A story of a mother helping her family grow stronger. 

By Gilbert Quinones


DISCLOSURE: This story contains traumatic details. I am sharing it in hopes that it will help people understand how vital a child’s intuition can be and that it can be helpful for self-development. I’m grateful I can reflect on my childhood, articulate my experiences, and share these stories.

Although it contains some harsh details, it is not intended to be about my father and shed light on his mistakes because I forgave him and moved forward. Instead, it’s intended to be more about my amazing stepfather and supermom. Today is a day that all moms should be honored.

If your mom has passed, I am sending lots of love your way, and know she is with you and lives in you and through you. Sometimes, it saddens me to think we all have an expiration date. I have one of those crazy minds that believes in Einstein’s theory that time is relative to the person who’s experiencing it. And Stephen Hawking’s theoretical principle that space and time together form a space-time continuum. I believe that once we exist in this universe, our consciousness continues in this universe and lives forever. 

Whether your mom looks over you as an angel or right before you. I hope your supermom lives in your heart and the love you share is infinite.

To all the hard-working, protective, and loving supermothers out there. 

Thank you for being you.


It’s February 1, 2015, and it’s been 30 years since I have seen my biological father.

I did not know him well. The last time I saw him was when I was 7; before that, my parents divorced for two years.

After the divorce, I remember every single visit.

If I had to describe my relationship with him, I would say one word, “distant.” As I reflect, I realize that kids can have strong intuition. I was more of a momma’s boy, and I think how I saw him treat my mother caused me to be distant. 

So when I saw him for the first time in 30 years, it was a pretty big deal. It was the first time I would meet my biological father as a grown man.

He knew his time remaining was limited, and he had asked to see me and my son for the first time in 30 years.

That took a lot of guts, and I respected that, so my son, who was 16 then, and I went to his house for about two hours.

As we left, my son was in the car with my big brother and nephew.

As I was saying a final goodbye, my father looked into my eyes and said, “Sorry.” He would pass away a few months later.

He didn’t specify what he was sorry about and didn’t have to.

I forgave him, hugged him, and said goodbye.

He left this world with a good moral compass despite his past mistakes.

When I tell this story, it is not intended to revive painful memories for those who were part of it.

Instead, it’s meant to help those who can benefit from it and recognize my supermom.

And if there is a struggling mom who is reading this and may be in an abusive relationship, I hope it inspires you to have the strength to make a change if necessary.

What if my mother had the opportunity to read someone’s story and understand the magnitude of the repercussions of not getting out of an abusive relationship?

It took courage from her. 

And I am grateful that she had that courage.



When I was 5, I did not grow up with kids close to my age. Between my mother, older brother, and sister, I had the benefit of being able to look up to all their strengths. Even all my close cousins were also older. Since everyone was older than me, I was observant and used to see everything. My nickname became ears. Because I always knew what was going on in adult conversations. I was naturally quiet, but when I got to know you, I asked hundreds questions.

My father was sometimes abusive towards my mother when he drank. This is not intended to bash him; as I mentioned above, he became a mature, peaceful man who played the guitar. But like many humans, we have flaws during our younger years.

My parents were divorced, and my father moved out. I was much closer to my mother. Either I was too young to remember my relationship with him, or as crazy as it may sound, I think I was naturally reserved and quiet because of how he treated my mother. It was a rough divorce in the beginning because he would still call and harass my mother. For a while, we lived in this house. 

My older brother and sister were around, but they were old enough to be gone and would sometimes leave home. They would go to the old Skate World in Copperas Cove, JWC Franks, or do 80s kid stuff. Many times, they would stay at their friend’s house, and some nights, it was just me and my mother at this house by ourselves.

Sometimes, she would get calls from my father, and I could hear them arguing, and she would hang up crying. My father would occasionally stalk the house and was unpredictable when he drank.

If we were alone, sometimes my mother would get scared after getting a call. One evening, my favorite movie, The Secret of NIMH, was on TV. All the lights were off in the house, probably to save on the electric bill. After my mother got a harassing call, I could tell she was worried and asked me if I wanted to stay at the Cactus Motel that night.

I did not want to leave the house. I remember her telling me that the Cactus has a T.V. and a nice bed. I did not want to leave at night to a strange place. It was unusual for a mother to leave the decision to a 5-year-old whether or not we would stay home, but I knew it was because she wanted us to feel safe. I viewed my mother the same as Mrs. Brisby from the movie because she was always out trying to keep her kids safe. I told my mother I did not want to go to the motel that evening. Reflecting back, I feel bad because even though I felt secure, I knew my mom was scared to stay home that evening.

But as much as I did not understand finances, I somehow knew that we couldn’t stay at hotels every night and felt we would be safe that night.

