I like to say I was raised by wolves but we all know that isn’t true (Debbie hates when I say this)! The truth is I was raised by bikers; hippies; criminals; and lots of very good people that took me into their lives and hearts at various times throughout my life. Birth to sixteen I had my dad but unfortunately he married my step-monster when I was three and she intentionally made my life suck. I spent almost every weekend with my paternal grandparents and lots and lots of time with surrogate family members (sometimes actual family but they played a deeper role for me). The Hippy knew I needed maternal love and never got in the way of that for me. Since the step-monster was incapable and Debbie wasn’t really capable either (drugs; non-maternal instincts; life choices; whatever) the Hippy would do all in his power to encourage those that wanted to – the main person being my “Aunt Terrie”. Terrie was Debbie’s best friend from my earliest memory. I have no idea how they met or when they met mainly because I never asked. Terrie has always been my mother figure and the main reason I have any Debbie memories at all. I was born 2 days after Terrie’s 18th birthday and she is 11 months younger than Debbie so the Debbie was too young to have me argument (you know she was too young to be a mother) never worked on me as Terrie did just fine mothering me! Terrie forced Debbie to attend my school plays and graduations (she attended as well). Terrie even had to badger Debbie to attend my College Graduation which proves some thing’s just never change. Any time Terrie called the Hippy to see me he made it happen! Terrie’s oldest child is three years younger than me and three years older than Niki. When I was 9 or so (Brandon was 6 and Niki was 3) Debbie and Terrie took us to the Astrodome (huge facility) for a car show. Terrie had stepped away for a few minutes and Debbie then went off with some guy or something leaving me in charge of Niki and Brandon (remember I am only 9). I am not sure why I wanted $5 so badly but it may have been to ride the carnival rides and Debbie kept saying no (Terrie tried to not overly interfere when Debbie was around). Well I get it in my head to sell my cute little sister. I really don’t remember the details but some guy walks over to Debbie and Terrie and tell them that I am offering Niki up at $5. He thinks it’s funny (and probably sad but remember, I am 9) and gives me $5 and then takes all of us to the carnival! We even got to keep Niki (who by the way hates this story)! I was a junior bridesmaid in Terrie’s wedding and when I moved in with Debbie and Danny (my last step-dad) after my dad left for Jamaica (I was 16/17) I saw Terrie daily. I would walk / drive to Terrie’s every day after school and eat since Debbie never sent me to school with money and I didn’t work as I was Niki’s after school babysitter. Terrie’s Nanny (she had two very young kids at this point) would have lunch ready for me every day at 3:30 and I would play with the babies before I had to go home and watch Niki (she rode the bus and didn’t arrive till 5). I lived with her for about a year when I was 18 and she has always been the second person I reach out to for any nurting (my husband is the first). When I texted her about the news of my Hippy slowly dying her response was “whatever you need I am here”! It’s also important to note that after the car show incident the Hippy never sent me without money again!