Friday, November 16, 2007

A story

Once upon a time there was a girl. She was a cute girl, not a gorgeous, Most Popular Girl in the School girl, but a good girl nonetheless. She was voted Teacher's Pet her Senior Year and had been called that her entire education career. She got her first C when she was a Freshman and cried for days. Everyone said she should be a teacher. She was in Band and Competitive Speech and was on the Honor Roll and ran for Student Council President (even though she didn't get it). Everyone said she'd really be something. Everyone said she had to go to college and that, boy howdy, would be her ticket to the world. She could do anything, everyone said.


All she wanted to be was a mommy. She wanted her own dream, not the one everyone was dreaming for her. But she took the ACT and even threw in the SAT. She went on an overnight trip to an all-girl's college in Missouri because they had an incredible Drama program and were heavy on the arts. Everyone said that school would make her a wonderful English teacher (and a lesbian, but we won't go there). She enrolled at the junior college in her hometown with a whopping 18 hours her first semester. She didn't declare a major because she wasn't sure what she wanted to be. She started getting horrible headaches from the stress of trying to succeed in something she didn't want. She started skipping classes. She cried a lot. Her momma said she needed college because what if she wound up divorced at 40 with two teenagers and no education? She told her momma that she didn't think that would happen to her. Her daddy said she needed to stay in school because he had gone back to school in his 30's and it wasn't all that much fun. Teachers told her she was making a mistake. She didn't think she was.

So she dropped out of college. She disappointed everyone. Her parents, her teachers, and everyone who said she'd be something. She knew she'd be something, but it wasn't going to be an English teacher.

She went to work in a daycare as the toddler teacher. She was doing what she wanted to do until she could have kids of her own. She loved her job. Then her fiance dumped her and she moved to a college town 3 hours away to get away from everything that reminded her of her failure. She got a good job, thanks to a friend of her mom. She started smoking. She went to the bars and had a good time. Until her ex boyfriend from high school moved down there, too, and started calling her for booty calls and then would kick her out after sex. She missed her momma. So she moved home, got another job as a daytime nanny for some great kids and was still biding her time until she had kids of her own because that..... that was her dream.

She met a man. Not a boy, but a man. He loved her. He sang to her while he was drunk and then he kissed her and held her so tightly and she felt so safe and somehow centered. She fell in love. So did he. Three months later, on an icy New Year's Night, they got married and began their life together. She got a great job as a Pharmacy Technician and thought about going to Pharmacy school, but that was only available at a school 4 hours away and she didn't want to leave her momma again and he didn't want to leave the only place he'd ever lived. She dreamed of all the babies she'd have with him and they were happy.

They decided to start trying to have a baby and found out she wasn't able to have babies like normal people do. She went on fertility pills and the first month they saw two pink lines and they were ecstatic. Her dream was coming true. She quit her job at the hospital and prepared herself for motherhood. Then that dream turned into a nightmare when they found out that their dream, their promise, their baby had died. For five agonizing weeks she carried in her womb, the womb that had failed her, a child that was no longer living. She slipped deeper and deeper into depression before she finally called her doctor and said she needed closure and that the "natural" way of aborting her child wasn't healthy for her. Two days later she was empty and alone and sad and angry. She was very angry. A few months later she went back on the fertility pills because well, that was her dream and no one was going to take that away from her. She was told, after months of failure and disappointment, that she would never have children and they should try to adopt. After crying a boat full of tears and telling her husband that he should leave because she was broken and she was a failure, he held her and told her he wasn't going anywhere and they called the adoption agency.

Then they saw two pink lines. She took hormones to sustain the pregnancy, the pregnancy she wanted so desperately and they had a baby. A beautiful dark baby that looked like a papoose and she was perfect. They were told to love her with everything in them because they'd never have another. And they did. The girl's dream had come true. Not exactly the way she had planned, but she had a baby and a husband and she was happy.

Then their marriage started to fall apart. She was angry, he was angry. They slammed doors and yelled and she cried. The baby cried. And they decided they would get a divorce. The next day they saw two pink lines again and when she asked him what he thought about it he replied, "Well, I guess we aren't getting that divorce, huh?" They had another baby, the surprise blessing they were told they'd never have. A boy. They put on a good show - mommy, daddy, girl and boy. Things got better. She got happy again. Things were rough, but she was happy.

