Barely A Family

Donna Reed as Donna Stone, Paul Petersen as Je...

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Some words blow on the wind only to evaporate into nothingness. Other words live on in your heart and mind long after they are spoken. Then there are those that haunt you forever. Such was the case when my son, who was then about three, told me “Mom, we are barely a family.” Those words still resonate today.

 It had been an ordinary day, so ordinary in fact that I don’t remember much about it. I just remember walking along with my son along our street. Was it day or was it night? I don’t remember. Were we going to his school or coming back from it? I don’t remember. I just remember those words. Or were we walking at all, maybe he said in the cramped quarters of our apartment, somewhere between the commercial and the show. Ugh! Why can’t I remember? Yet the moment he said it, I remember feeling like I had been socked in the stomach. I remember the ache of his profound truth that pierced my heart. Everything in me wanted to cry and hug him and tell him that I was so sorry, he was right, we were barely a family. How could I look him in the eye and tell him my selfishness had brought this to pass. I couldn’t dump all my guilt on this little boy. He deserved better.

I did my best to suck it up. I asked him, “Why are we barely a family?” He went on to explain, “Because there are only two of us.” So I asked him how many do you need to have a family? He told me, “At least three.” There it was! The truth spoken from a child- a family is not any composition you wish to make it. I had tried to convince myself that, that was the case. I had tried to convince myself that love is all that mattered. I had tried to convince myself that he and I were a family. His words sent me catapulting back to my youth, back to my “barely a family” days.

At fifteen, I was locked away in Camarillo State Hospital for my one suicide attempt after my father died at fourteen. All semblance of family had been utterly destroyed. I was locked away with kids who also had “barely a family.” There was a boy [there is always a boy isn’t there?] and we fell in love. Locked away, torn apart by our sins and the sins of our family. I would become the wife and he would be my husband. My two best friends would become “our daughters.” If we could not have our family, we would generate our own. We would be the traditional nuclear family, if we were going to do this, we were going to do it right. I would be the understanding, compassionate Donna Reed mother. My “husband” would be the protective father. We would give to “our children” what hadn’t been given to us. We would be the parents we always wanted.

We are back to the present. I am taking Anthropology 01 here at LACC and I am told that chimpanzee males don’t really participate in the upbringing of their offspring. Maybe my son’s father is part chimpanzee. That is really all about the mother and her child. I feel for those single, chimpanzee moms-it can’t be easy. I know it isn’t for me. I wonder if their offspring ever tells them, “Mom we are barely a family.” Do those words hurt them as much as they hurt me?

The Things I Learned in 2010

This is really a continuation of my previous post. Whereas, the other post simply tells you what I accomplished in 2010, this post tells you what I learned this past year.  Therefore the titles come from my previous post.

THE YEAR OF MANY LANGUAGES:

LESSON LEARNED: Don’t doubt your own capabilities. We often can achieve  more than we think we can. So it doesn’t hurt to  try something new. I also learned there are some things I will never get no matter how hard I try-Math is one of those things.

AN HONORABLE YEAR

LESSON LEARNED:  I learned I can do the impossible, if I just get out of my own way. As a kid I wondered what it must be like  to be really smart like Laura (my sister) or Leonard (my brother). Jeff (my other brother) was smart too but he was more like me.  So we had the two geniuses-Laura and Leonard and then there was just us average Joes-Jeff and me. Little did I know that I had a Laura/Leonard in me all along.  That I could make the Dean’s List, that I could achieve and accomplish feats that always seemed out of my grasp. I often told myself I was smarter than what other people knew but for once it was nice to not have it be some state secret, to show the world that it had been there all along. Who knew? I learned that the only thing holding me back all these years was me and all I because it was easier for me to believe the lies told to me than to try to prove them wrong! Well no more!

NIGHT CLUBBING:

LESSON LEARNED: I learned that I do have leadership qualities. My friend, Carter Clews told me once: “You are going to be a leader of your people.” I thought he was just being sweet. But obviously there was something  in me that I wasn’t seeing myself. Something that he could.  Being a leader doensn’t mean bossing people around, it means being able to inspire and motivate them to do for themselves. It means uplifting your fellow man.  That’s the kind of leader I want to be anyway. Hopefully, that is the kind of leader  was in my club, if not then I will keep working on it. Progress not perfection, I keep reminding myself. I will get there one day.

SENATOR LEICHNITZ:

LESSON LEARNED:  I learned I am not a quitter (that was a shocker, let me tell you.), I always thought  I was. I learned I have more ambition than I ever thought I did. Ambition was always a dirty word to me.  I never really appreciated ambitious people. I always equated ambition with greed, being corrupt and ruthlessness. That was not me! Then I learned ambition and drive are good things and that one need not be a harbinger of evil to be ambitious. Now I can see a future where none existed before. Now I can see a fruitful and productive life where once it had been barren. Now I see what God saw all along-a beautiful but broken person who just needed a little love, a big push and a dream. Thank you God for giving me those things. Lastly, I learned that power is intoxicaiting-especially when it is power that comes from God.

