Sandra was dropped off at her Grandparents house just six days shy of her second birthday, clean and dressed, but underweight and confused. She had been conceived in the back seat of a car by two young individuals that were of age only in the eyes of the state, the demeaner and actions of the two were far from what would be considered adult behavior though, ruled by their passions and desires, Sandra was the product of immaturity. There was of course the normal blaming, tears and words of anger, but after the reality had sunk in that indeed a baby was on the way, not a fetus, the two married. The ceremony at the courthouse was quick and curt, but even that along with the signed document did nothing to draw them closer to each other or change their lifestyles.
A year and a half after Sandra was born, the young man left, unwilling to accept the responsibility and requirements that drew him away from his own desires, and it was not long after this that the authorities responded to complaints of a continuously crying infant at a run down apartment building. The room was atrocious, the young child was in diapers that had not been changed for days, and when the mother was finally located at a small tavern, she was more than willing to sign any papers necessary to remove the burden from her life, to finally be rid of what she wished she would never have had in the first place.
Sandra’ Grandparents still had four other children living at home, the youngest one ten tears old, eight years older than Sandra when she arrived. The Grandparents were not well off and lived mostly paycheck-to-paycheck, and though the Grandfather loved nothing more than sitting in his well-worn recliner holding his darling granddaughter, his wife was not so obliging, she saw in this small child the constant rebellion and defiance that the daughter that had borne Sandra had inflicted on her before she finally left them to live her drunken and drug filled life elsewhere.
She had telephoned them only once in the past two years, and that was to inform them that she had given birth to a daughter, the next thing the grandmother knew about Sandra was that if she and her husband were not willing to take the child, she would be put in an orphanage and placed up for adoption. It was her husband, after a much heated argument that made the final decision, telling her that they could not blame the baby for the mothers faults, but Sandra’s grandmother did not see it that way, and this reality came to be a fact when her husband died five years later when Sandra was seven.
Sandy, as those in school called her, was not a loved child, she was tolerated and barely at that. Her aunts and uncles, not her brothers and sisters as she continually reminded herself, treated her at best like a piece of furniture, and at the least as a bother. Her uncles in her grandmothers mind could do no wrong, even though she was well aware of their drinking and fighting in the small town, and her aunt to the grandmother was the apple of her eye, lavish attention was paid to her no matter the circumstances, while Sandy suffered the wrath and harsh words that the grandmother could no longer plant upon her oldest, errant daughter.
Sandy learned to fend for herself at a very young age, figuring out the can opener and the stove top so she could heat up some kind of meal for herself, even learning to wash her own clothes which were usually “accidentally” left in the clothes hamper. Many, many nights she would be left alone while the others would go their own separate ways to fulfill their own selfish desires, and so the television became her best, and only, friend. In a small town it does not take very long for news and rumors to spread, and because of these Sandy had no friends, although she had tried at times, but after a while she learned that she was just not welcomed, by anyone.
Since Sandy’s birthday was only three weeks away from Christmas, it was skipped over every year, “Just another day, you can wait for Christmas,” she would hear each year from her nearly always scowling grandmother, and the sneers and giggles that resounded from those that still lived in the house with her were a constant reminder to her that she would never be part of the family. Very few of the presents under the tree at Christmas had Sandy’s name on them, and the ones that she did receive were the ones that she had noticed at the store with the least expensive price tags, but they were precious to her. Not every year, but many, she would receive a different small, plastic horse molded in dramatic poses. These became her best friends, they did not know of her past, never put her down, and were always waiting and willing to play with her whenever she wanted to, and play she did, spending hours in the corner behind the sofa when the others were home, imagining herself to be riding her friends off to far away places where people had families that loved their little girls.
