From Resort To Concentration Camp: This Summer's Trip to New York & PA Part 2!
In my last article I describe the wonderful time that my step daughter and I had visiting my dad and his wife in Long Island. Finally, after 3 1/2 days of perfect vacation bliss we were dropped off at my mom and her boyfriend's apartment in Queens, NY (the apartment I grew up in.) Now my mom has talked to my step daughter on the phone before and they seemed to get along although my step daughter has witnessed my mom screaming, cursing and telling me to shut up over the phone. But that never seemed to bother my step daughter too much. Perhaps because she never experienced my mom's negative energy in person at full strength. But besides that... My mom had warned me several times not to bring my step daughter to visit her and her boyfriend on this trip. She had absolutely no interest in meeting my step daughter in person or spending time with her... but I wouldn't listen! So perhaps in the end this is all my fault... However... allow me to explain further... My last article ends as follows:
"So we ring the door bell and my mom immediately let's out a blood curdling scream. She opens the door and looks down at my step daughter with a cold disapproving scowl. I watch as my step daughter's facial expression instantly transforms from happiness to shocked terror... Oh my... What have I done?"
I was very concerned at the energy we encountered when my mom opened the door. It was quite unpleasant to say the least. My step daughter and I rushed to use the restroom... Then I went back outside to my dad and his wife to say a final goodbye. Tears were welling up in my eyes, but I managed to hold them in to the best of my ability. I told my dad about my mom's terrifying scream and the look of horror on my step daughter's face when she opened the door. My dad felt bad and handed me a hundred dollar bill as if that would help. I thanked him and said goodbye.
As my step daughter and I began to adapt to the harsh energy of the toxic environment we had just walked into the situation appeared to improve... at least temporarily. My mom and her boyfriend (who I've always liked and respected) were being nice.... as nice as they could be! They were just painfully stressed out. My mom's boyfriend looked very thin. He was obviously not well. My mom sat down with my step daughter and had a nice conversation with her about making bracelets and fixing one of her doll's eyes. My step daughter didn't seem so scared of my mom anymore as when she first encountered her at the front door. We were preparing for a long drive to Pennsylvania which had to happen soon since we were destined to encounter tremendous traffic on the way. When the car was finally packed up with everything including my mom and her boyfriend's beloved cat, I went to use the bathroom one last time. I remembered that the toilet was hard to flush on my last visit and needed to be flushed several times in order to get the job done. So I pressed down with extra force to flush the toilet. That's when water started gushing out of the toilet uncontrollably as if a sprinkler system had been activated. We had to call maintenance for help and it took another two hours before we could finally leave. When we did finally leave the toilet wasn't even fixed... The cold water for the bathroom had been turned off and the toilet was scheduled to be fixed when we returned from PA on Monday.
The ride to PA was relatively peaceful although there was tons of traffic. My daughter drew pictures with her new watercolor brush pens that my dad's wife purchased for her at target. (My mom also gave my step daughter some colored pencils and oil pastels to draw with which she used in PA.)
I napped most of the time. My mother and her boyfriend were trying their best not to argue. I was impressed. Screaming and cursing was at an all time low. I thought that perhaps this visit with my mom and her boyfriend would be different... pleasant perhaps? We finally made it to a grocery store where I had to pay for all of the groceries for myself and my step daughter as I had promised my mom I would do before I arrived. We finally made it to the house in PA around 10pm and we were all exhausted. My mom reminded us that the tap water in their area was toxic and not to drink it or wash vegetables in it. My mom and her boyfriend would barely shower in it. I was fine with showering in the toxic water, however my step daughter, after hearing about the toxic water, refused to shower the whole time we were in PA! Well, to be very honest, she already has shower issues which is why I made sure I purchased baby wipes at the supermarket.
My step daughter was disappointed when she saw that she was sleeping on a cot and tried with all her might to trade beds with me. I was to sleep on a relatively new couch that opened up into a bed. I wasn't willing to trade beds with her at that moment as I had slept on the cot for my last visit to NY and PA and knew that I didn't want to do that again...and so my step daughter reluctantly fell asleep on her cot.
The next day was spent traveling to my mother's favorite thrift shops where she purchases items for our Ebay and Etsy business. My step daughter enjoys shopping so it was a good time for her. My mom ended up buying her a pair of really nice new black and yellow sneakers. At this same thrift shop I was approached by a lady whose sister was about to start chemo. She loved my head wrap and took a photo of me wearing it. I told her that I purchased it on Etsy. I think this lady thought I had cancer. (FYI My mom told me that I looked like a cancer patient with my head wrap on.) I told this lady about organic sulfur and Essiac tea and shared with her the phone number and website for these products that could save her sister's life. I introduced my mom to the lady I was talking to but I could feel that the lady didn't vibe with my mom's energy at all. Finally we left the store.
