our new family
January 10, 1998,
Dad walked inside the house and Grace asked “how did the search for a school for Alanna go?” He sighed as he took off his sunglasses and said “I am more concerned the paparazzi waiting outside the school all day just to get a picture of her!!!” She asked “so what’s your plan B?” He said “I wanted her to be around kids her age but; I guess homeschooling is the only choice.”
I walked into the room and said “hi daddy; am I going to start school soon?” He said “not until next year silly!!!” He looked over at Grace and said “even the teachers didn’t treat me like they would any other parent. They treated me like a superstar….think of how they would be if AJ was in their classroom and all just because she is my daughter!!!” Grace said “yeah; homeschooling seems like the best fit.”
Dad walked up to me and asked “do you want to have school here with me AJ?” I said “I want to have classroom though daddy!” He said “we’ll set up one in a spare room for you and when Prince gets old enough he’ll have school in there too!!” I said “okay then.” He asked “where’s my hug?” I pulled away and said “I don’t want to!!!” I went into another room and he said “I think she’s mad at me!” Grace said “she’ll forget about it by the time kindergarten comes; don’t worry about it Michael!!!” He said “I tried…I really wanted her to go to a real school!!!”
February 13, 1998,
Today is Prince’s 1st birthday and Dad invited my grandparents over. By the time they arrived I was already going crazy because of all the candy I had eaten. Dad hugged both of them and we all sat down at the table. Dad passed Prince to grandma and she said “hi birthday boy!!!” Dad said “it was so cute, yesterday he walked for the first time!!!” I kissed grandma on the cheek and she said “wow; and AJ will be 4 years old next month!!!” He said “that makes me want to cry…4 years old!!!” I hugged him and said “I love my daddy!!!” He said “I have to give you your medicine.” Grandma asked “what does she need medicine for?” He put the pill in my hand and said “she has ADHD.” She said “oh wow; I can’t believe that and the behavioral issues!!!” He said “she is defiantly a handful; but I love her just the way she is!”
I walked over to Prince and said “I love you brother.” Grandpa asked “are you ready to have three kids Mike?” Dad said “it probably won’t sink in that there are three of them for a few weeks.” He lit the candles on Prince’s cake and asked “AJ do you want to blow out the candles for Prince?” I said “yes; because he’s just a baby.”
Afterwards, Dad gave Prince a piece of the cake and he started to eat it. Prince said “Dada” and I stood next to his highchair. While dad was trying to take a picture of us Prince smeared his frosting covered hand all over the side of my face. All of us laughed as I jumped back and dad said “good thing you have really short hair AJ, it will be easy to get it out of your hair!!!” He looked at me as I was about to sneeze and said “oh no!!!” I sneezed all over the front of my shirt and he sarcastically said “that’s great….frosting mixed with snot!”
April, 3, 1998,
Dad hand just gotten home after my sister Paris’s birth and was feeding her. I walked up to him and said “she’s cute daddy!” He said “I know, look at her tiny toes.” I sat down next to him and asked “how come she had blood all over her when you brought her home?” He said “well; I didn’t want anyone to take a picture of her and sell it for money.” I asked “what was it like when I was born?”
He said “I was so happy when I saw you for the first time, I started crying! For a newborn baby you had a lot of hair. When you opened your eyes and I saw that they were the same color as mine it made me so happy.” I asked “who is my mommy?” He paused to think and said “you don’t have a mommy.” I said “oh, okay.” I walked away and he took a sigh of relief. I think Dad knows that there will come a point where that whole you don’t have a mommy thing won’t work anymore and he is going to have to tell me! He stood up and kissed Paris on the forehead.
April, 5, 1998,
I was in my bedroom when Dad yelled “it’s time for dinner AJ!” I walked downstairs and sat at the table. He put a plate in front of me and I asked “why did you give me potatoes?” He gave Prince a bite from his plate and said “because you need to eat them.” I said “I don’t want too!” He said “you’re going to eat that AJ!” I started to wine and asked “why?” He said “because I said you need to!” I gave him an angry look and he said “go on…eat.” I pushed the plate away and said “I don’t want it daddy!” He took Paris out of Grace’s arms and said “I don’t care Alanna, you’re eating those potatoes!” He took the plate and put it back in front of me.
