Seven Years in…..somewhere

July 25, 2008 at 7:25 am (Uncategorized)

Thinking back to seven years ago, almost to the date:

Ben and I are sitting in a Mexican restaurant on Valleydale Road, a place where six years later my friend Melissa the Public Defender and I will get food poisoning. Ben and I are eating cheese dip and I casually say, “I think I’m pregnant again.”

“Wow. Okay then. Did you get a test?”

“No, but I feel pregnant. So I think so.”

“Well, get a test on the way home then, okay?”

July 2001. To keep my son in the very nice child care center he’s been in since 10 weeks of age, I am volunteering in the kitchen, kind of working as the kitchen manager until I find a job with a paycheck. They’re being generous letting me do this. I’ve quit my job with a bank that doesn’t even exist today. I’ve survived what was very clearly to us Living Hell. I’ve had a major manic episode that neither of us was smart enough to see coming. After some very truly awful things happening, including inappropriate behavior on my part, horribleness from my husband and I both in equal measure, and me nearly losing my job before quitting it, I snap out of it.

We both know that day in the Mexican Restaurant that life is going to change. Having made it through the separation and near-divorce, near-bankruptcy, police coming to the house, and having our poor infant son in the middle of everything, we understand that it’s time to grow up and think of the future for real. Not just pay it some respects.

That night we have confirmation that little Alex is growing inside me. Just six weeks or so after we are putting our lives back together, we’re thrown a little curve ball (I have the opposite of a fertility problem). I spend several nights in the ER with strange bleeding and take lots of progesterone. I start a new job and don’t tell them I’m pregnant because I really need the job at the time (plus it was none of their business right then). A few days later the U. S. is attacked while I am home with Roland, sick with an ear infection and sleeping on the sofa with me. My parents get stranded in Iowa, where my mom has been celebrating her fiftieth birthday with her twin sister. My brother is…well, I know what my brother was doing that day but I’ll never tell. I’m a good sister that way.

A few days after that I am walking downtown from my office to the Cathedral of St. Paul for a special Mass. We sing “Finlandia” and I cry, and it becomes my favorite song. I trip and fall because I am stupid, wearing wedge sandals and having all the grace of a woman newly pregnant and taking hormones.

Later in September, Roland and I attend one of Ben’s autocross races. I see the daughter of someone who can’t be our friend any more and she comes to talk to me. She’s just turned 10 and we dance around why we can’t all be friends and she plays with Roland.

I’m telling you this because sometimes things seem like they’ll never change. But our lives are not static. Seven years after I had a breakdown and my marriage was on the rock to be sacrificed, I can look back in wonder that we survived. Things were bad. I am fortunate enough to be married to someone who gets angry but isn’t willing to give up. We now have a work-in-progress marriage (which in truth is what marriage is about–working, progressing) that is enriching for us and encouraging for our children–three kids who are fabulously splendid, even when the youngest does yell “nipple!” across the swimming pool so every teenager there can hear it.

I’m proud to be a survivor. There’s no ribbon to put on my car or door that says, “I survived a near-divorce” or “I am surviving my wife’s lifelong psychiatric disorder and will continue to do so until we are both dead.” But I can proudly bear the scars and keep on living this life I’ve chosen, where things are far from perfect but always good enough, and always tinged with love, patience, affection, and respect.



  1. Charnita's Xpressions said,

    thansks, bossy.
    I needed that this morning.
    A lot…..
    glad you survived.

  2. MRMacrum said,

    Wow. A post to remember. Excellent. It seems we all have things to work through, work out, and work with. What’s impressive is you let us peak at what you have to deal with. Thank you.

    “Nipple” – Seems he’s getting the hang of the being a guy thing.

  3. Terri said,

    All of us have very low points. It’s very admirable of you to post yours. You’re a gutsy broad.

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