One day when Sandy arrived home after her fifth grade class, the small ten tear old was informed by Marge, the name of her grandmother, for she refused to call her by the endearing name that grandmother is meant to imply, that her mother was going to be arriving in a hour. No answers to the questions of why were given her, only the usual scowling looks and harsh words, and so every possible thought began to form in this young girl’s mind. That evening, laying in bed trying to keep back the tears, anger and confusion, she wondered for the hundredth time why the woman who showed up that afternoon, the woman who had arrived with the two children just a little younger than herself, had not taken her home with her when she had left. She was her mom, wasn’t she supposed to love her, take care of her, didn’t she come all this way to embrace her, tell her how terribly much she had missed her, and that now they were going to be a family forever. She had watched as this woman, her so-called mother, this stranger and Marge had begun to speak a few words to each other, which very quickly turned into a shouting match, and then in amazement watched her grab those two small children and leave, she had barely even noticed Sandy.
By the age of twenty, Sandy had convinced herself that she was unlovable, that what the boys wanted they called love, but it was far from that, it was just sex, and when the act was done, they were done with her. She did not mind so much she told herself, for at least for a few minutes she felt wanted by someone, and when they were gone, there was always the bottle. By the age of twenty-two, Sandy had become a professional, functioning alcoholic, able to work during the day at her job, putting up the pretense of a somewhat normal life, while passing out from the large amounts of alcohol that she consumed each evening, sometimes in bed, sometimes in the bathroom, at times even in her own vomit.
After a year spent with her “mother” in a different state, learning very quickly that the one who had thrown her away all those years ago cared about as much for her as Marge did, Sandy returned to the small town and shortly after married a man that owned one of the local bars. Infatuation was not love, Sandy knew that, but if it was as close as she could get, she would take it. He was a man filled with selfish pride and the couple argued, screamed and yelled at each other nearly constantly. He accused her of being a drunk, and Sandy did not prove him wrong, hiding bottles of liquor around the house where he would not find them, and as for his part of the bargain they called a marriage, he sold the bar and informed her that they would now be living on Sandy’s income while he went out and did “odd jobs.” Sandy never saw a dime of this odd job money her husband supposedly made, but she saw a lot of her money go towards the bills, the car payments and even a house remodel project that he thought would be a good idea.
In a rare moment of clarity after years of a drunken stupor, the words that she had been telling herself for quite some time, the often repeated words of “You made your bed, now sleep in it,” started to seem hollow, sounded like what she was but did not want to be any longer. At 38 years old Sandy, after an extremely heated argument, again, packed some things into the car, moved the ten miles away to the town that she had been commuting to for her job, and filed for divorce. The freedom was nice, at first, no more yelling and screaming, no more of the harsh and denigrating words from her soon to be “idiot ex,” the same words that Marge had used, had now stopped.
It wasn’t long though before Sandy realized that not much had really changed though, at least not inside of her, the television was still her only friend, besides the dog that she had purchased a few years ago, she was still a raging alcoholic, though now she could keep her large collection of liquor in the cabinet close at hand instead of trying to remember where she had hid them when she was drunk, and the small plastic horses now resided in a glass front bookcase, sad reminders of a lonely childhood and what looked like what was going to be a continuing sadder existence. She did not know what she wanted, and she did not know how to get it. “Maybe the booze will kill me soon,” she heard herself say more times than she wanted to recall.
Sandy and Craig were married and spent their honeymoon on the island of Aruba, her shining prince had arrived just in the nick of time, she reminded him as the years went by, to which he would always reply, “It is the Lord Jesus who shines, my love.” Sandy thought back on the nearly fifteen years of marriage to her loving, Christ centered husband, how he had not judged her past, her life before him, not even the drinking she had given up entirely just a few moths after they met. She thought on those first few weeks taking long walks with him while he spoke of his Savior, and now her Savior also. She remembered the kicking and fighting within her own mind, screaming at her to stay where she was, to forget all that religious talk, and to stay where she was, safe, safe alone, safe in the bottle, and then how this man had shown her that she was lovely, that she was precious, that she was worthy in his eyes, and greatly loved, a love that she now understood was the love of Christ for her flowing through her husband.
Sandy now gives God the glory for the hard, bitter life of her upbringing, not only that which was forced upon her, but the one that she freely chose for herself, and she is learning more each day how to share the inexpressible love and joy of her Savior to those that He sends her way, to those who are hurting the way she once hurt. One of the most wonderful memories that Sandy has is the day that she met her Savior, the same day that she threw all those little plastic horses away, and the memories that went with them.