FIVE YEARS since D-Day today!!
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|Thu, 01-19-2006 - 10:49am|
Five years ago today, at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, my life changed forever. I had accidentally discovered my husand’s affair, an affair that I hadn’t a clue existed. My husband had a girlfriend. My HUSBAND had a girlfriend. How? Why??? I realized I wasn’t breathing when I got the kick in the ribs from my baby. Our baby. Our first baby. Resting beneath my now shattered heart, and due to make an appearance 10 short weeks from that day.
A few days later, I found this board. Through this board, I found support, advice, and some very good friends. Through my friends and what I learned from this board, I found….me. This board was my salvation. The website I started because of this board was my therapy. And because of those two things, I started having a life again.
Oh, it wasn’t easy, let me tell you. He sat the fence for nearly 5 months. Swearing he was devoted to fixing what he broke, healing every wound, but secretly trying to keep his OW’s friendship as an insurance policy in case he couldn’t get his old life back. During that time, I cried and raged and threw up and laid in bed staring morosely into space and went power walking at 1:30 in the morning and gritted my teeth at all the well-wishers who smiled at my rounded belly and talked about how there was never a more deserving couple, never a more loving family for a child to be born into. I had to leave the baby shower that my sisters-in-law were holding for me so that I could go throw up in the bathroom. Luckily, when you’re pregnant you can do that and get away with it. No one even suspected that I was shaking and hyperventilating and terrified and wounded to the very core of my heart. Then one day, something amazing happened. My daughter was born.
She was an emergency C-section, but healthy, thank goodness. I didn’t feel an immediate bonding rush for some reason. I remember after the birth, I spend the next few hours painfully learning how to nurse a baby, and it aint easy. You’d think it would be the most natural thing in the world, but it’s not. I was tired, still sick from the morphine, and frustrated. I slept as best I could in a hospital. The nurses come in to check my abdominal staples, and the rest of that night and some of the next morning passed in a blur of nursing and pain and frustration and exhaustion and nausea.
Somewhere in the second day, I was sitting up in bed with the baby in my arms. We had just finished nursing, and this time I think we did OK, though it still hurt. I was laughing at that confused monkey look that all newborn babies have, and we fell into a light sleep, her resting on my chest, me with my arms around her. The nurse came in and tried to take her from me. They don’t like you sleeping with the baby in the bed – too dangerous! I remember saying “Please, I’ll stay awake. Don’t take her yet”. The nurse looked at me an paused – she must have realized that I was going to rip her arms off if she tried to take her - then she nodded and left. And I stared down at this little somebody, and in that moment, something inside me just knew…everything was going to be OK. The world could shake apart and my marriage could fall to rubble and the universe could spin madly around us and she and I would be all right. We had each other now.
If you had asked me on this day five years ago if I believed in soul mates, I would have laughed and made a stinging, sarcastic remark. But I was given a gift 10 weeks later, and I’ll tell you what it was. FAITH. My daughter has given me back my faith in myself, in my marriage, in my husband who’s turned out to be a wonderful father, in humanity, and in all the goodness of the universe. I see rainbows in mud puddles and creation in a solitary bird’s nest and endless possibilities in every box of crayons. I have a soulmate now. Two actually, but my daughter was my first. She redeemed my soul and healed every hole in my heart. And if I live to be a hundred, it won’t be long enough for me to discover all the amazing things about her, and now, her little brother. A brother who never would have been if my husband and I hadn’t had the guts to stick this through, work through all the shouting and the tears and the anger and the pain and find a common ground where we could be at peace with each other, and with all that we are now.
It’s been five years, and I can say wholeheartedly that time does NOT heal all wounds. It’s what you DO in that time that makes the healing. What you’ve learned. What you’ve changed – the good and the bad. I’m a different person now, and five years down the road, I can’t imagine ever going back to who I was before all this. I’m stronger now. Smarter. A lot less willing to give in, to compromise on the things that gnaw and rip away at anything that is fundamentally me. Well, the “me” I try to be, anyway.
My husband? He changed jobs. He changed himself. He loves his family, and it shows in his actions. He put up with my interrogations, my anger, my fury, my tears and even gave a little of his own to that list until we made our peace with all of it, each in our own way. And then we took each other’s hand and just kept walking. Five years later, and he’s still holding my hand. I don’t look back or over my shoulder. No matter what happens from this point on, I’ll still keep going strong. Look at what I’ve been through! Who knew I was that strong? I certainly didn’t, till it all fell apart. Yet here I am, and on I go. A different person than I used to be, but hey, life is all about changing and evolving, isn’t it?
You know, when I was very young, I wanted to be a nurse. One of my friends had a mom who was a nurse, and she was really cool. Not like my Mom who didn’t go to a cool place like work and stayed home with us all day. Then I decided I wanted to be a movie star. That evolved into “I want to be an actress��� (truth is, I still do), and I wanted to leave a mark in the history books, a blazing star for the world to immortalize for all time.
Then when I got out of college and started paying for things like cars and rent and student loans, my dreams de-evolved into things that were far more realistic.
I want a better job. I want more pay. I want a nice vacation. I want to be married. I want a house in a good neighborhood. I want to have a baby.
Whoa!! Slam on the brakes!!! The baby thing changes everything. Now my dreams re-evolved into something much more wonderous. I want my children to be healthy. Happy. I want my children to value education and art and music. I want them to marry people who love and appreciate and accept all that they are. Oh, but don’t think my personal dreams are gone. They’re just greatly simplified now.
I want to treasure every minute I have on the earth. I want to be healthy, vital, sharp-minded to the last minute I draw breath. I want to live another 50 years at least so I can play with my grandchildren someday. I want to wake in the morning and watch the sunrise with a mug of hot tea in my hand on the screen porch, and listen to the birds sing as the daylight hits. I want to stand on the beach at night, watching the moonlight on the water, smelling the age old smell of the sea and feeling the spray on my face. I want to wake in the middle of the night from a dream, walk into my daughter's room and climb in bed with her, snuggling her close and smoothing her hair off her face so I can kiss her forehead. I want to hold my husband’s hand at my son's first tee-ball game.I want to dance with him at our children’s weddings. I want to laugh out loud at the dinner table as we all get downright silly over something. Those are my dreams now. A far cry from where they used to be.
In my up-and-coming years, dreams used to be an arrow that I fired off into the future, hoping desperately that when I raced to catch up with it, I’d find it squarely in the middle of the target. Now they’re more like balloons. I fill them up with the air I’m breathing right now, and they travel on the whim of the wind and sudden storms can carry them away. I might catch a glimpse of them floating by, or bat at them every now and then. I’ll even keep a few tethered to me, bobbing behind me, but there’s no target for them to stick to. Just a big, open sky and the various paths I traverse beneath it.
So the point of this EXTREMELY long-winded soliloquoy is: You CAN get here from there. With or without your spouse, YOU can get here. When my shaking fingers first typed out the words “Can anybody help me....please...” on this board, I had taken a step toward reclaiming my life. It was a small one, but so significant. I am who I am today, in part, because of those who helped me here. I only hope I was able to repay that on occasion as I reached out as well.
Five years and still going strong. Thank you all.
Edited 1/19/2006 11:05 am ET by sofar_sogood