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The Mama Bear Effect
Cards for Firecracker
PO BOX 190
Pinehurst, MA 01866
I am the mother of Firecracker, the 5 year old that will be testifying against her perpetrator in two weeks. First and foremost, WOW! There are not enough words to express how touched and moved that we are by the kindness of you all. We are simply amazed to say the least. Thank you all so very very much for everything that you all are doing to make our heroine of a daughter feel so special.
I wanted to take a moment to share some of our story with you. I have to be careful at this point, because trial is only two weeks away. I will tell you as much history as I can at this point. This is a story that I never thought that our family would have to ever write. Like most parents, this is one of your worst nightmares come true when it comes to your children. It is a journey that I wish for no parent to have to partake in. I started talking to my daughter at the age of one and half about private parts and right and wrong touch. She has always been such a very smart child, and at this age she was able to carry on a full fledged conversation! She was also being potty trained, so I thought that this was a good time to start.
My husband and I have always been over protective parents. I am the mother you see walking into a store with arms weighed down with a floppy seat to protect my child against shopping cart germs, diaper bag with wet ones, and germicide while carrying around a young child. I am the mother who fears my young child going up and down steps, never let’s go of their hand when out, cuts their food into tiny pieces so they won’t get choked, allows no jumping on beds, freaks out if they get hurt… Firecracker was our first child, and we fought hard to have her. I had been fighting a very long time to have her, and I wanted to do everything right as a mom! We love our children more than anything in the world, because to my husband and I, they are our world! To me, I don’t think that there is really no such thing as being to over protective, to some I may sound extreme, but for first time mothers, it is a scary thing! I did talk to my daughter about important things! I explained to her why we keep our private parts covered, I talked to her about right and wrong touch. I tried so hard to protect her, but I failed. I went wrong by not telling my daughter that she could be hurt by someone that she loved and trusted. I also went wrong by not using the correct names for our body parts. I was also naive in thinking that this would never happen to my child. At least I hoped and prayed that it wouldn’t. If only I would have known then what I know now. Now I am the mother of a child that was victimized by child sexual abuse.
What I wouldn’t give to be able to have my baby girl back the way she once was. So happy and full of life. She never met a stranger, she really loved people and people have always been drawn to her. She has always been the most darling and precious child. No matter where we go, people would always have to speak to her. They would go on and on about how darling she was, and then she would speak back. Most people would put their hands over their heart because her voice was just the sweetest most precious sound. She is unforgettable to anyone who met her and meets her still. You don’t forget our firecracker. She had gotten to the point that when going out, if someone looked at her, she would say “they look at me because I am so precious”. She loved her life, she loved herself. She was so outgoing. She had to be center of attention, and loved to entertain with dancing and singing. Everyday she would tell me how happy she was. As a mother that was music to my ears. All we wanted for our children was to have happy and carefree childhoods with wonderful happy memories of dancing to Laurie Berkner before bed, double doozie kisses, and always knowing that every single second of their existence was loved beyond belief and never taken for granted. We were all so happy…
Three years ago this May, our daughter made her first disclosure. It was a day that will never be forgotten. Our lives changed that day, and now we are living a nightmare that we cannot wake up from. My husband and I noticed our daughter changing around the age of two. Being first time parents, everyone kept saying “Oh, it’s just the terrible two’s, just wait till they hit the weird three’s!” The changes were very subtle at first. For the most part she was still our little Firecracker. She had stopped eating, her pediatrician told us this was normal for this age. She kept regressing from potty training, once again…normal. I was told not to push that she would let me know when she was ready. That year though, she became very sick and my husband and I were beside ourselves because no one could tell us what was wrong with her! She would run very high temperatures that would spike to almost 105. We rushed her to the hospital, and they took blood, checked urine and nothing. Finally after months of on again off again terrible sickness, it was determined that she had a severe bacterial infection. They treated her, but it seemed to keep coming back. We couldn’t keep her well. I am a stay at home mom, she was always with me. The thought of being sexually abused never crossed my mind.
At the age of three, we found out that we were expecting another child. She was so excited! All she wanted was to be a big sister. My husband and I heard about this everyday! She was thrilled to death when we told her. She would always talk to my stomach, and from day one she knew she had a baby sister! As the year went on, she really began withdrawing herself. It was getting to the point where it was really bad. She stopped everything she loved. She no longer wanted to go to dance anymore, she was now potty trained and had regressed back to wearing pull-ups again for the third time. She just seemed to be on this downward spiral, and we didn’t know what to do. We thought that it was once again, possibly her age and maybe she was becoming worried about her place once her baby sister arrived. We tried everything to make her feel apart of the pregnancy. We shared everything with her. Ultrasounds, heartbeats, decorating her nursery. It was important for her to be a big part of this.
As the time came closer and closer to our babies birth, we were really concerned. She was so tiny, and didn’t eat enough to keep a bird alive. She was always dark under her eyes, had problems with bowel movements. It seemed that she was always sick and she was so sad.
Finally her baby sister arrived, and she was thrilled to death! That was her baby. Those first few weeks were tough, because she thought everything that we were doing was wrong! She would say “you are doing it wrong, you might hurt her”. She wouldn’t let anyone hold her when they came to come see her. She was very protective of her. Through this protectiveness, we could see she was sinking deeper and deeper.