They bought a house in the country and because of a housewarming gift in a black nightie one night after the kids were asleep, they saw two pink lines again in a few weeks. She laughed at the doctor that told her she'd never have any kids. They had another girl. They were happy. They were complete. She was a stay-at-home mommy and her life's dream had been fulfilled. They bought her a van. She was a mom in a van with three kids and a husband and she felt like her life was exactly where she wanted it to be. They had a nice home, toys for the kids and the grownups, she babysat other kids while she raised her own and her heart was full.

Then the kids got bigger and she felt the walls of her house closing in on her because she never left it and she wasn't so happy anymore. She quit babysitting and started college again after 16 years because she didn't know what else to do. Because she lived in the information age, she went to school online while her youngest was still at home. Then her baby started Kindergarten and she got a job and enrolled for another semester of college. She found herself stretched incredibly thin. She was missing out on reading to her kids before bed. She yelled at her kids and made them cry which in turn made her cry. Her kids would start sentences with, "Momma, I know you're busy, but....." and that made her sad. She was struggling to keep her grades up. If she concentrated more on school, she neglected her kids and husband. If she spent more time and energy on her kids, her grades suffered. She began to hate her job. She quit sleeping. She gained 30 pounds. She started getting horrible headaches from the stress of trying to succeed in something she didn't want. Again. She cried a lot. She had a total meltdown one weekend and that got her to thinking - why was she making herself miserable for something she didn't want? She wanted to like her job again, she wanted to read a book that didn't deal with principles of economics she didn't care about, she wanted to make cookies for her kids when they asked, she wanted to sleep in the same bed with her husband. She wanted to write a book.

The girl, who was now a woman in her mid 30's, was tired. She wasn't sure what to do. She cried. She prayed. Others prayed for her. One friend said she'd pray that she would find a way to prioritize better and that offended her. How dare anyone tell her her priorities weren't right? Then she found out that there was a lecture in her night class that she could not miss because she would fail the class if she did. It just so happened that that lecture was on the same night as her daughter's play at school. She cried when she told her daughter that she couldn't go. Her daughter was understanding and said it was okay, but deep down in her heart she knew it wasn't.

She had finally disappointed herself.

And she prayed that God would help her. She literally fell to her knees and asked for help. And when God told her that school would always be there if she needed to go back, but her kids were only going to be 5, 9 and 11 for a little while, she felt a sense of peace literally wash over her and she quit crying. She took a deep breath and she praised the God who had never abandoned her and had been there all the time, but He, too, had been pushed way down the priority list in the midst of her self-centered confusion.

She withdrew from the classes she had enrolled in for the next semester. She bought her daughter roses and asked her husband to give them to their daughter at the play because she couldn't be there and then she apologized a few dozen more times. Her family and she began a countdown - a countdown to when they'd get their momma and wife back. She still felt God's peace and knew that He had had it all under control the entire time - but she had to be knocked down to look up.

The End.

Note: Her lecture was cancelled and she was there to give her daughter the roses in person.


Going Like Sixty said...

Well, you did it. You know how hard it is to reach the heart of a cynic?
Well, you did it.

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

I am oh, so happy for you, my girl!

ummmhello said...

Woooooowwww. That's some story my dear. Real life at it's best. Bless your heart for your honesty, it makes the rest of us feel better for our own shortcomings.
Go on now and enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

Bless you, bless you, bless you. My goodness. You have my prayers. And let me tell you, it takes quite a woman to do what you have done and continue to do. God's never gonna let you go.

Much love.

Rocks In My Dryer said...

That is a really amazing story. Truly. Good for you.

Anonymous said...

How similar the roads run parallel to others who are going through it if only we'd stop to look over a dirt road or two and see them. Same road, different car...

Stewed Hamm said...

This isn't one of those Afterschool Special stories, is it? You know, the ones where you hear about all this horrible crap that people went through and at the end you find out that the girl was Eleanor Roosevelt or something?

Because if it is, I'm gonna have to TIVO DeGrassi if I wanna watch 'em both.

WHIP's said...

you rock

Politically Homeless said...

I know this road well and it is such a difficult one to travel. When I am gone most of the weekend I feel like family life is just passing me by. The kids know in their brains that I am doing something for all of us..but in their hearts?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...