As the months passed, my mother worked hard and cared for all three of us kids. She eventually started to socialize. I remember seeing some of my mother’s strong woman friends, who were also mothers, Nancy Meadows and Karin Ropple, and I remember a German lady named Liz would sometimes visit after the divorce. 

There is one evening that I will never forget. There’s a certain aspect of peace in writing about it and sharing it with others so they can learn from it. And to my father, who passed, I also remember the good things you did. May peace be with you.

My mom’s good friend Karin was at the house. This was before the name “Karen” had any negative connotation, and she was far from what we call a “Karen,” aka an entitled person these days. She was also a single, hard-working mother who was a corrections officer at Gatesville. She had her two children with her, Jimmy, age 4, and Susie, age 7. Jimmy and Susie were my friends, and I loved when they came over.

My mom and Karin had a few friends over, and it was a small gathering, probably around 10 to 15 people. It was the first time my mother had any type of gathering since the divorce. Since there was music, I considered it a party and loved it. 

I was instructed to stay in my room and keep Jimmy and Susie company. We played forts and set up blankets and sheets, and toys were everywhere.

I would run back and forth to the kitchen to grab juice and snacks for my friends. From the room, we heard Spanish, country, and a variety of other music.

When I left my room that evening, I saw my mother on the phone in her bedroom. 

She was sitting on the bed, and I could hear her tone, and it was not good. “You better not come over!” She was talking to my father. “If you do, I’ll have the police here waiting for you.” I knew he was drunk calling her.

What was my mother supposed to do? Should she have said the party was over and told everyone to go home because she had just received a call from her ex-husband? She was living her life and working hard to take care of us and never had a break.

I think because there were about 10 to 15 adults in the house, she felt safe that nothing would happen that evening. Although I didn’t fully understand, my kid’s intuition knew something was wrong. Since I was instructed to always go to my room when they were fighting, I went back to playing with my friends.

About an hour later, I remember hearing a noise, and I could hear people in their alarmed voices saying that something was going on. I ran outside of my room and into the living room.

The main front door was open, and the screen door was locked. I saw a huge knife, the kind found in kitchen collections, stabbing through the front screen door. It was my father, and although there was a house full of people, he was determined to come inside.

The music stopped, and everyone was screaming. I remember running back to my room, and I could hear the screen door tearing open as I ran down the hall. I remember seeing Jimmy and Susie playing, so I closed my door. I did not want to ruin their time playing, so I ran back to the living room, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was there that I saw my father in the house. He was trying to get my mother and was chasing her around the sofa.

I heard my mother say, “(calling him by his first name) Leave me alone!”

Nobody was doing anything, and I remember the feeling that I wanted to run and jump in front of my mom. All I could say was “NO!!”

I had never seen anything like that in my life, not even in the movies and it was hard to process what my eyes were seeing. The only thing I can relate to is from the cartoon Lambert the Sheepish Lion. The only problem was that I was not a big lion yet and was still only around 50 lbs and felt helpless.

Out of all the fully grown men in the house, none of them did anything. Suddenly, my mom’s friend, Karin, intervened and started yelling at my father to stop. Karin then grabbed the house cordless phone. I remember she had no fear in her voice and said sternly, (calling him by his first name) I’m calling the police! With her chin high and the phone to her ear. It did not end well for her because my father bear whacked her, and it ripped her earring out of her ear while the phone hit the wall. 

He then proceeded to stomp on the phone until it was in pieces. I remember seeing the antenna bent and the phone’s circuit board falling out. No one was calling the police on that phone.

My father then recognized one of the males in the house as my mom’s boyfriend and chased him out of the house and all the way down the street. The now ex-boyfriend would later say that he was trying to lead him away from the house, but I remember watching my big brother’s expression, and it was apparent that the ex-boyfriend was not our family protector of the household.

I don’t know if the neighbors called the cops, but they were soon at the house, and my father took off. 

By this time, Jimmy and Susie knew something was going on with all the commotion. Susie said she was frightened, and I remember telling her very animatedly, “IT’S OKAY! Umm, my dad had a knife, but the police are here! And there’s army men all around the house with machine guns!”

That last part was a lie, but I wanted to make her feel better. There were, in fact, a ton of cops at the house, and the gathering was over.

Later that evening, Mom picked me up and sat me on the counter and started to explain to try and calm me, but I interrupted her. “Mom, I KNOW! I know what happened, and he was drunk and had a knife. I know it’s okay, Mom. I know everything that happened!”

She didn’t say a word and just hugged me.

3 Years Later 

For the next 2-3 years, my mother would struggle as a single parent, but we were always happy. It was a rough time for my mom those years, but she healed and grew stronger. I didn’t care, nor did I understand that we were on food stamps.

I did not care when we had to move into a smaller house because I was happy no matter where we lived as long as I was with my family.