Dad went upstairs to put the babies to bed while I sat at the table staring at the food. Then he sat down next to me and asked “why don’t you want them?” I didn’t say anything and he said “it tastes just like French fries.” He fed me a bite and said “see it isn’t bad!!!” I asked “do I have to eat all of that”?” He said “I’ll make a deal with you; three more bites and you can be finished.” I reluctantly ate my last few bites and he brought over a cookie. I said “they did kind of taste like fries!” He smiled and said “it’s time for bed, let’s go.”
April, 12, 1998,
Dad had just come downstairs after taking a nap and was surprised that it was calm. He walked into the living room and saw that my face was pale. He asked “Grace; what’s wrong with AJ?” She said “I’m not sure!” He picked me up and asked “what’s a matter Alanna?” I looked at him and gave him a hug. Grace said “maybe she needs to go to the bathroom!” I shook my head no and he said “you have to tell me what’s wrong so I can help you.”
Before I had the chance to answer, I threw up all over him. Grace ran to grab some paper towels and Dad started to gag. He took off his shirt and said “it’s okay Alanna; we’ll clean it up!!!” I said “daddy I want to take a nap!” He said “you have to take a bath first.” I said “okay…I don’t feel good!!!” He said “I know honey; just go upstairs and wait for me.” I said “I want you to carry me up there daddy!” He picked me up and took me upstairs. I said “I’m sorry that I threw up daddy!” He said “don’t be sorry, it’s not a big deal!!!” I asked “then why were you going to puke?” He said “it’s been a long time since I’ve had to clean that up.”
April 13, 1998,
It was 9 o'clock in the morning and dad came in my room to wake me up. I was still fast asleep when he walked up to my bed and sat down. My eyes opened and he asked "how do you feel? Do you still feel sick?" I said "yeah; but I don't want to throw up again." He said "I know you don't, I want you to get better soon!" I said "I wish you would let me eat something because I'm really hungry daddy!" He sighed and said "if I give you something other than soup to eat you are going to get sick again." He kissed the top of my head and walked out of the room.
I sat in my room watching movies and drifting in and out of sleep while dad was downstairs with my brother and sister. Every once in a while he would come up to my room to check on me but, I really started to feel lonely. I must have watched 20 Disney movies over the course of two days. Grace spent most of her time doing laundry and washing dishes. I know that I was sick but I started to feel as if they had forgotten about me and I started to wonder if I would ever get better. I am only four years old and to me two days fell like an eternity!
April 16, 1990
I'm feeling much better than I have been these last few days and I was definitely getting back to my old ways. In a way, I think dad liked having a break from my usual antics. I was up in my room for so long that when I was allowed to come back downstairs it was like someone had pumped me full of sugar because of all the energy I had. Between the two of them; Grace and dad wanted to rip their hair out because of me.
I was sitting on the couch just as dad was carrying Prince downstairs after his nap and he put him on the ground next to my pile of Legos. I saw him starting to play with them and I decided that I would play with him too. I started to build a house and all the sudden Prince took the blocks that I was about to use and wouldn't let me have them back. Dad was looking the other way so I hit Prince over the head with one of the large red Legos that I had in my hands. Dad looked over to see what was going on and took the block away from me. He said "you know that's not nice, he's just a baby, he doesn't know any better!" I said "but I had it first daddy!"
He picked me up and put me back on the couch. He said "I'll read you a book while Prince plays with the Legos. I said "you mean while he plays with my Legos!" He said "things aren't just yours anymore you have to share with you brother and sister when she gets old enough! Don't call things just yours because nothing is just yours anymore!" I said "but you bought those before Prince was even born so; they are mine if you think about it!" He said as he sat down "I'm not going to argue with you about sharing, that's just how it's going to be and that's that!" I started jumping up and down and accidentally kicked dad in the back of the head. He looked at me and said "listen; I realize that you've been up in your room for a long time and that you are excited to be out but… You need to call down!"
May 22, 1998,
Earlier today dad asked me to come with him somewhere, so we got in the car and one of the bodyguards drove us to a lake. Dad helped me get out of the car and we sat down at the water's edge. I asked "what are we doing here?" He said "I know I haven't been able to spend a lot of time with you since Paris has been born so, I thought we could just come here and talk for a little while."
