got married.  She didn’t tell me you had a kid.

Me: And?

Jack A.: Aren’t you going to let me hold her?

Me: I gave a cynical laugh and said over my dead body.

Jack A.: This is not how I raised you.

Me: Actually it is.  You raised me to fear you and with all the things you put me through, I better not ever catch you within five hundred yards of me and my family.

Jack A.:  You’re going to regret cutting me out of your life one day and you’re going to ask me to forgive you.

Me: The only thing I am going to regret is not letting CPS take Suzie and I away from you and mom long before it ever got to the point that it did.  Now get out of my way or I’m going to scream.

He moved to the side and let me pass.  My daughter was still crying for all she was worth and more.  I usually shy away from verbal confrontations because of the child abuse I lived through.  The times that I have gotten into confrontations, I end up with flashbacks that I would rather stayed buried in the back of my memory closet.  I was shaken up and probably shouldn’t have driven but the only thought in my head was to get to safety.  I drove as fast as possible without killing myself, my daughter, or anyone else.

There was a lot more that I could have said to Jack A.  There was a lot that I probably should have said but my concern was putting my baby in harms way.  First and foremost, I will protect my children and family.