FAITHFULLY YOURS:

LESSON LEARNED: Something I had leanred by joining the church was that God was not an absentee father. Though I already had knowledge of that, it really crystallized this past year. What I learned was how truly close he is to all of us. I learned while we need him, he also needs us. He needs us to serve one another, to love one another, to be each other’s rock. For he cannot achieve anything if we are unwilling to listen to him. This year I learned what  a wonderful father, Heavenly Father truly is. Our talks during the summer made me feel so much closer to him. I will always cherish that bond. It is the most valuable thing that I have.

IN THE YEAR OF THE LORD

LESSON LEARNED:  I learned Adonai grows more amazing every day. That I am lucky that God chose me to be his mother. I learned again..that there is no one more worth fighting for and no one I am more afraid of losing.  I learned that being a full time mother is the most difficult and the most rewarding thing in the world. Most of all, I learned patience is not the outward appearance of being “nice” that it is, however,  not giving up when everything inside of you is screaming so loud for you to do just that. I learned that I have a lot more patience than I ever thought I did. God bless my little man.

ON THE PERSONAL SIDE:

 LESSON LEARNED: I learned that success in other areas doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if you don’t have success in your personal life. I learned that if my situation is to change, I am going to have to have the same determination to alter it as I do the rest of my life. I have learned that love of  a child can save you, love of God can heal you, but neither replaces the love of one good man. I am intent on finding him.

WE ARE FAMILY…OR NOT!!!

LESSON LEARNED: Actually it was a lesson solidified more than learned.  I love my family dearly and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better but as a child I always wondered what it would be like to be with my biological family, you know the people who looked like me. The irony of the situation is  even if I would’ve stayed with my biological family, there still wouldn’t have been anyone who looked like me. So all that time spent wondering, all that time spent wishing was for naught! What I learned was how truly lucky I was all along. Of course, I knew that but now I truly knew that! Knowing where I came from has just made me love my real family even more! My real family is the Leichnitzes and they always will be!

Adoption Poll

I Am Your Warning: My Socialist Life

communist-flag1While people are up in arms about the impending socialism starting to take over our country and while it is some foreign abstract concept for them, it is my reality. I know all too well what happens when government runs your life. What you have to give up, what dreams you deny. My life started out normal enough. I was born to a drug addicted mother and was put up for adoption. I was given to the Leichnitzes. They were a loving family with three children of their own and yet they had enough love for me to take me in and make me their own. Like many children of my time, they divorced and when I was fourteen my father was killed by a drunk driver. And so began my long journey into freedom denied, into a life I would never escape. denaleichnitzamos

I attempted suicide because the grief of losing my dad was too much and I was immediately locked up. I would not get out until I was 21 years old. I was put into juvenile placements while my father’s murderer walked around a free man. I was doing his time! I was told when to get up, go to bed, when to eat. I was a teenage girl and should’ve been going to dances and dating but of course any contact with the opposite sex was strictly forbidden. I was watched 24 hours a day when I walked in that place with my vomit stained nightshirt from the suicide attempt (I had overdosed on my seizure medication), even when going to the bathroom or showering, I had to be watched. I was not allowed passes to see my family because my insurance wouldn’t pay for it. So on special occasions they would write a pass for me anyway and tear it up when I got back. I have been restrained, given medication to sedate me and put into a “seclusion room” which is just a rubber room. I have had six men restrain me (even at 122 pounds I was a strong and rambunctious girl) and I have been talked to death in therapy. I have had rooms with a private bath and have had to shower with a gang of girls. I have slept on hard metal beds all in a row and eaten food you wouldn’t feed to dog. I have seen the boy I love been taken away in shackles3chains and shackles like he was a wild animal. He was taken to CYA (California Youth Authority, which is prison for kids) while I stood there crying. He cried too. I have seen people drug by their hair and bruises on their arms from getting too much Thorazine. I lost my adolescence because the state knew better.

During these years I created my own family since mine was being weddings1denied to me. The boy who was taken away was my “husband” and we had two “daughters.” I loved those girls and whenever they needed someone to talk to I was there. You can’t deny the need for family because it is just too ingrained. And if we couldn’t have our Moms and Dads well we would just have to be them for ourselves. I have been a “little sister” and a “big sister” and I have had more surrogate mothers than I can shake a stick at. This is how the state “raises” its young. Be afraid, be very afraid.

medicationsAs an adult I grew up and I was finally able to get myself on SSI. I needed that because they would pay for my meds. However that meant, never making enough to be self-reliant for if I did I could lose my Medi-Cal and that meant paying for my own meds which were terribly expensive. Still I have worked. I worked for LAUSD, where I wasn’t allowed to work full time because they didn’t want to give Instructional Aides any benefits. We paid union dues to the teacher’s union but never once got any benefit for them. I worked for LAUSD for four years. I did all the work of the teacher but never got paid like one. I have worked for places like Beyond Shelter and Shelter Partnership, which helped the homeless. I have done receptionist work, data entry and have even gotten paid to write. But always I made sure to stay below the radar. I needed those meds. So what did I give up to make sure I had my meds-a husband. I fell in love with a great man when I was 21. We wanted to get married but it meant each of us losing half our benefits. We were already living hand to mouth, we couldn’t afford to live on just one check. So we had a “holy union.” We ended up breaking up four years later. Once a year I get letters from the government asking about income status and changes in family status. Each letter strikes fear in my heart. Will they deny me? I had been denied once. Maybe they will do it again? What will happen if they do? I am going back to school so I can be self-reliant. Before I didn’t have God, now I do. I know he will provide for me. He always has.