I still haven't made the connection between us talking and why going to the lake was so significant. He looked over at me and asked "so how's life?" I said "okay I guess, I love my brother and sister but sometimes, I just wish it was me and you again. He said "you know one thing you'll always have that your brother and sister won't?" I looked at him puzzled and asked "what?" He said "you'll always be my first born! The first one I ever fed, the first diaper I ever changed, and the first one I ever send to until they fell asleep." I said "I love you so much daddy!" He said "I'll always love you more!"
April 20, 1998,
Today is Easter Sunday and we had already gotten up. I was looking through my Easter basket when dad said "I want you to go out into the backyard and see what's out there for you!" I walked up to the sliding glass door and couldn't believe what I was looking at. There was a giant blowup bouncy Castle held up by stakes in the ground. I looked up at him and said "that's so cool! Can I go jump in it?" He opened up the door and said "go-ahead!"
I ran outside and climbed inside the bouncy Castle. There were pink, blue, and yellow plastic Easter eggs scattered all over. I started to open them up and every once in a while I would come across an egg with quarters or one dollar bills inside them instead of pieces of candy.
While I was jumping around inside the bouncy house dad walked up to the doorway and took his shoes off. He asked "do you mind if I come in?" I said "come on daddy!!!" He climbed in and took off his fedora hat. I said "hey; your socks don't match." He said "yeah I know, I did that on purpose!" There was a basketball hoop hanging on the wall and dad tossed foam basketballs into it. He picked me up and asked "do you want to slamdunk one of them?" I said "of course I do… That's awesome!" After I threw the ball in I hung on to the hoop suspended in midair for a few seconds.
May 1, 1998,
Ever since Prince has been able to walk he has been getting on my nerves. Before then I didn't have to worry about sharing any of my toys with anyone but; now Prince is always getting into everything. I try to be as patient as possible with him but after a while of him taking toys away from me I start to get irritated. Unfortunately every time I start to get mad dad shows up at the wrong time, which of course makes me look bad.
I was in the play room with Prince watching a movie and playing with my action figures. Prince wanted to grab one of them and that just so happened to be my favorite one. I said "here Prince you play with this one instead!" I passed it to him and he threw it across the room. He insisted on having the one that I was playing with but I refuse to give it to him and that's when dad showed up. Dad asked as he knelt down to my level "why aren't you sharing with him?" I said "I was trying to buy a he didn't want to use any of them besides the one I was playing with already!" He looked down at the Batman figure I was holding and said "if you let him play with it for a little while you can have it back because he has to take a nap soon!"
After he had brought Prince upstairs to take a nap, he came back down and sat in the living room with me. He said "listen I know you don't like to share with Prince but, he's still a baby and he just wants to be like you because you're the older sister!" I said "but he doesn't know anything about Star Wars, Batman, and Spiderman because he's too little so; I can't really play action figures with him." He said "yeah but you could teach him about all that stuff! That's the cool thing about having a little brother. I asked "can I watch the Star Wars, Batman, and Spiderman movies with him?" He said "maybe next year; I think he's too young right now… It might scare him." I asked "you mean the bad guys, like the Joker?" He said "yeah; you used to be scared of him too!"
May 6, 1998,
I went looking for dad because I couldn't find him. Grace was busy trying to get Prince to go to sleep and trying to make sure that he didn't wake up Paris. First I ended up checking in dad's bedroom to see if he was watching TV but; he wasn't in there. Then it dawned on me check the recording studio that dad had installed on the ranch. I normally wasn't allowed to go down there without asking but, I really missed him and wanted to see him.
I walked down the paved pathway and into the recording studio. I knocked on the door before I walked in and he told me that it was okay to come in. I sat down on a swivel office chair and he asked "what's up AJ?" I said "I'm really bored; I want something to do!" He said "well; you could clean your room, like I have been asking you to do for weeks now!" I said "I have too many toys and my room is too big! I can’t clean all that up by myself!" Dad asked "so you're going to leave me to clean up your mess, like you always do?" I didn't answer him but I think he knew asking me to clean my room was almost like mission impossible because of my oppositional defiance disorder and ADHD!"