After visiting a few thrift shops we arrived back at the house early so I could prepare for Shabbat and that's when things seemed to take a turn for the worst. I reluctantly left my step daughter alone in another room with my mom and her boyfriend while I recited Shabbat prayers on the porch. I could hear my mom and her boyfriend screaming and cursing a bit through the porch door. Not as bad as it could be... but not so pleasant either... and not ideal for Shabbat! When I finally returned from praying they had all finished eating their (non-kosher) hamburgers... A cheeseburger for my step daughter! That's the epitome of non-kosher! I felt a little guilty that I even allowed cheeseburgers to happen during Shabbat but I didn't wish to cause any problems. Anyway, when I finally got done making my salad and sat down to eat it, my mom was in the middle of a very serious and depressing conversation with my step daughter.
My mom mentioned my Quaker Parrot "Joey" who died at a Quaker Parrot Sanctuary that my mom was warned not to send him too. My mom mentioned that she was going to hell for sending him there. My mom mentioned my step daughter's dead mother and how beautiful she was and how she saw pictures of her on the cemetery/ funeral website. And then to my astonishment she told my step daughter that if she ever gets pregnant and needs an abortion to make sure she tells me so I can help her to get the abortion. Ummm... my step daughter is 7 years old and has no idea what an abortion is... Anyway, by the end of the conversation I was very depressed... My mom stepped away from the table and that's when my step daughter started crying asking me if we could go back to be with my dad and his wife. I explained that doing that would be very difficult and that we would only be with my mom and her boyfriend for a few more days.... I told her that she was getting off easy... I had to spend years with my mom and her boyfriend! She would only have to spend a few days with them. My step daughter calmed down and accepted her fate!
As we were preparing to go to bed I decided to have a private little talk with my mom and her boyfriend. I told them that my step daughter was crying and wanted to leave. She didn't like the screaming and cursing. She did not enjoy the negativity. That's when my mom pulled me aside and told me that her boyfriend has stage 4 COPD and that he's dying. Supposedly one of the symptoms of stage 4 COPD is screaming and cursing. My mom was blaming her boyfriend for all the bad energy. She said that when they first started dating her boyfriend did not scream and curse at all. And that's when I chimed in and reminded her that she's been screaming and cursing since I was a young child! Is it not possible that my mom made her boyfriend sick with all her screaming, cursing and negative energy? I was sick all the time when living with my mom! It's no wonder I moved all away across the country! I went through a very long healing process and I'm stronger now. I do feel a little bad though because my step daughter had heard me talking about my mom to her dad, my dad and his wife. She knew a little bit about the bad energy in advance... and ofcourse she heard it for herself when talking to my mom on the phone. I didn't want her to have any preconceived notions about my mom. I was really hoping they could get along.
I couldn't sleep that night and I cried a bit. After reading the Torah portion for Shabbat I decided to text my dad and tell him what was going on. The next day he offered to send me and my step daughter a Lyft ride back to Long Island. I felt bad about doing that. I didn't wish to abandon my mom and so I decided to stay... Also after analyzing the situation I realized that talking about my step daughter's dead mom may have triggered her to want to leave... and that as long as we didn't discuss sad topics again things should get better. So I told my mom not to mention anything depressing anymore and my mom agreed. I also realized that my step daughter may have been experiencing withdrawal from not using her tablet. My mom and her boyfriend didn't have wi-fi in PA. So finally I had the opportunity to ask their neighbor upstairs to borrow her wi-fi. She was very kind and helpful and set it up for my step daughter on her tablet! That helped the situation a bit!
Saturday was pretty peaceful. My mom and her boyfriend were at an auction for most of the day buying items for our Ebay and Etsy business. My mom also purchased a beautiful beaded hand bag, a bracelet and a necklace for my step daughter. I decided to take a walk with my step daughter to a tourist attraction called Peddler's Village. It's basically a bunch of over priced stores. We didn't buy anything... I don't spend money on Saturday, but it was good to get a walk. Unfortunately the walk got me very tired and by the time we returned I needed a nap. Thankfully my step daughter was able to go on her tablet! Before napping I ended up reading some inspiring Torah portion articles for Shabbat that seemed to magically synchronize with what I had been experiencing. It was a very positive, emotionally uplifting moment for me amidst the screaming and cursing between my mom and her boyfriend that appeared to be escalating! They were doing quite well in the beginning of the trip, but then they got comfortable! The good thing was that they were not screaming and cursing at me or my step daughter. My mom did manage to tell me to "shut up" one time at which point I reminded her that my step daughter and I have a rule not to say "shut up" to each other, so that was the last shut up she gave me! Unfortunately, although no one actually screamed or cursed at me or my step daughter, the communication directed at us often had an aggressive stressed out tone, and at times my mom would snap and raise her voice at my step daughter when she was doing something that she didn't like. At that point I would have to tell my mom to stop and go away. But it was apparent that my step daughter was not enjoying my mom's combative style of communication. I never quite enjoyed it myself.