But this is your life on socialism people. It is a life that is not yours. A life where any control you have is limited. It is a life where other people call the shots and not only do you obey, you thank them for it. It is a life where decisions like who to marry and when are taken from you. It is a life of emptiness. It is a life without fathers, a life without husbands, and a life without families. It is a life of lies. Lies like “I don’t need a man.” Lies like, “Only suckers work.” It is a life so far removed from God and anything righteous that you wonder if He can even see you. Does he know how badly you want your own life back? Does He know how badly you need your dignity? This is your warning. I am fighting against socialism because I have lived it. It is not some concept I heard about in an economics class. It is not something I read about in a history book. I have lived it and I have realized I deserve better. So I am going to work towards being the best person I can be and I can’t do that in my socialistic existence. I must rise above it! I must achieve greatness because my son needs to know whatever he sets his mind to adonaiatrallyhe can achieve and I am going to be that example for him! So while many of you are fighting against welfare, taxes and for more money. I am fighting for liberty! I am fighting for my right to exist! And while I thank the American taxpayer for saving my hide on more than one occasion, I must make my own way. I am forever indebted to the generous and benevolent taxpayer but I will always despise the government that took so much from me. You have been forewarned. Now go out and fight for the liberty of all your brothers and sisters stuck in this socialistic nightmare.

A Prayer for My Brother

I don’t usually do stuff like this but I would like everyone out there who reads my blog regularly to take the time to say a prayer for my brother. He had back surgery today because his disk somehow got splintered and was piercing into his nerves. He has been in my thoughts all day and I am hoping he will be okay.

I have three siblings. My oldest sister, Laura who has always been like a mother figure to me. My brother, Leonard (he’s the one having surgery) who has always been my hero and my other brother, Jeff who has always been my buddy. Each one special and precious to me.  There was always something about Len though, something that made me go, “Boy I wish I could be like him when I grow up.”   He was smart without having to try really hard to be.  I had to struggle for every grain o f knowledge I ever attained.  He was funny and charming. All my friends were in love with him.  Of course, I thought they all had mental problems-he’s my brother, he’s not cute. LOL  And though he didn’t go around telling me he loved me all the time, I knew he did.

One time in high school he was seeing this girl. I forget her name at this point but she was from San Marino, California and San Marino is known for being racist.  Or at least that is how us Pasadena folk viewed them.  In any case, he was going out with her and then she met me.  He never saw her again. I can’t say definitely him having a Black sister was the cause of that break up and because he is a decent and honorable man he would never tell me if it had been. [Besides his wife now is ten times the woman that San Marino babe was. ]  But I always suspected which just made me love him more. I sort of envisioned him going, “Hey if you got a problem with my sister, then you are not worth the time of day! Bye!” Oh yeah, I didnt mention, all my siblings are White did I? LOL Might be helpful information.

Leonard went to Occidental College.  In fact, Obama was just graduating from Occidental as Leonard was entering. I thank God for that, could you imagine if they had gone at the same time and would’ve befriended each other there? I could’ve had Obama having dinner at my house! Perish the thought! He later went to Oxford and UCLA (my mother, sister and nephew all attended USC-so we got our own little cross town rivalry going in our family. LOL) and became a corporate lawyer. He left law some years ago to go into real estate.  He has been married for about 17 years and has two girls. One is 15 and the other is 13.  They are the spitting image of their mother-quite beautiful!

Anyway that is my brother and now that you know a little about him maybe saying that prayer for him will be a little easier.  When he was born he almost died, heart problems, the doctors didn’t think he would make it but here we are 46 years later and so far a life well spent.  Let’s pray he gets 46 years more! If anyone deserves a long life it is my hero, my brother, Leonard Paul Leichnitz.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

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The Family: A Proclamation to the World

family-proclamation2As a convert, I have only known one Prophet during my time in the church. That Prophet was Gordon B. Hinckley. While Thomas S. Monson is now the Prophet, there will always be a special place in my heart for the first Prophet I ever knew. He was a truly gifted orator and had the power to inspire all those who listened. He exuded kindness, compassion and mercy. I will always have fond memories of him. With the new battles waging on marriage and family, I thought this would be an appropriate time to remember what family really is and what it means to not only us but to the world.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Gordon B. Hinckley.

gordon-b-hinckley

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.