I asked while trying to change the subject "what are you doing in here anyways?" He said "I'm working on some new music." I got up from the chair that I was sitting in and went over to the soundboard. I was about to touch one of the buttons when he said "oh no you don't want to touch that because it could mess up all the work I've been doing!" I said "I hope it'll be a while before the CD comes out because I want you to stay home for a long time and not go anywhere!" He said "don't worry; I don't have any plans of going anywhere soon!"
About 20 minutes later; Grace frantically swung the door open and said "there you are… I've been looking everywhere for you AJ, you should've told me you were going to come down here! I had no idea where you were!" Dad looked at me disappointed and said "this is a big place; you could've gotten lost! You need to tell us before you go anywhere! I want you to go to your room and think about what you've done!" As I walked away with my head slumped down dad said "I'm sorry Grace, I had no idea she didn't ask you to come down here!" She said "it's all right; I figured you didn't know. I came downstairs and was going to make her lunch but, I couldn't find her anywhere! She has never gone anywhere without asking for permission and none of the other staff members had seen her! I was only upstairs for about 15 minutes before she disappeared! That really scared me; this place is really big she could have been anywhere. I could of been searching for hours and still not have found her!" He nodded his head and said "next time I'll make sure that you know where she is!"
June 7, 1998,
Dad was sitting in his study reading a book when there is a knock at the door. He looked through the peephole in the door and was shocked to see Joseph standing on the other side. He slowly opened the door and asked "why are you here? I didn't invite you!" He said "I thought I would come to visit you guys because I haven't seen you in a while!" Dad reluctantly let him inside and they sat at the breakfast table. I didn't know that my grandfather was here and ran up to dad to ask him a question.
I remember Joseph looking down at my short haircut and saying "why is she dressed like a boy Michael?" I looked up at him and dad said "she's a tomboy; that's what she likes to wear! You don't have a problem with that do you? I asked "can I please have something to eat?" He said "in a little while okay? Dinners going to be ready soon and I don't want you to ruin your appetite." I ran off to play in the other room and Joseph said something that I'll never forget! He asked "she's the bad one; right?" Dad got very defensive and said "first of all she not a bad kid, second of all… Don't you ever talk that way my one of my children again!"
Joseph got up from his chair and arrogantly asked "why; what are you going to do about it Michael? You're the one setting your kid up to be gay!" Dad bit his lip and said "just because she likes boy’s things and dresses like a boy; doesn't mean she's going to end up being gay and even if she was… I would be supportive, I will be there for her and I would love her for who she is! You shouldn't be talking about being able to love your kids because all you ever did my entire childhood was use me for money and work me until I couldn't handle it anymore!" Joseph said "I was a good father to you, if it wasn't for me you wouldn't be where you are today! If you ask me; all that kid of yours needs is a good beating just like I used to give you. If she was my kid I would have put her in her place a long time ago! Instead you raise her to be out of control and spoiled! She's going to end up just like you… an ungrateful child!"
I looked around the corner and all of the sudden dad had punched Joseph as hard as possible he could; knocking him to the ground! I knew he had punched him hard because you could hear the sound of dad's fist hit Joseph's face! The look on Joseph's face was priceless. I don't think he could comprehend how hard dad had actually hit him. I didn't even think dad had that in him. I know dad wouldn't have done that if it hadn't had anything to do with one of us!
Then dad looked down at Joseph and said "I'll be proud if my kids end up like me because I'm a good person and I put people before myself. As for any of my children turning out spoiled; I teach them that money is not important! I teach them to love people, for who they are, not what they have or what they could take from them! I know AJ may not be the most well behaved kid out there but; I will love her for who she is and I will never stop loving her because she's my child and you should love your children unconditionally no matter what they do! I don't have to nor will I ever lay one single finger on any of my children other than in a loving way! I don't ever want any of my children to be scared of me in any way because I know exactly how it feels to be scared of your father… And get the hell out of my house before I show you what a real beating feels like!"