On Sunday we were scheduled to visit a farm museum. When we got their it was closed to the public! That was a disappointment. No one had called in advance to check to see if they were open. So we stopped at an empty playground and allowed my step daughter to run around and play. When we got back home I needed to take a nap! During that time my step daughter spent some time alone with my mom making beaded bracelets. My step daughter seemed to have a really good time doing that! Finally we all prepared to go out to dinner together, but when we got to the pizza restaurant they told us they were closing in 30 minutes. They didn't seem interested in serving us at all! All the restaurants in town were closing! Another disappointment! I was hoping we could all eat out together in PA! So we bought a few slices of pizza and we went back home. I decided not to eat dinner but my mom made me a salad anyway so I ate it.
I want to stop here to mention something positive about my mom and her boyfriend...and a funny correlation. Now back in LA I've experienced some problems with my neighbors because I feed the squirrels at my apartment complex. When in PA I found out that my mom and her boyfriend were having problems with their neighbors because they've been feeding the wild animals at their property. My mom and her boyfriend actually have to sneak food to the squirrels, rabbits, birds, deer and turkey hawks when the neighbors aren't looking. How hilarious is that? So even though my mom and her boyfriend are totally stressed out, screaming, cursing and being negative pretty much all the time, in their hearts they are actually good people. They actually take the time to fill up a bird feeder with seeds and collect scraps of food and feed the wild animals outside their home and they do so joyously. They also have a beautiful flower garden that they take very good care of. So back to the story,...
The next day, Monday, was our day to return back to New York. The screaming and cursing was at an all time high. My mom's boyfriend was beyond stressed out. It was the worst I had ever seen him. I slept for most of the ride back... Then something interesting happened... We stopped at a diner in New Jersey to get some food. My step daughter was hungry. So I'm sitting in this New Jersey diner talking to my step daughter about how I'm going to stay positive even if I'm disappointed with the fruit bowl I ordered. A guy who looks like an Italian mobster who just happens to be sitting next to me on a stool starts talking to me about what to do if I feel bad. He tells me to just fill up a tub of water... I chime in and say something like "add salt and dip my whole body in the tub?" He agrees that that's what he was about to say. So I mention the clearing spray that I use with water, salt and essential oils. It's much easier than finding a bath while driving on the road. So he asks me if I'm wiccan (witchcraft and nature worship). I tell him "No" but that I'm a reiki energy healer. He tells me that he's wiccan and that he can see auras. I tell him that I would've never guessed he was wiccan by just looking at him but I knew something was up when he mentioned the bath with the salt. I went back to the car and told everyone what had happened in the diner and my mom and her boyfriend were laughing. I told them that this Italian mobster looking dude was actually a witch. It was funny. Maybe you had to be there? I saw it as a sign though... no matter how negative a situation one may find themselves in, we always have the opportunity to think positive thoughts and stay positive...and find funny things to laugh about! It was as if the universe sent this Italian mobster witch to remind me that I was a healer and that I will always attract healers no matter where I go...even an Italian Mobster looking healer at a New Jersey diner! And that everything will always be okay!
Finally we get back to New York, and as were getting out of the car we see a young beautiful orthodox Jewish lady walking up the hill with a baby in a stroller and the lady was wearing a beautiful head wrap! My step daughter immediately stated with surprise that the lady was wearing a head wrap just like me. My step daughter couldn't stop staring at the lady and the lady kept turning to look at us. We were both part of the head wrap club! Although this lady was obviously orthodox and I was wearing a tank top... (not so orthodox!) But there was a very positive energy exchange between all of us that made me feel good.