She had began doing things we had never seen her do before. She began acting out sexually. She was masturbating all of a sudden. This is something that she had never done ever and now it seemed to be constant. She would play with her dolls and they would be set up in oral sex positions, and doing lots of sexual things together. She would say sexual comments, she would make moaning sounds and act like someone was performing sexual acts on her. We also found her trying to put objects inside of her vagina. It was anything that she could find…popsicle sticks, toy silverware, straws, pencils just to name some. It was terrifying! This was beyond sibling rivalry. We had decided that something was seriously wrong, and that we were going to talk to her pediatrician and see about getting her into counseling.
Fast forward a couple of days, and she now hasn’t talked for days. She is walking around like she is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. We keep asking her what is wrong but she just turns and walks away. Our hearts are breaking because we can tell that our sweet angel is broken and we don’t know why! Then finally one day it was to much for a three year old to carry and she came to me. Nothing would prepare me for what she would tell me. Her Grandfather, my father-in-law, was sexually assaulting her!
I sat at eye level with her and listened as she made disclosure after disclosure, just nodding my head and listening. When she was done, I hugged her and told her how proud I was of her and thanked her for telling me. Then she hugged me and ran away. I sat in a state of shock, the past two years of my daughters life flashing before my eyes and everything now making sense. Always stopping by to take her outside to play, always taking her away to “show her off” while we were out to dinner, the favoritism towards her when there were more grandchildren, always promising gifts to her, his talks of “how he was worried about how she clung to me and needed to learn how to be away from her mommy”, every holiday, family get together, birthday party, how many times he babysat her. They were flashing through my mind and the more I thought, the angrier I became, and the more my heart sank. I couldn’t get up off of the floor, I couldn’t move. I knew that I couldn't let her see me cry, that I had to stay strong!
When I got a moment to be alone, I let it out and I couldn’t stop. What had I done? How could I have let this happen to my daughter? Why didn’t we see it? We look back now and it was so obvious…why? The little girl I promised that I would protect was sexually assaulted by her own grandfather. A man whom we loved, a man whom we trusted and thought the absolute world of molested his granddaughter. Words that no parent ever wants to hear their child tell them. The thing was, she never truly seemed afraid of him! She truly loved him, adored him and willingly went with him. She told us several times that “he told me this was real love, that no one loved her the way he did” she also told us that “it felt good, and she didn’t know it was wrong”.
It wasn’t until later on, when it started to become more involved that she started exhibiting fear. She said that he started threatening her and became more afraid of him around the time her sister was born. It was during this time that we could see some changes in her feelings for him and we wouldn’t force her to be around him. My husband and I started to feel that something just wasn’t right, but who would ever believe that a Grandfather was capable of such a thing. A journey that no parent wants to take. I am so thankful that our family is still together! My husband never doubted his daughter and has stood by her from day one. I am so proud of him and so thankful.
It has been a long time coming in almost three years. It seemed as if it was taking forever for court to get her, if it did at all. Now, it seems that it was just yesterday that she told. Three years of weekly counseling appointments, psychiatry appointments, medications that a child shouldn’t be on. My daughter since the age of three years old has been talking about wanting to kill herself because she can’t live with this. A child so terrified that the threats that this sorry excuse of man made to her will be carried out because she told.
She suffers from night terrors, and nightmares nightly, she has PTSD, she talks about heaven a lot and wanting to be there. She calls herself a freak, and piece of junk, a piece of trash, ugly, and stupid. She says she doesn’t feel normal, she doesn’t think that she is worthy to have friends. She hates herself. She doesn’t know how to be a child anymore. She struggles everyday with being a little girl. It took two years for us to see a little of our firecracker again, and then she started her new therapy, found out about court and has now regressed again. She is terrified and facing this man could be detrimental to her health. It could be dangerous! It scares me to death to think of what will happen after she sees him.
It’s not fair! They are children! How can they make a child that young face the one person that they are so terrified of? What is wrong with this picture? He has the choice to not testify with his coward self, but she has to stand before him and tell everyone how he hurt her and the sadistic things that he did to her. They will be filing a motion for her to testify closed circuit. I ask that you all please pray for this to happen for her and to pray for her to have strength!
This child is so amazing the strength, bravery and courage that she has inside of her. I am so proud of her, she is my hero without a doubt. I know that it will take a while for healing, but I have strong faith that she will use this for the good as she grows. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and I know without a doubt that she will be. This will shape her life, and I know that God has a special plan for her.
This child is our hearts. I just want to see her love herself again and be happy. I don’t even know if this will happen? It terrifies me to think that my firecracker is lost. I don’t know what would have happened had she not had told. I can’t imagine how much strength it took for her to tell me. She tried so hard to fix it herself, but she just couldn’t. She is truly extraordinary! I love her with everything that I am and I will always fight for her. She saved herself, her sister and who knows how many other children. For those wondering where Firecracker came from, this is her BACA name.
Parents, please please please talk to your children. Warn them about family, friends, and anyone who is close enough to them to have an opportunity to harm them. Don’t be naive and think that this will never happen to your child. We are living proof that it can. It doesn’t matter how over protective you are, if they want them, they will find a way.