When your life is over…. Or so you think
I remember my son’s first birthday for so many reasons. My firstborn was 1 year old, and it was amazing to watch him grow and celebrate so many milestones. I made him a cake that had several different cars on it, all hand decorated (terribly, but it’s the thought, right?) his favorite gift was a play guitar, and his hair was so long. He wore a green button-down shirt and we celebrated with friends in the basement of the library.
Its the day I first met my stepdaughter. My boyfriend brought her to the party so we could meet. I had only been seeing him for about 2 months, but I wanted to meet his girl. I wanted to make sure she knew who I was and become friends with Levi. I wanted a full family, not him going for visits a few times a week and not involving the rest of us. Levi’s bio dad was never in the picture, and by this point he had passed away, so I was ready to start a real family.
Our family was far from perfect, but it was mine and I loved it. We married in 2013 and decided to expand, and in 2014 we announced we were welcoming a baby, after a year of trying to conceive. After 12 weeks of excitement, I miscarried and lost my baby. It was a horrible time in our life. I write my own post every year to remember my baby, one of the ways I make sure she knows I’ll always remember her.
In 2015 I was again blessed with 2 pink lines, and in October we welcomed my little Remi. She and Levi were my whole world, and I thought things were going to be perfect.
However, my ex is a felon, and so even though our homelife was calm, outside of our house was always a fight. It was draining always trying to help him fight battles that had nothing to do with me, but I tried to be a good, supportive wife and support him in all things. Then, I met my husband’s best friend’s fiancé. She and I became fast friends and became as close as sisters. We traveled together, our kids became friends, and we were the perfect foursome- we had game nights and BBQs, all the things I had always wanted. That is, until her fiancé started accusing my husband and her of having an affair. At this same time, I was going to doctors to try to find our why I was in constant pain and bleeding for months on end, and the diagnosis came back as endometriosis and adenomyosis. Test after test after test, and I was told that while I could probably get pregnant, I probably didn’t have a high chance of a successful pregnancy, due to my body constantly shedding tissue. If I wanted more children, I needed to do it soon. After talking to my husband and my friend, they both told me how stupid I was for considering having more children. What about my 2 kids already?! What would happen to them if I was stupid enough to get pregnant and miscarried and ended up with more issues?! Plus, my husband didn’t want more kids, what was I thinking?! Looking back, I know how stupid I was to let them push me towards it, but I scheduled a tubal ligation and made a permanent move. At the same time, my husband was disappearing for hours on end, was constantly being seen at her apartment, and becoming more and more verbally abusive by the day. On our 5-year anniversary, he told me he was in love with my best friend. On the anniversary of the day we announced the pregnancy for the baby we lost, he texted me at work to tell me he got her pregnant.
I lost my mind.
Like, completely lost it. I was at work and went out back and couldn’t even think through what I was hearing. He pushed me into getting a tubal and got her pregnant the same week I had it done. I don’t remember a lot from that day, but I remember 2 people who held me together and got me through it- Tess and Jake.
Tess has always had my back, and I confide so much in her. I try to not overload her with all my drama, because she has her own shit to deal with without me piling on her, but I know she will always be there for me, and I love her dearly. So, she was the person I asked for as my world fell apart. She held me up and got me to stop blabbering like an idiot and helped me to calm down. But I absolutely was not expecting my coworker, Jake, to be as much help as he was. He got me through the day, and helped me move out of my broken home, and get back on my feet.
He became my confidant and my friend and helped me through so many issues. He watched me celebrate and mourn my lost baby in October, watched me cry and have anxiety attacks over burnt potatoes at dinner, and allowed me to just heal from the trauma my marriage had brought me. He fit in with my kids as soon as he met them, and today he plays princess with my 4-year-old and talks gamer with my son. He makes decisions just for them, such as buying Levi a new X-box for his room, just because it was on sale and he thought he could use an X-box One along with his 360. He buys me makeup because he knows I like to play with it and try new things, and never makes fun of me for using it. I went from being accused for being a whore if I wore heels, to getting magnetic eyelashes just because I wanted to try them, or the Game of Thrones makeup palette for my birthday, because I jokingly told him once I needed it.
At Christmas he got his daughter for a week, and I was going to leave him alone so he could enjoy his time with her… But then my heat went out in my rental. I had some space heaters, but it never got above 58 degrees in my house, and my electricity was shut off because the electrician was afraid the old heating system would create carbon monoxide. He insisted I get my kids and my own butt up to Circle, I was staying there while it got sorted.
That’s how I met my 2nd bonus kid. Remi was in hog heaven, having another girl to play with, and over the past 1 ½ years, they have grown very close. My son dutifully plays with them when she comes to visit, and they all get along very well.
Our lives have continued to grow together, but I was always so sad that my separation led to me losing my first bonus daughter. But one day, I received a text from her mother, saying that her kiddo missed us and wanted to talk to us. We now speak on the phone about once a week, and I have been able to see her twice (she lives 5 hours away) and catch up with her. I get updates and pictures from her mom, and even though it isn’t as much visitation as I was used to, it fills that void that was left when I thought I’d never see her again.
My 9 year old son was invited to join a class that taught skills to deal with stress and anxiety, my 4 year old daughter has her “Daddy Jake” doting on her and spoiling her rotten, and I’m surrounded by those I know are loyal.
So, what is the purpose of this long-winded oversharing session I’ve been on? Two years ago, I thought I’d never get over the trauma I was living in. I was so stressed out I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, and I was in a very bad place. Today, I’m happier than I even knew was possible. I’m thriving and healing. Friday, I get to go to court and officially end my marriage to a man who created a living hell for me, and while I will always have scars from that relationship, I’m learning how to rise from the ashes and become a whole person again.
You may feel like your life is over, that your happiness is dead, and you can’t escape the walls from the grief you are living in, but you are wrong. Fate, or God, or whatever higher being you believe in, knows what path your life needs to take. I can never conceive naturally again, but I have been blessed with 2 babes I can hold in my arms, 2 bonus daughters to keep me on my toes, and a baby that will forever be in my heart. I have a man who loves me and all my flaws, who laughs at my stupid puns, and lets me watch the Kardashians, and spend 2 hours playing with new makeup without making fun of me. I’m allowed to go buy a gallon of milk without my children in tow, because they are allowed to be alone with him! I’m allowed to do all the stupid things I like to do, without fear of anger, or being told I’m not acting like who I’m supposed to be. I have friends- not many- but a few really really good friends who I know will always have my back, and who I don’t have to worry about sleeping with my husband (if I could insert the hand on the hip emoji right here, I would)…I’m told every day that I’m beautiful, no matter how awful I actually look, and for the first time in my adult life, feel safe and secure every night.
Looking back, I can’t believe I spent so much time trying to save a marriage to a man who never fully loved me. I can’t believe I thought that life would be better for my kids than what I have now. Our lives are not set, nothing is promised, and sometimes we have to learn to let go and let God. Being afraid to move on caused so many more months of pain, but sometimes it takes some really stupid decisions to learn from your mistakes.
Learning to live without regrets, to gain knowledge from our stupidity, and learning to heal and allow ourselves to find happiness are some big struggles, but I’ve learned to lean on my tribe, face each day, and realized happiness is worth it.
So, here is to each of you who have held on to something too long out of fear, or who has made a fucked-up decision based on your inability to see where your life is headed. You are human, you are growing, and life will move on.
You just have to trust in your own strength.