My mother would eventually find the man who she was meant to be with. 

My biological father lived across the country, many states away, and began living a peaceful life. There was no longer any communication from him. He would eventually remarry and become a much wiser man. My big brother stayed in contact with him, but other than that, our family moved on and lived in a loving household.

The man my mother married in 1986 is an amazing man from Minnesota named Darrell. He was stationed at Fort Hood and was an electrician for Apache helicopters. 

Darrell would open and close the car door for her every time so she could get in and out. Seeing my mother happy made me happy. I remember watching them practicing two-stepping to country songs in the living room.

After they married, Darrell would say to my mother, “This song fits us perfectly.”

I’m grateful to have been able to observe the two-step early because it made me a heartthrob to country gals in my later years.

But I was just happy to see my mother happy.

To give you some context on how amazing this man was to us, here are just a few of the generous things Darrell did.

  • One day, they came home, and I saw Wal-Mart bags. He reached into one of the bags and handed my brother a Nintendo entertainment system in the box. The kind that came with the light gun, two controllers, Mario, and Duck Hunt. There was no occasion, and he just said, “Here.” He was giving it to us kids, and my big brother picked it up and said, “Alright!” and started making trumpet noises and marching around the house with the box over his head, “Dun dun dun, da!” We were so happy. 
  • He took me to Minnesota twice in the summer, and I caught a huge Northern Pike. 
  • He came to all my soccer games.  
  • He took my big brother on a winter hunting trip to Minnesota, and my brother got two big deer. 
  • He had a red car, the only thing he bought himself before marrying my mother, and he gave it to my sister as a graduation present. We ended up living in a house behind the Copperas Cove Bulldawg stadium, and I watched them from the backyard as he taught her to drive manual transmission in the empty stadium parking lot. 
  • He was a grandpa to all our kids.

He is an amazing man, and I’m grateful he came into our lives. My little brother Joseph was soon born and made our family complete.

When I asked him if he wanted the baby to be a girl or boy, he answered, “I just want the baby to be healthy, and it doesn’t matter.” 

There was no more arguing. Of course, all married couples occasionally argue, but when they did, we viewed it as “lightweight arguing” because it was nothing compared to what we had observed.

It was kind of funny because when Darrell would yell my mom’s name for her to come help him, he would say it loud, almost as if it was one syllable: “Tereza!”  Although my mom’s name has three syllables, Teresa, I never could explain why it was funny.

My mom would always respond, why are you yelling lol?


The Phone Call

My mother became tough, and I remember seeing her change. I remember when I was 8. My stepdad, Darrell, took us out to some property we had at the time. He had a 35-caliber hunting rifle that he let me and my mom shoot.

Of course with me, I had his close supervision because that rifle was a big ole cannon to me. I remember how hard it kicked and how important it was to hold it against my shoulder when firing to help prevent getting a bruise. One shot, and I was done firing.

At the time, we lived in a house with a one-car garage conversion. It was me, my older sister and brother, stepdad and mom, and my little brother Joseph, who was on his way. 

I watched how my mother changed because of everything she went through. She became tough. She would still always speak in a sweet, professional tone to people. But when I was in trouble, she would use her deep voice, and that’s when I knew she was serious. However, she has always been very loving to us all.

It was in this house when, one evening, we received a phone call. Some man called our house and told my mom that he was coming over to harm us. He said, “I know where you live, and I know what you look like.”

For anyone reading this who did not grow up in the 80s (or prior), this was before *69 was available outside of metropolitan areas, and there was no caller ID. You had to call the police to have a call traced, and it was a process. In those days, there were many more prank calls, and we did not call the police for every prank call because, many times, it could just be kids messing around.  

It was kind of normal to get prank calls occasionally of someone breathing and trying to scare people. But based on my mom’s tone, this one was serious. It was a man claiming to know details of what my mom looked like and where she lived, and he was saying he was coming over now to harm us.

My mother and I were home alone, and my brother had a few friends in his room. In those days, when loved ones left the house, there were no cell phones to call them.

It wasn’t a big deal because it was normal. If a family member went to the store or left to run an errand, their status changed to “they’re not home.” There was no texting if they got delayed or forgot something at the store.

So my stepdad Darrell and big brother Tito were not home that evening. 

When the man called threatening us, it was a big deal because it was just me and my mother. Although my brother had 2 or 3 friends over in the garage conversion room, my mother thought it was my big brother in his room.

I remember walking into my mom’s room when she got the call. She was standing with her hand on her hip, saying. “Yeah!? You come on then, come on over! I’ll be waiting for you.”

For me, it was like a PTSD event that was happening again.

But for my mom, she has been through hell. My mom then went to the garage conversion room, which was my big brother’s room, and called for him, “Tito!?”

His friends said, “he’s not here.”

