Inspirational stories from mothers parenting children with learning challenges.
Life is not easy for anyone. We all have our struggles. However, in one of my hardest and darkest times in my life and my children’s life, I learned that there is a solution to every problem. Many times our attitude and perspective on the situation is the greatest contributor leading to the solution.
It was 2006; I was married to my high school sweetheart of 15 years. I had known him for half of my life. We had three children ages 11, 9 and 5. He was a Hollywood publicist and songwriter/performer. We had recently moved from Orange County to Los Angeles to a beautiful home in the Shadow Hills area of Los Angeles. Life seemed perfect, at least on the outside.
His career was booming. Our children were attending a wonderful private Christian school. We lived in an equestrian community with a horse in the backyard—a dream of mine since moving away from my hometown in Tulsa, OK. We were traveling with well-known celebrities on a regular basis. We had wonderful friends and neighbors. I had recently sold my Orange County based practice and for the first time was as stay at home mom. Life was good or so I thought.
As a child, I grew up in a strict southern baptist home. Both my parents had grown up as farmers in rural areas of Oklahoma. As a child and teenager, two things were expected: work hard and go to church. My granddad would constantly say, “A strong back and a strong faith will get you through life.” I took this to heart. I was at church every time the doors were open and married the preacher’s son. I thought for sure I had done it all right, until the bottom fell out of my reality in March 2006.
My preacher’s son husband was fired from his Hollywood job for sexual harassment against his male assistant. He ended up walking out on the kids and me on one March morning, as the truth of his lifestyle and his choices began to unravel like an exploding bomb. Within an hour of leaving, he drained all the bank accounts. I was faced with the reality of the person I been with for over half my life was not who I thought he was at all.
I was left with not a penny to my name, a $7000 a month mortgage, 3 kids in private school, no job, a mountain of debt and no idea where he was or if he was ever coming back.
Unfortunately the solution to the problem was not a run home to mommy and daddy, which I truly wished I could do. My Mom had passed away 3 years earlier of breast cancer and my dad lived with us. When I went to my dad for help, his response was, “you made your bed, and you lie in it. “
A couple of weeks later, I woke up in a Burbank bank hospital weighing under hundred pounds and 2 IVs in my arm. It was termed by my close friends as “JoQueta’s 24 hour breakdown.” All I remember was putting laundry away in my son’s room and being so overcome with sadness and fear that I couldn’t breathe. The only thing I heard in my head was get to the floor and hold on. Next thing I knew, I woke up with my dear friend and across the street neighbor Mary and my cousin, best friend, an almost sister, Kris standing over me in the Burbank emergency room. As my eyes came into focus, Kris, who has always been the voice of reason in my life, responded with, what is wrong with you? They think you are a drug addict. You are skin and bones.
This may sound harsh to some, but it was exactly what I needed to be snapped back into reality.
Our moms were sisters and again growing up on a farm, the survival mentality of “stop whining and get over it” was deep
Ingrained in our heritage. Kris was right; I wasn’t going to get anywhere feeling sorry for myself. So I took a deep breath and began looking for solutions.
God closed one door but opened so many others in mighty ways. Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw were wonderful blessings in my life as well as so many other friends at Village Christian School. I had become friends with the McGraws while living in Hollywood. They stepped in to help with the children, getting a good divorce attorney and amazing moral support. I even met my future husband at their son’s wedding.
The kids and I moved back to Orange County. I began my practice again. I remarried an amazing doctor and gained two beautiful sons in the process for a complete family of 4 boys and 1 girl, with 2 Zach’s (how many families can say that?).
There is always a solution to any problem. No Matter how big or small. Ask the right questions with a positive attitude and the answers will come.