After taking some of our luggage inside the apartment, I took my step daughter to play at my child hood playground down the block. The playground looked completely different. It was totally redone... but what memories! That night I convinced my mom and her boyfriend to go to a mexican restaurant and I would pay for everyone. Well, it was nothing but complaints the whole time...and then I paid! I paid a whole lot of money for a night of complaints... and my step daughter didn't even like her food! When we got home I prepared a shower for my step daughter, but then to my dismay I realized that the cold water had been shut off before we left to PA and we didn't get back in time to get the toilet fixed and the cold water turned back on. We were able to use the toilet but not the shower. So no one showered that night.
The next day was a wonderful breathe of fresh air and our last full day of vacation! Ofcourse first we had to wait for the maintenance staff to come fix the toilet so we could shower. They were taking so long that I decided I would shower in the hot water. In actuality it didn't feel that hot to me. I am not very sensitive to hot water. So although no one wanted to let me do it, I ended up taking a very fast blistering hot shower. Supposedly I came out looking beet red! I was laughing. It really wasn't that hot! Well turns out that no one else had time to shower... We had to go meet up with my best friend from college and her kids in Brooklyn!
So we drove into a very nice neighborhood in Brooklyn that has undergone gentrification (it used to be a crappy neighborhood) and got together with my best friend from college and her 4 kids... although her two twin boys ran off to football practice... So it was my friend and her 5 year old daughter and her one year old son. We all went to the Botanical Gardens in Brooklyn, a playground right next to the garden and then out to dinner. We went to a wonderful organic pizza restaurant that actually had vegan and gluten free options. Then we went to an ice cream store! My mom and her boyfriend were on their best behavior yet, although my mom was still complaining throughout the meal and afterwards. And I ended up paying for myself and my step daughter once again. We spent about 6 hours together and it was fantastic. My step daughter and my friend's daughter got along amazingly well and my friend's daughter cried (literally screamed) when we finally parted ways! I mentioned that they could talk to each other on whatsapp.
The next day I spent packing up suitcases preparing for our flight back to LA. The flight was around 4:30pm so we had some time to get ready. As we were preparing to leave, my mom's boyfriend tells my step daughter how wonderful it was to have her visit us. He asks her if she will be back again... Without hesitation she screams out a huge "No!" My mom's boyfriend started laughing but my mom got very upset and started saying all kinds of nasty things to my step daughter. I had to stop her. My mom felt terribly insulted and unappreciated. Supposedly a lot of work went into having us stay with them. I felt bad for my mom. Deep down I know she's a good person.... she tried her best. She purchased gifts for my step daughter. She spent time making bracelets with her. But she's just so negative and bitter... and cranky, snappy, complainy... and terrible with kids! I walked over to my step daughter and whispered to her something like this, "Remember when I told you that it's okay to lie if telling the truth is going to hurt someone's feelings?" At that moment she realized what she had done. I told her that next time she should just say "Yes" she will come back again... and then when we get on the plane she could whisper to me "No, I don't ever want to go back there again." But she's only 7. She will learn this lesson in due time. The lesson of diplomacy!
So as were driving to the airport my dad and his wife call me on the phone. My dad starts speaking to my step daughter asking her if she had fun. He is on speaker phone and everyone is hearing the conversation. My step daughter didn't know how to respond. She didn't really enjoy spending time with my mom and her boyfriend. There were some good moments... but overall... not so good. So I mentioned to my dad that she didn't enjoy the screaming and cursing. So then my mom starts screaming in a nasty tone something like "Next time Jennie's step daughter is going to stay with you and your wife while Jennie visits me." That's when my dad's wife got on the phone and told my step daughter that she's welcome to visit them anytime she wants. Finally we get to the airport. My mom's boyfriend doesn't get out of the car to hug me. My mom hugs me but ignores my step daughter... doesn't hug her or even say goodbye to her! Wow!
Now the airport situation once again was hilarious! Instead of flying Jet Blue we were flying American this time.... When we arrived at the security check line the security guard would not allow us through. We had too much stuff. I explained that the one extra bag of stuff was a bag of seat pillows. The security guard wasn't going for it and kept telling me that I had to combine all the items (pillows) into a bag that they obviously wouldn't fit into! So I decided that if we were to make the plane I would have to get creative. I turned to my step daughter and told her that we had to make ourselves into walking pillow creatures... I said something like that. I was going to turn it into a fun game. So I put her neck pillow around her neck and my neck pillow around my neck. Then I grabbed my butt pillow and started stuffing it into the back of my step daughter's shirt. That's when the head of airport security approached me... a really nice older light skinned black lady. She said to me something like "Please stop. Don't do that. Don't torture your child. You can go through security with your extra bag of pillows." She was very kind and I thanked her profusely. Whew! That was a relief! But seriously...I was ready to play the walking pillow monster game! I thought it would be funny! You've just got to see the humor in stressful situations I suppose!
