Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon

Stephanie  taking a break with a Dunkin Donut.
Stephanie taking a break with a Dunkin Donut.

I’m facing a small ethical dilemma and of course those dilemmas involve difficult moral choices that have no easy answers. I just want to make the right choice to help, mainly my daughter, Stephanie.  The next person I want to help from this same situation is my girlfriend who just so happens to live on the Philippine Islands.

On the one hand I desire to take Stephanie to the Philippines with me and live our lives as a happy, peaceful family, so that she knows that people don’t (shouldn’t anyway) disappear out of her life. 

Right now Stephanie and her mom are spending a month together and she seems (we chat once a week on Yahoo Messenger) as though things are going well and she looks happy.  I will pick her up next week and be told all about her stay, I think, and only if she cares to share that with me.

We will take our time on the return trip taking a highway instead of the interstate.  I want Stephanie to experience America’s towns, restaurants away from McDonald’s, and maybe gather an appreciation for America.  I want to show her that the U. S. is not all fast-paced, that there are different small towns and cities with their distinct atmospheres where you don’t need to feel rushed or pressured and instead you can just breathe the U. S. A. with every breath.

When we return home her girlfriend, Sophia, will be so happy!  Sophia has called and her mom has even sent text

Friend Sophia and Steph at Carver Lake
Friend Sophia and Steph at Carver Lake

wondering what Stephanie’s return date will be.  Then we have to get things ready for her upcoming school year.  The beginnings are exciting and filled with wonder, whereas the last days prove to be a relief for her, I think.

But in the meantime, I have corresponded through e-mail and Y/M Instant Messaging with my girlfriend, E.G. 

With daughter's Christina in her arms and Carlyn peeking from bottom of pic.
With daughter’s Christina in her arms and Carlyn peeking from bottom of pic.

Thanks to that, her and I view one another in real-time.   My daughter Stephanie, E.G. and even E.G.’s girls have chatted many times together.  They all seem to mesh happily, but now I need some help, your help!

My sister’s are advising not to take Stephanie with me though I feel deep inside that it would be in Stephanie’s best interest.  One of the reasons cited by them was of course, the education.  Well the Philippines literacy rate is at 93%, and in comparison, Americas literacy rate is 99%.

My little beauty queen, but the most tender and gorgeous is that which cannot be seen...her heart!
My little beauty queen, but the most gorgeous, tender and  compassionate is that which cannot be seen…her heart!

Of course those numbers are insignificant in Stephanie’s case because she is one of the top reader’s in her class and her math skills have also been above average.  She has had swim lessons for 3 1/2 years, violin lessons for about a year and horseback riding lessons until she could trot the horse through the Number Eight sequence.  She was chosen as one of the finalists in the National American Miss Pageant.

Now the next question I ask myself is:  where would she get the best education in junior and senior high school?   That answer would be the Philippines I believe.  The reason for saying that, is because the distractions would not be as great there and from my five years experience on those islands I can attest to the fine attitudes and respect they have for elders and for each other. 

Adding to that air of respect and attitude would be the non-materialistic comments of E.G. I know there would be many in America and around the world who would appreciate that quality.  I went through the school system in the U.S. and I must say that it failed me miserably! Failed, being the operative word: the education system should have failed me at least one year to make consequences real to me! The only consequences suffered for some of my wrong actions was a haphazard thrashing either verbally or physically from my dad.

I think overall the morals of that country are higher and there is a, God, mentality.  God is being revered less and less in America while this country’s problems become more severe.  I have instilled in Stephanie from the time before she was even walking to Love God and to always listen to her heart and conscience before making a decision. 

My sister’s have also warned me about, child sex rings.  But you know what? Sex trafficking of minors is a global problem and that is a problem here in the states as well, case in point:

FBI breaks up US child sex ring

Coordinated raids across 76 US cities rescued 105 children involved in sex trafficking and exploitation, in what is the largest enforcement action against underage prostitution by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The undercover operation launched on Friday resulted in the arrests of 150 pimps over the course of three days. The victims were teenagers aged 13 to 17 years old, authorities said on Monday.

So I don’t really consider that to be an issue.  Then when she turned 18 she would be free to attend college in the states if she would rather, or she could stay in the Philippines; it would be her decision because she has dual citizenship. 

I am certain her mom also wants what would be best for Stephanie and I consider that to be the Philippines attending  an international school there.  However, if those schools should prove to be cost-prohibitive there is always an alternative and in my case that would be a Christian school where some fine scholars are also turned out.  And possibly, she would even like to stay with her mom and her mom with Stephanie?

E. G. holding her niece.
E. G. holding her niece.

Okay so what if something happened to me while in the Philippines, who would care for Stephanie?  The answer to that would of course be E.G. and she speaks and writes English well so there would not be a communication problem and her daughters would be great sisters to Steph because they already look up to her.

Well writing this article helped me somewhat, but I would still love to hear from you and especially Pilipinos and Americans; thank you for your comments.

Stephanie at her mom's place in New York City.
Stephanie at her mom’s place in New York City.

Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.

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