I was so surprised see this side of my father; he is a lover not a fighter. All I thought about him in that moment was that he was a real-life Superman and I'll never forget that! I don't think dad ever knew that I saw him punch Joseph. If he knew that I was standing right there I know he wouldn't have done it!
June, 30, 1998
Today's been a good day; I haven't gotten in trouble once. These days are few and far between but, as you can imagine dad is relieved! It shocked him this morning because he didn't have to wake me up this morning like he normally does! Even though I'm four years old I like to sleep in and if someone wakes me up before I'm ready it throws off my whole day!
I was outside near all the amusement park rides and dad was fixing the laces on Prince's shoes. Dad said "come here Alanna please." I walked over to him and he said "I can't believe how good you are being today! Do you want to go swimming?" I said "no; I wish we to go to the movie theater!" Dad said "will have to make a plan next week to go see a movie. I asked "why can't we go now?" He said "because if we leave now all the fans will block the streets and it will be dangerous. I don't want you to get hurt!" I said "I just want to do something fun!" He said "we can do something fun; we just have to do it here… at least for now. I'm really sorry; I wish it was that easy to go out but; you could always go to the movies with Grace!"
My father's famous and that has always been hard on me. There are more days when I just wish that I could go out in public with him without wearing a mask! I think after I turned four years old I started to realize that even though he tries his best, we don't have a normal life and we'll never have normal life! I know it's not his fault so I never complain about it but; I always wonder what it would be like if he wasn't Michael Jackson the superstar! Don't get me wrong; I love my life, sometimes I just wish he wasn't as popular as he is! Even if he was still a superstar, we could still somewhat enjoy doing things that most parents do with their children! I do love my life though because let's face it; what kids wouldn't want a zoo in their backyard?
September 5, 1998,
I woke up this morning and dad was in my room. He asked "are you excited because tomorrow is your first day of school?" I said "yeah; I still kind of wish that I could go to school with other kids instead of staying home!" He picked me up and said "I know that but; it safer if you stay home. It will be fun; I promise you that!" He put me down and said "I got you something; hanging on it me go get it in my room."
He came back and passed me a plastic bag. He said "go-ahead; open it!" I looked inside and pulled out a Spiderman backpack. I said "this is the one that we saw at the store that I asked you for!" I opened it up and inside was a whole bunch of notebooks, with a pencil case and folders. I hugged him and said "thank you so much!" He said "you're welcome; does that help makes the idea of school here at the house a little more fun?" I said "just a little bit, but it is cool!"
September 6, 1998
The teacher that dad hired to homeschool me showed up a few hours ago and she was testing me on different skills. Then she opened the door and told me that we were finished. She looked at dad shocked and said "I can't believe it; that's so unreal!" He looked at her and said "why; what happened?" She said "I know that you've been teaching her to read early; but I didn't expect that! I passed her a book that she'd never read before and she tested at a second grade reading level! In my opinion; she is actually better than most second graders!" Dad said "I knew she could read but; I didn't think she could read books made for an eight-year-old! She's only a few months away from being five… That's crazy!"
I looked up at dad and asked "did I do good?" He smiled and said "better than good!" The tutor's name is Mary and she said "I guess I'm going to have to buy some bigger books for her to read! I didn't come as prepared as I thought I did!" Dad said "I guess having her sound all those words out when I would read her book paid off! How did the other tests turn out?" She said "she is average when it comes to math and I was surprised to see that she knew the names of all the planets. She doesn't know which name belongs to which planet but half the time I don't even remember myself!" Dad looked stunned and said "I knew she was advanced for her age but; I didn't know she was that far ahead!" She said "I think it would be better if she did this thing called "self-taught teaching" because she can read so well!" He asked "what's that?" She said "basically; you give her one of these workbooks and she fills them out by herself. It will help her learn the information better if someone isn't teaching it to her because she's teaching it to herself!" He asked "so are you telling me that in all reality she doesn't technically need a teacher?" She shook her head yes and said "just as long as there's someone here to help her if she has a question. I really don't think she needs me here; plus with her ADHD it will help her learn to focus!" He said "well; okay then, I guess I'll call you when my other two kids are old enough for school!"
After Mary had left dad looked down at me and said "you're such a smarty-pants! I have to go find out where to get those workbooks from?"