So at that point I was in comedy mode... Cracking serious jokes through the long airport security line! I was watching as the irritated people around me started smiling and laughing. Things were getting better for everyone! Then, once again, I requested a pat down instead of taking off all of my metal jewelry. We waited a little while and finally a very nice lady gave me my pat down. Once again I cracked jokes and airport security was laughing.... My step daughter was laughing and random strangers were laughing! Once again my liquids were red flagged. I had 6 little bottles of water.... two of which had irish sea moss and organic sulfur in them previously. Those two bottles were taken from me. As I analyzed the situation I saw the hidden meaning. The 6 bottles represented me, my step daughter, my mom, her boyfriend, my dad and his wife. Two needed to be removed... that's my mom and her boyfriend! Crazy! The universe speaks once again...
The flight was okay but I got a little sick towards the end after sending reiki to my dad and his wife's cat. The cat's energy was really off. She seemed really sick to her stomach... and then I was! We hopped in a taxi and $80 ish dollars plus a $10 tip later we were home. As we approached my front door my step daughter saw a bag outside the door. She thought it was a food delivery. I looked in the bag and there was cat poop and litter in the bag! Disgusting! I walked into the kitchen and there were ants all over the counter. I walked into my bedroom and there was a huge laundry bag full of dirty laundry in front of my altar! I was quite upset and started arguing with my step daughter's dad! It was apparent... the bad energy had followed me home! Then a few days later... a hurricane and an earthquake! Well, it wasn't that bad! At least I was finally home!
Now there were two interesting magical things that happened during this trip that I wanted to make mention of before ending this article. My step daughter and I have a game we play together called the "Honey" or "Hunny" Game. She's the mom and I'm the baby aka "Honey" or "Hunny." So first were in a thrift shop in PA and my step daughter smiles and turns to me asking me to read some words on a pottery vase. I read "Hunny" and we both turn to each other and start laughing. Then were at Peddlers Village where they had a sand castle exhibit. My step daughter turned to me and asked me to read the words on this one sand castle. It was a Winnie the Pooh sand castle and I read the words "Honey." Again we both turned and laughed to each other. Finally, we drove up to a farm where people can pick up eggs and drop off money. Well, my step daughter once again asked me to read the sign. It said "Eggs and... Honey." Apparently they sold eggs and honey. We both started laughing again. That was interesting! Honey or Hunny was following us everywhere we went in Pennsylvania. Seeing this seemed like a positive omen for both of us!
The other magical thing was something that happened to me on the first day of my trip. It happened again to my mom's boyfriend on the last full day of our trip. When we were at the Botanical Gardens in Brooklyn a butterfly, or some type of butterfly looking creature, was flying around us and landed on my mom's boyfriend's head. My mom managed to get a photo of this! On the first day of my trip a little winged creature flew and landed on my head but no one was able to get a photo of it. The creature flew away too quickly! So there were some mysteriously magical positive things that were occurring amidst the negativity, screaming and cursing!
Sadly, when back in LA, my step daughter admitted to her dad that she hates my mom and never wants to see her again. But she doesn't hate my mom's boyfriend! When I asked her how she felt about my mom and her boyfriend she said she didn't like the arguing and the shut ups. I asked her, "Now do you see why I don't like being told to shut up? My mom used to tell me to shut up (in that nasty tone) all the time!" The good news is... when I asked her if it was a choice between being with my mom or with her Armenian grandmother that she doesn't see anymore, she said she would prefer to be with my mom. So that's positive! I suppose my mom is really not that terrible!
Overall, I think it's quite unfortunate that my stepdaughter and my mom don't get along. In retrospect I believe the problem is that my mom is jealous of my relationship with my step daughter. She kept mentioning how my step daughter was around too much and that she only had around 5 minutes to talk to me the whole trip. The problem is... if my step daughter wasn't around, the talks would've been beyond depressing and negative! My step daughter's presence was actually helpful to me. Overall, it's sad. My mom appears to be living a hellish existence with her boyfriend. I believe positive change is possible and so I will continue sending prayers, positive thoughts and reiki energy there way! For now, that's the best I can do. I do hope my visit somehow planted positive seeds of change for my mom and her boyfriend... and I hope that my step daughter learned important life lessons on this trip as well. I believe we all have!
Jennie H is a Reiki Master Energy Healer, Co-Founder of Self Saviorz Society California Non-Profit 501(c)(3), Poet, Author and Entertainer with goals to help raise the vibration and consciousness of humanity!