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A Mother of Three - My Story - A Public Letter to My Children

Updated on February 21, 2015

Babies Trio

First picture of all three of the children together L to R: Anaya, Layla, Ayden
First picture of all three of the children together L to R: Anaya, Layla, Ayden | Source

The Kids @ Crump Park 2010

A Little Background

At the age of 12 my mother moved from the North American state of Virginia to the great state of Texas after the divorce from my father. My father took custody over for my younger sister and myself and I grew up after that with my step-mother, my father, my younger sister, and my step-mother's dog, Precious.

At the age of 16 I attended Old Dominion Job Corps and graduated in 2002 and graduated in 2003 with my GED and Line Cook certificate in tact, ready to take on the world. At the age of 17 I met my ex-husband, and on my 18th birthday I moved in with him after only knowing him for three weeks prior to that.

After enduring 4 months living with my ex-husband, I found out that I was pregnant. My second pregnancy, but my first full term pregnancy. I had a baby girl and named her Anaya. When Anaya was 9 months old, I became pregnant with my son, I named him Ayden. I've chronicled my fight with Autism with Ayden in two of my articles How My Son Was Stolen, and How My Son Was Stolen - Part 2. Ayden was 6 months old when I found out I was pregnant with my currently youngest child - and daughter - Layla.

After five and a half years of raising my children and 4 years of marriage, my ex-husband and I decided to end the marriage. Not being able to obtain a stable and safe place for my children and I, I settled for trying to find a way to be sure my children were safe and taken care of, despite if I can be with them or not.

I tried to find anyone to take the children and myself in, after asking my own father if the children and I could stay with him and I'd help him financially around the house, he agreed that the children could stay with him, but I'd have to find other means to live. Because I had no other option of guaranteeing that my children would be taken care of, I agreed.

I began searching vigorously for a job that would help me provide for my children, but I kept getting turned down or the cold shoulder - or the infamous, "We're not hiring, but we're taking applications." speech. Around noon everyday I'd visit Layla, unless I had an interview, until Ayden and Anaya got off from the school bus. I'd help Anaya with her homework and we'd go to the park or museum and I'd stay with them until I tucked them in at night, then do it all over again the next day.

A week or two after I took the children to my father's house, he started asking me for custody for the children. My father finally convinced my ex-husband to ask me, and because my ex-husband and I were on the road to reconciling, I listened to my ex-husband's words that my father told him. The custody was simply supposed to be so that my father could have access to my children's medical records and school records, but he swindled me.

At the custody hearing, the judge court ordered that custody be rewarded to my father per my agreement, and the only way to gain custody back of my children would be to have a stable job and place to stay for 6 consecutive months. After the custody hearing, my van miraculously broke down and I could no longer drive to the kids anymore.

After my van broke down, my dad began always making excuses as to why I couldn't see the children, and stopped answering his phone so I could talk to them. The very next month, my dad put my husband and I on child support - even while saying he wanted us to get stable and be able to get the kids back. I began to get frustrated.

After several failed attempts at obtaining a stable place to stay, I had no choice but to call my estranged mother who resided in Texas still for help. My mom agreed to let me stay with her until I can get back on my feet. It is currently in the third year since then, and I have still yet to find a stable job that would adequately support myself and my children.

Anaya Shifflett

Anaya's newborn baby picture
Anaya's newborn baby picture | Source
Anaya at four years old
Anaya at four years old | Source

To: Anaya, My Eldest

Dear Anaya,

You are my first born, and my mini me. I love you from the bottom of the soles of my feet to the tips of the follicles of the hair on my head. I've loved you since before you were born. Nothing in this world would ever rip us apart - not time or distance.

You lived with me for five and a half years, and you remember. We slid down the slide together over a billion times it seems, and it never gets old. The dollhouses we made from discarded boxes - despite my great disdain for dolls and all things girly - made me first realize the sacrifices mothers make just to see their babies smile.

The many makeshift sock Kamehameha waves we threw at each other because you got into watching Dragon Ball Z with me were priceless. You dressed up as a princess and you wouldn't let me call you anything else but Princess Anaya for weeks.

And even as you get older, smarter, funnier, and cuter - my love for you have never wavered. I hope that in time, you'll come to realize that no matter the distance, Mommy will always be here to have your back because that is my job as a mother.

Anaya Acting Out Scene From Madagascar 2

Mommy & Anaya

Anaya and Mommy June 2013
Anaya and Mommy June 2013 | Source
Ayden's newborn baby picture
Ayden's newborn baby picture | Source
Ayden at three years old
Ayden at three years old | Source

To: Ayden, My Son

Dear Ayden,

Since I was a little girl, I've always wanted a little baby boy, and at the age of twenty I gave birth to an adorable bouncing baby boy and named him Ayden. Ayden and I have been through a lot as seen in my other two hubs that I wrote about Ayden's journey with Autism.

With each physical therapy, occupational therapy, sarcastic developmental pediatrician, special diets, preschool, and the many times you ran down the hall and jumped into my lap I loved you more and more. Through it all, you stood strong and endured so much and never gave up.

They told me that you'd never talk or count or read, but one day you surprised me and called me a bad baby because I was annoying you, your first true words from your mouth without anyone having to coax you to speak - besides for baba or mama or dada or Spongebob.

Through it all, you stood tall and endured each boring therapy session in stride. Ayden, you are a fighter and a loving little boy who has so much inner strength that the whole world will soon realize. I'll never give up trying to fight this Autism for you. I love you son. My baby boy, my only son.

Ayden Counting (Nonverbal with Autism)

Mommy & Ayden

Ayden and Mommy June 2013
Ayden and Mommy June 2013 | Source

Layla Shifflett

Layla's newborn baby picture
Layla's newborn baby picture | Source
Layla at a year and a half
Layla at a year and a half | Source

To: Layla, My Youngest

Dear Layla,

My baby girl, my rambunctious and precocious little angel... you were the true momma's baby. I couldn't even go to the toilet without you clinging onto my leg for dear life - almost like you knew you and I were going to be eventually separated. I'm sorry mommy's not there, I still love and think about you every second of every day.

Your smiles and giggles filled the house with the raspy voice that is uniquely yours. I hear you want to be a singer now, you know I will always have your back and try my best to help you get to where you want and deserve to be. Don't give up hope, Layla, I'm still trying. I'm still planning on taking you to ride the roller coaster like you asked.

No, we aren't together, and I'm sure it has hit you hard... but maybe we can rebuild what we had and make it bigger than what it was. You were only two years old, so I know you don't remember much, but I remember. I'll never for get you, your brother, nor your sister. I love you Layla J, please remember that.

Layla's 2nd Birthday Party

Mommy & Layla

Layla and Mommy June 2013
Layla and Mommy June 2013 | Source

Perfection at it's Best

Who says there's no such thing as perfection?
Who says there's no such thing as perfection? | Source

Anaya and Layla Playing

To: My Babies

Dearest Babies,

I know you aren't babies any longer, and I know you're growing up fast, but I am trying my very best so that we can be reunited again. I will fight your grandfather for you three until my dying breath. I'll never give up, I'll never stop going because I know you three are counting on me, and as your mommy it's my job to see to it that I never disappoint you.

Anaya, Ayden, Layla I'll never stop loving you. Never in a million years did I think we would have to go through this, but we're going through this together, and that is what makes our bond still strong, if not stronger. I'm sorry mommy's not there right now, but I promise to make up for all the loss time that has gone by.

Thank you all for enriching my life and making me into a true woman, a mommy. No matter what anyone tells you - Anaya you were old enough to know - Mommy has and always will love you... and I'm coming for you.




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