One of his close friends, Greg, was at the house often and came up to the kitchen to see what was going on. Greg was a husky, big black Panamanian kid around 16. He participated in teen powerlifting competitions and played football. If you grew up in Copperas Cove, you may recall hearing the cheers for the Bull Dawgs and the Jordan brothers, Anthony and Greg’s, names were often heard during the radio game broadcast.

After my mother explained to Greg what happened, I remember asking Greg, “Are you going to beat the man up if he comes over?” Greg was naturally a quiet kid and answered with one word, followed by one head nod: “Yep.” Greg went back to my brother’s room in the garage conversion, and I waited in the living room. My mom and I were grateful he was at the house that evening.

As a safety precaution, my mother decided to get the 35-caliber hunting rifle out. I wanted to help, so she told me, “If something happens when I tell you to load the gun, you load it for me. Okay?” 

Me, “Okay”

These days, there are meme videos that make fun of people when they screw up, and it quotes, “You had one job.” That sums up how I can describe it as I reflect back. I did not want to screw up loading the gun; it was my only job. So I sat on the couch with the rifle leaned up against the couch next to me and the bullets on the end table and some on the couch so I could quickly grab them.

It was dark around 6 pm. Cartoons from Nickelodeon were on, and the channel would change to Nick at Night shows. I hated bedtime. It sucked. So when daylight savings made it dark early, it made me feel like I was staying up later because there was more night.

But tonight, I was kind of scared. I remember looking at the windows and doors and imagining how quickly I needed to load the gun for my mother if someone started breaking in.

As I sat on the couch, I suddenly heard the door shaking and someone trying to get in. Boom, boom, boom!

I quickly stood up, grabbed the rifle, and started loading a shell from the side. The door was shaking, and I could hear banging. Boom, boom, boom!

I couldn’t believe this was happening. The floor was a pier-and-beam foundation house, and I could feel the banging in my bare feet against the hardwood floor.

My mom came power walking down the hall quickly coming towards me. My adrenaline was pumping as I was trying to load the rifle, and my hands were shaking so much that I got the 2nd bullet stuck as I was trying to push it into the gun chamber.

Suddenly, as my mom came walking fast toward me, she said (in her deep voice), “He’s here, give me the gun!”

She grabbed the rifle out of my hand so fast and hard it hurt my finger. She grabbed the bullets from my hand and the ones on the couch and started walking away while loading the weapon.

As she walked to the door with the rifle in hand, my big brother’s friend Greg came around the corner and was right behind her, heading to the front door.

Boom, boom, boom! The door started shaking even more vigorously, and they were trying to come inside.

Then, all of a sudden, a man’s voice yelled,


I was so relieved, it was Darrell!

My mom said, “It’s Darrell!” as she took a deep breath and opened the door.

Darrell walked in and looked puzzled as he saw my mom with the 35-caliber rifle in hand and Greg standing by her.

My mom told him, “Why are you banging on the door?” We just had a call from a man who said he was coming over to kill us!” My stepdad Darrell felt so bad that he was knocking on the door hard, and we were all so relieved that it wasn’t a killer.

We had never locked the door before, but because of that phone call, we locked it, and that’s the reason Darrell was banging, because he was confused that he couldn’t get in his house.

Although we had a false alarm, I realized something that day.

My mom was like the lady from the Terminator.

She did not hesitate or get scared. She immediately jumped into action. My little finger was sore for days as she quickly grabbed the rifle from me as it was stuck in the cocking lever.

But I didn’t care. I was proud of my mom and how courageous of a woman she had become. I witnessed how quickly she was ready to protect us.

From that day forward, I always felt a sense of peace knowing that no one was coming into our house.

I have never told you, but Thank You…


  • Greg Jordan – I’ll never forget how you clinched your fist and arms cocked out wide as you walked past me when I was struggling to load the rifle, and you were ready to have my mom’s back when we thought someone was trying to break in our house. Thank you.


  • Karin Ropple – I remember it was you, who tried to do “something” that evening to try and help my mom. You represent the courage of a protective mother’s instincts not to be afraid and to stand strong. THANK YOU.   Edit: At the time of writing this, I was unaware that Karin recently passed on November 26, 2023. My deepest condolences to the Ropple family. She will always be remembered. RIP  


  • Stepdad Darrell – Thank you for taking care of us, for not being a dictating stepdad, for always being kind, and for answering all of my thousands of questions. 


  • My Mother – Words can not express my gratitude for you giving me life and staying strong through all the rough times. Thank you for having the courage to act when change was needed and being a supermom to us all.   

Final Thoughts

If you are a new mom reading this, you may not realize it, but you probably have a Terminator inside of you. Sometimes, moms change, and sometimes, moms know when it’s time for change.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the supermoms out there.

Thank you for everything.